Communities Rally Against School Closures

November 21, 2016

QUEEN’S PARK – Residents from across the province came together for a rally at the Ontario Legislature on Monday demanding the Government stop the planned closure of hundreds of rural schools across Ontario.

 

“Six hundred schools are on the chopping block across the Province” MPP McDonell stated. “This isn’t just a local issue – it is a sign of the Government’s failure to take rural education seriously. They change the rules, cut funding, then take no responsibility and blame the school boards. Over a hundred residents of my area braved a storm to come to Toronto and voice their discontent. It is time the Government listened”.

 

Members of Provincial Parliament pressured the Minister of Education during Question Period to stop the current Pupil Accommodation Review process and, instead, consult extensively with rural school boards and municipalities to determine the best funding model to preserve all communities’ access to good public education close to home.

 

“If the planned closures at Upper Canada District School Board go through as planned, it would wipe out rural education in SDSG.” MPP McDonell stated. “Furthermore, our students would face unacceptably long commute times, especially at the secondary level. This would affect their ability to spend time with their families, participate in local extra-curricular activities and rest. Meanwhile, over-crowding at existing schools that would receive extra students from the closing ones would impact achievement and staff’s contact time with students. This is a bad deal for everyone”.

 

Current funding formulas list overcrowding in existing infrastructure as a key factor in unlocking new school funding.

 

“This provides all the wrong incentives to school boards who have seen their funding stagnate as the challenges of aging infrastructure and changing demographics continue to put pressure on budgets” MPP McDonell added. “The Minister must listen to the unanimous expression of local opposition to the closures, sit down with all key stakeholders in local rural public education and find a sustainable funding model that helps keep local rural schools open. Out students and families deserve this effort.”

 

A video of MPP Jim McDonell’s question during Question Period and Member’s Statement in the afternoon can be seen at www.jimmcdonellmpp.ca/videos