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Frequently Asked Questions

Building for the Future Pupil Accommodation Review Frequently Asked Questions

Updated Effective November 11, 2016

1. What is the role of the Accommodation Review Committee (ARC) in the Building for the Future Pupil Accommodation Review?

Answer: There are four ARCs for the Review. Each ARC is acting as a Conduit of Information for the Review by informing Trustees of the feedback received in response to the draft recommendations presented in the Building for the Future Initial Staff Report.

2. How will the ARCs do this?

Answer: The ARC members will be assisting each ARC chair with a “Community Consultation” section of a Final Staff Report that will be presented to the Board of Trustees on February 15, 2017. The Final Staff Report will have final recommendations that will be deliberated by the Board of Trustees to reach final decisions on March 23, 2017.

3. How are the ARCs receiving information?

Answer: Information is being received by the ARCs through the Building for the Future on-line survey, email address and through public meetings. More information on how to submit feedback can be found at the board's website, or this direct link: UCDSB Accommodation Review.

4. How are the ARCs sharing their findings as the accommodation review moves forward?

Answer: The findings from the ARCs may be shared during either the November 2016 and / or January 2017 public meetings. The information can also be found on the “Community Consultation” section of the final report from Board staff. This report will be presented to the Board of Trustees on February 15, 2017.

5. How are the ARCs completing this work?

Answer: Each ARC will be holding a minimum of two working meetings throughout the Review process to prepare for the public meetings and to develop their section of the Final Staff Report.

6. Can I attend ARC working meetings?

Answer: ARC working meetings are open to the public as observers.

7. What will be the format of the ARC public meetings in November 2016 and January 2017?

Answer: The agenda for ARC meetings will be available through the ARC Information and Resources landing page of the Upper Canada District School Board website, several days before each meeting. The ARC public meetings will include delegations or presentations from interested parties that wish to provide information to the ARCs.

8. How will delegations for the public meetings be selected?

Answer: Requests for presentation to the ARCs at the public meetings can be submitted up to 5 days before the meeting to the ARC chair. More information on how to submit a request is available through the Guide for Presentations item of the ARC Information and Resources landing page of the website (

9. What if there are more requests to present at the public meetings than time permits?

Answer: The public meetings allow for a maximum of eight (8) presentations. Each ARC chair has the discretion, under the Terms of Reference, to allow for an extension to the public meeting as they deem necessary and within reasonable limits. Presentations that cannot be accommodated at the public ARC session will have their content circulated by the chair among members of the ARC.

10. Will the ARCs receive all of the requests for presentations?

Answer: All of the information received with requests for presentations at public meetings will be provided to the ARCs for their review and reference and becomes part of the public record for the Review.

11. Who will be taking notes at the ARC meetings?

Answer: Meeting notes for all ARC working sessions and public meetings are the responsibility of each ARC chair. The meeting notes will be posted on the Building for the Future website.

12. How is the need for corrections in the Initial Staff Report being addressed?

Answer: The Initial Staff Report is a draft report. Areas of the Initial Staff Report in need of correction will be documented and discussed with ARC members. Every reasonable effort will be made to identify errors in the content of the draft report, as part of preparing for the delivery of a Final Staff Report.

13. Will the Building for the Future Report be re-published with corrections?

Answer: The Initial Staff Report is a working draft and will not be republished. Instead, an index of corrections to the draft report will be provided to the ARC members for their use and reference as they engage in their ARC committee work. This index of corrections identified for the Initial Staff Report will also be posted on the website.

14. Will additional public meetings be added during the process?

Answer: No. In keeping with the timelines for the Review, as approved by the Board of Trustees on September 28, 2016, the public meeting schedule, as currently organized, must be maintained.

15. Will there be any other opportunities in the Review process for presentations from the public?

Answer: Yes. Following its receipt of the Final Staff Report on February 15, 2017, the Board of Trustees will receive delegations at a special meeting of the Board on March 2, 2017. Clarification on how interested parties can request to present as a delegation at this special meeting of the Board will be provided at a later date.

16. I've asked specific questions about my school. When can I expect answers?

Answer: Information requests will be received by each ARC chair to assist them in their responsibilities of the ARCs. As the Review process proceeds, each ARC chair will work with their ARC to prioritize requests for information. 

All of the public input received regarding the Initial Staff Report by the Upper Canada District School Board will become a part of the documentary record.

There is also a wealth of specific information available through the School Information Profile (SIP) for each school that is mentioned in the Review.

The following Frequently Asked Questions are provided by category to help you find an answer more quickly.

