While the Near North District School Board could amalgamate or close schools under a new draft capital plan, it continues to spend millions on school maintenance.
The Ministry of Education provides the board with $5 million annually to maintain its 41 schools. But more than $100 million in repairs is needed, says board chairman David Thompson.
Thompson says necessary maintenance must be done while the schools remain open.
“It might not be the best way to spend money, but these buildings are being occupied and they still have to be maintained,” he said.
“It’s a question I ask myself all of the time. But, realistically, the capital plan will not happen for about four years.”
The board is spending almost $700,000 to repair the roof and an exhaust fan at Widdifield Secondary School plus about $400,000 to repave a parking lot near the athletic field at West Ferris.
About $470,000 will be spent to expand the parking lot at Silver Birches, while brick repairs will cost $77,250 at F.J. McElligott Secondary School in Mattawa and $100,400 at Northern Secondary School in Sturgeon Falls. The draft capital plan recommends amalgamating North Bay’s three high schools, closing three elementary schools, building a new school and reducing surplus space in Almaguin, Mattawa and Callander.