Show Burkevale Students & Staff They Deserve Better

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On July 30, 2020 the parents and staff of Burkevale Protestant Separate School in Penetanguishene, Ontario were sent a letter to inform them that Capital Priority Funding had been denied by the Ministry to obtain the old Penetanguishene Secondary School (PSS) from the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB).

Burkevale Trustees and the SCDSB had agreed on the purchase of the building, conditional only on the Ministry’s approval. But on July 23, 2020 we were informed that the funding had not been approved. The Protestant Separate School Board has applied to purchase PSS for two years, but have been denied approval from the Ministry both times. The old PSS building has been sitting virtually empty for years. 

It is now our job as parents, grandparents and community members to advocate for the staff and students of Burkevale, and show them that we care and that they deserve better!

For anyone who is not familiar with Burkevale, this school has gained increasing popularity over the last couple years. With a tremendous staff, a focus on the arts (particularly music) and a strong sense of community, parents have looked to Burkevale to give their children some of the best education available in the area. 

However, with this popularity has become an increasing concern for overcrowding and the safety of both the students and staff. The school was built in 1965 with the capacity for 240 students. Over the years, as Burkevale’s popularity grew, so did the need for portables to be added to the school grounds to meet demands. Last year, the school reached an unheard population of 387 students. Even with the maximum addition of 6 portables, to meet the needs of this growing population the gymnasium was made into a classroom for 73 grade 7 & 8 students. With no gymnasium, grade 1-8 students were bussed to the local YMCA, which is the next town over, for weekly gym classes eating into their 300 minutes of instructional time in a day. 

Even with the purchase of the lot beside Burkevale, they are still unable to meet all the needs of the staff and students in regards to the outdoor space. They are currently using a double recess model to safely accommodate all the students outdoors for recess. The purchase of PSS would help with the growing number of students, and allow for a much larger outdoor space for all students to engage together and have a stronger sense of connection with other students. 

Our children deserve the opportunity to engage in school sports and compete with other schools. Our students deserve to attend physical education classes inside their own school. Our students deserve to all have appropriate classrooms. Our educators deserve to have offices and work spaces. 

With the upcoming school year presenting even more safety concerns for our children and the staff at Burkevale, this is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately. Overcrowding is not acceptable. Doug Ford, Stephen Lecce and the Ministry of Education have committed an investment of 300 million dollars to help improve the safety and well being of our students and we need to show them how strong of a community we are and why they need to help us NOW! 

As a community we need to ban together to show our local and provincial government that our students and their education is important. They deserve better and we need to stand up for them. 

Staff and students need YOUR HELP! Here’s what you can do to help them:

  • Sign this petition
  • Share this petition
  •  Write a letter to the Ministry of Education:
  • Write a letter to our MPP:

Jill Dunlop, who is the MPP of Simcoe North, and is appointed as Associate Minister of Children and Women's Issues should see this as a significant concern particularly in her riding. Yet, she still has not recognized the need of a larger school for Burkevale. She needs to know we are aware of her title and she needs to be held accountable in her own community.

I appreciate you reading, signing and sharing this petition. We will continue to post updates as they become available.

Yours Truly,
A school in need of your help.