AVONMORE, Ontario – Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MPP Grant Crack announced that the Liberal govnernment will be investing $52.6 million in the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB).
That $52 million will be used to fulfill the capital building plan outlined in the UCDSB’s final staff report that was passed on March 23.
That plan calls for the closure of some schools, the expansion of others and the building of new ones.
The announcement was made at Roxmore Public School in Avonmore on Wednesday, June 14.
The lion’s share of that $52.6 million will be used to build a super-school in Cornwall at a cost of $39 million.
While a date and site for the new construction project has yet to be named, the new school will be a grade 7 to 12 facility and will replace Cornwall’s secondary schools St. Lawrence Secondary and CCVS.
Also announced was $2.6 million for Roxmore Public School. The school, which is currently at 100 percent capacity, will also be receiving students from North Stormont Public School, which will now be closing in accordance to the UCDSB final report.
The report makes Roxmore the only public school in its boundary that will have a French immersion program, which has raised concerns for Rothwell-Osnabruck and Maxville Public School.
UCDSB Board 1st Vice Chair Caroll Carkner said that she did not think those schools would be affected by this move.
“The school board can’t control where parents choose to send their kids,” she said.
Jennifer MacIsaac, a mother whose son attends Rothwell-Osnabruck and who was heavily involved in the fight to save that school’s high school program disagreed.
“The board does control where parents send their kids by picking and choosing what schools get to offer French Immersion,” said MacIsaac to the Seaway News. “Especially when Maxville and Ingleside have been begging for French for years.”
MacIsaac acknowledged the importance of the funding for Roxmore, but questioned the school board’s strategy of drawing more students out of their community of South Stormont.
While this funding allows the UCDSB to move forward with two capital projects outlined in its final staff report, it seemingly looks over funding needed at Williamstown Public School in South Glengarry.
Williamstown Public School parent Stephanie Jaworski questioned why Williamstown Public School was seemingly looked over in this announcement when it is at 160 percent capacity.
MPP Crack hailed the announcement as an important step in building a stronger community and public education system in the region.
“This funding will allow us to build our communities and bring necessary jobs to the area,” he said. “We can ensure the best quality of education and reduce the cost burden of empty spaces on the school board.”