A west-end post-secondary institution will lock its doors for the final time in 2014, following a decision Monday night by the Greater Essex County District School Board.
However, the current principal of J.L. Forster – himself a graduate of the school – is choosing instead to look forward following the news, not back.
“We’re ready to move on,” said David Garlick to OurWindsor.ca. “We’ve been given an opportunity over the next two years to set up something that is not yet in existence. That’s fascinating.”
The school was founded in 1922 and is said to currently be operating at less than half capacity – financially damaging to the board in that it receives funding per student. The move (and subsequent transferring of existing student body to nearby Century high school) will reportedly save more than $11, according to a tabled report.
Another graduate of the school, Nancy Yim-Holt, said the school’s closure is basically another indicator of the demise of that particular section of Windsor.
“It's sad but I think maybe a long time coming. With all the suburban sprawl happening, children being allowed to attend schools out of their districts and parents insisting on driving their kids to school, it makes it less appealing to keep a school like Forster open and full,” said Smith. “The city seems to have turned its back on the west end of Windsor. When they decided to close Benson - my old gradeschool - it didn't seem like there was much hope left for the area.”
Other accompanying moves by the board will see Herman become a kindergarten-to-grade 12 institution (a move still dependent on provincial funding) with students currently enrolled in the Percy P. McCallum French immersion program then transferred into the new facility. In a related move, trustees also okayed the closure of Gordon McGregor elementary with students affected by that move then moving over to Percy P. McCallum.
“Wow. Forster closing is just another part of getting old, I guess,” said Shawn Schmee, a graduate of 1991. “If kids are going there, though, what can you do? You can’t expect a school to stay open for just a few hundreds students. It’s a shame, but all things must pass, right?”