Mayor Bancroft calls school closures an attack on rural communities

Mayor Bancroft calls school closures an attack on rural communities
Jim Bancroft wearing his badge of office as the Mayor of South Stormont.

SOUTH STORMONT, Ontario – The proposed school closures that have been proposed by the Upper Canada District School Board has been met by strong reaction from the affected communities.

The Board has said that Accommodation Review Committees (ARCs) will be formed to hear the concerns of parents and students from different schools, but how these committees will work has not yet been made clear.

We are highly concerned as to how many schools are to be represented at one meeting and believe that due to the amount, they will be less productive,” reads a post on the Save Rothwell-Osnabruck Secondary School Facebook Page. “We have requested clarification to several Trustees who are still awaiting clarification from the Board.”

The following is an open letter from the Township of South Stormont:

The closures proposed through the Upper Canada District School Board’s Pupil Accommodation Review process will deliver a devastating blow to South Stormont, specifically the area schools of Ingleside and Long Sault. On behalf of Council, Mayor Bancroft reported that South Stormont is appalled by the lack of foresight by the UCSDB with the potential direction suggested in the Report. A copy of the full Report is available at the municipal office or on line at (select Board Docs link).

“In 2016 small rural communities continue to be attacked by funding models approved by the provincial government and driven by school boards. The idea of closing schools in up to five local townships to assist the school board with a speculative long term potential plan to build a new school 10 to 15 years later is at best, absurd. South Stormont’s hamlets of Ingleside and Long Sault were created 60 years ago. Our residents had to relocate, understanding the hope for a new future, and these schools have been key building blocks of the communities. Sixty years later, we should not be forcing parents to change directions again with little chance in seeing any improvement of their children’s education”, said Mayor Bancroft.”

The Township will continue to reach out to the businesses as well as all individual community partners. School parents and representatives in Ingleside and Long Sault must be energized to reach out to all parents and help find a solution to the current challenge of these school closures. South Stormont Council will support the communities’ efforts in every possible means at our disposal. Together we will be successful.

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