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Aspin explains why board reinstated IB program

Jay Aspin, the chair of the Near North District School Board, says it didn’t take long for trustees to reverse their decision to reinstate the International Baccalaureate program at Chippewa Secondary School once they learned they didn’t have all the information.

Aspin says when trustees realized information was missing and it was later supplied to them, he says they had to deal with the issue as soon as possible to ensure students entering Grade 9 would be allowed admission.

When the board first decided to end the program several weeks ago, the decision was to phase it out so students already enrolled in it would be allowed to finish.

The exception was students coming into Grade 9 who would be denied admission since they hadn’t yet started the program.

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Aspin didn’t want to discuss why trustees initially only had about half the information they needed to make a decision about the program.

However, he did identify the source of the additional information.

“We learned from people who were involved in the community indicating there was more information available,” Aspin said.

“The (earlier) information didn’t account for students who came from other school boards into the Near North board and that was considered a revenue source.”

Aspin says reinstating the IB program won’t increase the board’s costs for the 2019-20 school year.

He says that’s because the majority of expenses were incurred when the program was first introduced five years ago and teachers were trained to instruct students in the enriched programming.

“The (extra) information we got indicates the IB program is sustainable and it’s making money,” he said.

Aspin says when it had the additional information, trustees “we’re willing to right the wrong”.

All trustees except two voted to reinstate the program.

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