MPP on Minister's visit to local schools

April 18, 2017

From Queen's Park

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ďI thank Education Minister Mitzie Hunter for visiting schools in Markdale and Paisley this afternoon, albeit I remain disappointed her visit left out Chesley, which is the third school that is slated for closure in my riding of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound," says MPP Bill Walker of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.

MPP Bill Walker

 "Under normal circumstances, a personal visit would be an eye-opening journey and one where the Minister would see and hear first-hand of the predicament facing students whose schools will shutter in the coming years as a result of the faulty funding formula.

 It is my hope that by her seeing and hearing first-hand the consequences of closures on single-school communities, the Minister will reflect and be open to innovative solutions that would see these schools remain open and viable in future.  

Despite her best efforts to spin school closures as best decisions for students and communities, the Minister must know in her heart that thatís not true. Closures are band-aid solutions that will put our communitiesí sustainability in question and burden students with longer travel rides and fewer extra-curricular opportunities. I believe thereís a better way.  

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This fight isnít over yet. To me, itís not appropriate for the government to have wasted billions of dollars and to be now trying to balance the budget by fast-tracking the closure of local schools. Itís unacceptable for them to be finding savings on the backs of students by putting single-school communities on the chopping block.

This is why Iím committed to keep pushing for a moratorium on school closures so that we can have a fair review, fix the education funding formula, and reinstate the community impact component for future accommodation reviews. It was evident today that the impact to the community is severe where a school will close, as was equally clear that the community needs to be part of the solution if closures are to be avoided.  

Itís never too late to do the right thing."

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017