SDG County education plan delayed

By Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
SDG County education plan delayed

CORNWALL – A plan for rural education in SDG Counties has hit a stumbling block, a lack of information.

SDG County Council heard from education consultant Monika Ferenczy, who presented the executive summary of the plan, but not the final report.

“The purpose of the project is to find ways to keep our rural schools open and to be able to do that we have to rely on some data first,” she explained. “The absence of data is one of the biggest challenges and obstacles that we have in being able to find solutions.”

She said that the main point of the report is to focus on equity in programming and opportunities in small centres in SDG. But the lack of data from school boards in the region and the Ministry of Education has hindered some of the process.

Warden Allan Armstrong said that some of the stakeholder school boards have not been forthcoming with information.

“But it’s a discussion we are going to be having,” he said. “Hopefully by [November] there will be some new information brought forward from the school boards and the Ministry [of Education] which is turning out to be a bit of an issue getting some information from.”

Councillor Kirsten Gardner (South Dundas) commented that the draft is a starting point for the final report next month.

“The province has not been forthcoming with public information that we required for this document,” she said. “There definitely needs to be a bit of calling out, if you will.”

Armstrong agreed saying, “there’s been promises from the province that they would get back to us. It’s not for a lack of trying.”

He explained that CAO Tim Simpson has been emailing many times as has council’s education committee.

“There’s just been no answers,” Armstrong said adding that the pandemic has shown the increasing needs for a plan for rural education.

The committee working with Ferenczy will complete the final report of the county’s proposed education plan, which will be presented at the November meeting of county council.

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