The liberal government has released a new set of draft rules for how Ontario school boards decide which schools they need to close.
This is the 3rd time the liberals have changed the rules in order to make it a better process for everyone involved. But apparently the new rules aren’t all that different from the old ones. “When you look at a comparison of the two, there isn’t much that is new in there, there’s a little bit of an extension by about a month for the length of the process and there is a requirement to identify some alternatives from the proposed recommendation of closing a school, which I think is the best practice.” – Matt Reid, Chair of the Thames Valley District School Board.
Education Critique and Member of Provincial Parliament for London West Peggy Sattler, doesn’t think the Liberals third attempt is good enough.
“I think the liberals are still way off the mark in terms of achieving the right balance between the roll of school boards in making decisions about school facilities and also the roll of communities, families and parents in terms of advocating for their local school facilities.” – Peggy Sattler
She says even though school closing decisions are emotional for the people in the community who would be most effected, those same people still don’t have meaningful input. “They can participate in the process, but it is made very clear to them from day one that information is controlled by the school board and that any kind of input provided through the process is advisory only, in the end it is ultimately the school boards decision.” – Peggy Sattler
The simple problem is there aren’t enough students in some school. Thames Valley has multiple high schools with under 300 students that don’t get the same variety of course choices as some of the larger schools, so by closing some schools and putting more students together, they will get a wider variety of classes and a better education.
Once the draft rules are finalized next month, TVDSB can start putting their plan to close schools back in action for 2019.