School Information Profiles

1. Is there information available on academic achievement, extra-curricular activities and overall value that the school offers to students and the community?

Answer: A template was forwarded to schools and school councils. This provides an opportunity to articulate the value that each school offers to students and the community. Information received in connection with this template will be provided through the School Information Profiles by mid-November, 2016

2. Can I see a map of the current attendance boundaries for my school?

Answer: School attendance boundary maps are available through the “Additional School Details” link of the School Information Profiles. Information and interactive maps with current boundaries can also be found on the Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario (STEO) website, in "School Locator".

3. Is there information available on school graduation rates?

Answer: The Ministry of Education provides graduation rates at a board level, and reports on the most recent graduating class in the spring of the following school year. At the following site: Ontario Ministry of Education Graduation Rates, you will find a board-by-board summary of 5- year graduation rates for boards across the province. At this time, the 2015-16 preliminary board level 5-year graduation rate of 81.7% has been shared with boards pending final data submission across the province. The UCDSB calculates school-by-school graduation rates that apply a methodology closely aligned with the Ministry's methodology to provide school level data to support the tracking of student achievement. The UCDSB is currently in the process of updating school level information from the 2015-16 school year. In the meantime, a 6-year history of graduation rates by school is made available through the School Information Profiles of each secondary school.


1. What is Facility Condition Index (FCI) and how is it calculated?

Answer: The Ministry of Education maintains a warehouse of information on the state of repair/replacement required for every school in the Province. The information in this database is the basis for calculating the FCI. The FCI is a number that represents the ratio of the cost for repairs compared to the anticipated cost to entirely replace the school. Generally speaking, a lower FCI represents an overall better building condition compared to a higher FCI. More detailed information on FCI is available through the Facility Condition Index landing page of the ministry website.

2. Why are the FCI figures in the Initial Staff Report different from the figures available on the Ministry website?

Answer: The FCI reflects the general condition of a school and as a school ages, or as repairs are completed, the FCI changes. As a result, taking the FCI at different points in time will yield different results. The FCI figures used for the Initial Staff Report are based upon the Ministry database that was available to school boards last spring, 2016.

3. How did the board come up with capacity numbers?

Answer: The UCDSB follows the Ministry of Education's requirements to calculate on-the- ground (OTG) capacity. Facilities assign predefined capacities or ‘loading' numbers to each of the ‘learning spaces' in a school based upon the room type and use. This means the total “capacity” for the school could change each year as the use of rooms change, and/or if renovations or construction occurs to modify the space.

More specifically, here is a list of the main factors:

· Rooms that are a minimum of 900 square feet in area and are used to accommodate a Kindergarten class are loaded at 26 pupil places.

· Rooms that are a minimum of 700 square feet in area and are used to accommodate an Elementary class are loaded at 23 pupil places.

· Rooms that are a minimum of 700 square feet in area and are used to accommodate a Secondary class are loaded at 21 pupil places.

· Rooms that are between 400 and 700 square feet in area are categorized as resource rooms and are loaded at 12 pupil places.

· Rooms that are a minimum of 700 square feet in area are used to accommodate a self-contained special education class. They are loaded at 9 pupil places (a self-contained class is a group of students who are congregated together for instruction for a minimum of 50% of the instructional day).

4. Are classrooms that are being used for other purposes such as storage, archiving, board administration, purpose built daycare rooms, etc. included in the capacity of the school?

Answer: School capacities are intended to indicate the number of students that a school can accommodate. Unless they are “purpose built” for daycare or other uniquely distinctive purposes that require renovations to make into a classroom, all classrooms are included in the capacity of the school. A breakdown of the room loadings used to calculate school capacities is available through the “Additional School Details” link of the School Information Profiles.

It would look like the graphic below:


5. Does the 10,000 empty pupil spaces figure include/take into account schools that are over capacity?

Answer: Yes, the 10,000 empty pupil spaces figure takes into account schools that are over capacity. This was calculated by taking the total student enrolment for the UCDSB minus the combined on-the-ground (OTG) capacities of all our schools. OTG capacities do not include portables, therefore if portables were included in the OTG capacity, it would result in a greater number of excess spaces. For more information on calculating capacities, see Facility FAQ#3.

6. Is TR Leger School included in the analysis of OTG capacity?

Answer: The focus of the Initial Staff Report was to review enrolment, program, space and facilities requirements from a family of schools perspective. As TR Leger School is a widespread program offered at various locations across the UCDSB, it wasn't included in the analysis. In cases where a TR Leger site is in a school facility, such as in Glengarry DHS, that space is accounted for as part of the school OTG capacity. This is because the classroom is suitable to accommodate students at any time and was not “purpose built” for a different use.

