It has been brought to Ontarian's attention that the process used regarding school closures and/or student relocation, by School Board Trustees, has been flawed.
It has been stated, there is a need for an overhaul of the process used by school boards to review schools for potential closure and/or student relocation. It has also been reported, the Minister of Education, Mitzie Hunter, has admit that the Ministry needs "… to make sure this revised process benefits everyone,"
There are articles which state, the school boards have not been upholding the purpose of the Education Act, which includes that "All partners in the education sector, including the Minister, the Ministry and the boards, have a role to play in enhancing student achievement and well-being, closing gaps in student achievement and maintaining confidence in the province’s publicly funded education systems." (section 0.1 (3)).
Mitzie Hunter is also quoted as saying "Clear principles and goals, for student achievement and well-being, should be established for reviews, rather than just cost-savings,” she added. "We heard that a stronger process is needed for school boards," she said, adding that no new pupil accommodation reviews will take place until the process is complete, except for those that would support joint-use projects or for student safety."
In light of these revelations, perhaps all of the school closures and student relocations scheduled from 2017 – 2018, for implementation in the 2018 – 2019 school year, should be cancelled. That would be the fair, reasonable and equitable thing to do. When one considers, these closures have been referred to as "brutal. Students suffer and parents grieve,". It would not be in the student's best interest or well-being for the present closures and/or relocations to move forward.
The stopping of the school closures and/or relocation of students would have to take place prior to the beginning of the 2018 school year. It is hoped, the Minister of Education, Mitzie Hunter, will move on this initiative to ensure that all schools remain open and students are not relocated, at the cost to the students well-being or the communities these closures will affect.
Elizabeth F. Marshall,
Candidate – Trillium Party of Ontario, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound