Save rural schools in Eastern Ontario

September 29, 2016

To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

WHEREAS    a staff report has recommended Upper Canada District School Board close numerous schools across Eastern Ontario, and

WHEREAS    access to quality local education is essential for rural communities to thrive, and

WHEREAS    the Ministry of Education removed community impact considerations from Pupil Accommodation Review Guidelines in 2015 and has cut essential rural school funding, and

WHEREAS    local communities treasure their public schools and have been active participants in their continued operation, maintenance and success, and

WHEREAS    the Ontario government should focus on delivering quality, local education services to all communities, including rural Ontario, and

WHEREAS    the current PAR process forces bad behavior by school boards to justify the replacement of high maintenance out-dated schools,

WE, THE UNDERSIGNED,

PETITION THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO

AS FOLLOWS:

1)         To support MPP Jim McDonell’s motion to suspend all current PAR reviews until strategic rural education plan is completed, engaging all rural school boards, school communities and municipalities,

2)         To reinstate considerations of value to the local community and value to the local economy in Pupil Accommodation Review Guidelines and

3)         To engage all rural school boards, including the Upper Canada District School Board, school communities and municipalities in the development of the strategic rural education plan, and

4)         Consider rural education opportunities, student busing times, accessible extra-curricular and inter-school activities, the schools’ role as a community hub, and its value to the local economy.

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