7. Are any of the vacant seats at General Vanier SS included in the Report's 9,834 surplus pupil places?

Answer: No, as per the previous response (Facility FAQ #6), the OTG capacity at General Vanier SS was not included in the overall analysis of space available.

8. Why do I see a difference between some of the school capacity figures provided in the Initial Staff Report and figures provided in other resources?

Answer: School capacities are updated annually to account for school renovations and/or changes to room uses. These are in accordance with the classroom loadings used by the Ministry. For example, if a room type was identified as a classroom, a Ministry defined loading would be applied to the room (23 for an elementary school, and 21 for a secondary school). If that same room was renovated to become specifically used for special needs (loading of 9), or a resource room (12), then the OTG capacity would be reduced, when the sum of all the rooms was made to determine the OTG. See Facility FAQ #3, 4).

9. What happens with an empty school building after it is closed?

Answer: If and when the Board decides to declare a closed school surplus to its needs, it is required to follow a process in keeping with Ontario Regulation 444/98 and UCDSB Disposal of Assets Policy 414.

10. In the event that a secondary school closes, what happens to the school generated funds, bursaries, scholarships and awards that are awarded to graduating students if that school ceases to exist?

Answer: As part of the transition planning that takes place when students from several schools are brought together, board staff and school principals will work with school staff, parents and students to ensure that school generated funds, awards, trophies, historical memorabilia, etc. are accounted for and used proactively to promote the operations and culture of the school. In the case of bursaries and scholarships, the Board must ensure that the wishes of the donors are respected. School-generated funds, which are raised locally and not provided by the Ministry of Education, have historically followed the students from the closing school(s) to the receiving school(s). Past practice has been that principals, in consultation with school councils, have determined the disposition of any residual school generated funds.

11. In the event that a school closes, what happens to outdoor equipment such as play structures if that school is not operating?

Answer: In determining what happens to play structures, it would depend on the condition of the outdoor structures at the school being closed. It is possible that the structure would be moved to a ‘receiving school' or removed altogether for the safety of the community. The availability of appropriate play spaces at ‘receiving' schools is a consideration for renovations.

12. Is there an interim plan for schools identified for closure pending Ministry approval for upgrades, additions, or re-builds?

Answer: The presentation to the Ministry of a business case for capital upgrades, and the interim planning, is a separate process. The first requirement is a demonstration by the board of the need for those additional pupil places.

In cases where a ‘receiving school' would be over capacity as a result of closure, it is a consideration for the board to delay the timing of the closure. 

13. Does the consolidation of schools consider the Fire Code's capacity requirements, specifically those schools proposed to be over 100% capacity?

Answer: The Fire Code is not optional and student safety is key. It is important to also note that the occupancy rates as they relate to Fire Code is not the same as the on-the-ground capacity figures. Typically an OTG number is lower than an occupancy level for schools.


1. What is the Ministry of Education's funding formula and how is it calculated?

Answer: A summary of the funding formula is available through School Funding - A Guide for Parents landing page of the Ministry's website. The Ministry's Guide to the Grants for Students Needs also offers an overview of how funding is provided to school boards in relation to operations and capital.


1. Are there any guidelines specific to how long students can be on the bus to and from school?

Answer: There is no Ministry legislation or board policy specific to bus travel times. However, STEO, on behalf of the UCDSB, follows a routing procedure that states: “where feasible, except in special circumstances, STEO will plan student one way travel to be 60 minutes or less. The time frame is dependent upon such factors as isolation, programs, road types, home location, speed limits and weather conditions.” For more information on student transportation, you can visit the STEO website.

2. Are there guidelines or policies related to the time of day that students are picked up from their bus stop in the morning or returned to their bus stop in the afternoon?

Answer: No. Transportation routes to and from school are updated in advance of September each year by Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario (STEO). They are aligned with school bell times and student addresses as recorded through the Board's Student Information Management System.


1. Are students taking online courses included in school enrolment?

Answer: Students taking online courses that are registered at a school are included in the enrolment number for that school.

2. Are cross boundary students included in school enrolments for capacity purposes?

Answer: School enrolments include “cross boundary” students in accordance with UCDSB Student Transfer Policy 115.

3. What is the total capacity for the Board vs the total number of students currently enrolled?

Answer: The chart in the middle of Page 4 of the Initial Staff Report compares system-wide enrolment and school space maintained by the Board. It shows the total elementary and secondary pupil places that are currently maintained as 36,084. In 2015-16, total elementary and secondary enrolment was 26,250.

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