Third review in nine years closes doors to St. AgathaMarch 28, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2017
Third review in nine years closes doors to St. Agatha
Liberal anti-rural school agenda and board reviews take their toll
Queen’s Park – Following three WCDSB accommodation reviews (ARC’s) in nine years backed by a Liberal government anti-rural school agenda, St. Agatha elementary is set to close its doors for good.
“Last night’s decision is entirely regrettable, given the long and painful path these three subsequent accommodation reviews have taken parents, students, teachers and the community on over the last nine years,” Harris said following an 8-1 Board vote to close the school. “In the final weeks I was proud to again stand with parents to ask the Board for more time while we called on government for a rural school moratorium to change the anti-rural ARC process and provide support for our valuable rural schools.”
Harris further noted that he felt it unfair that the Ministry’s guidelines forced parents and communities to fight on an almost annual basis to keep their school doors open. He said many still wonder why they would have to fight again when the last review process concluded in 2014 with recommendations to save the school and apply for ministry funding for a new St. Agatha.
“As we now know, that funding request for a new St. Agatha was never made,” Harris acknowledged. “In the meantime the ministry changed the review rules allowing the WCDSB and other boards to reopen reviews any time they want, rather than only once every five years. If at first this government doesn’t succeed, they just change the rules and try, try again.”
Harris admitted his disappointment that despite working with parents since the June notice of review to make the Board, Minister and Premier aware of the importance of keeping St. Agatha open, their calls have been ignored.
“Once you take a school away from a community, it’s tough to bring it back, and I regret that this door is being closed despite our continued efforts to support our community.”
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