Following the decision yesterday evening (March 1st) by the OCDSB trustees to accept the School Board’s proposal to close six elementary and middle schools in Ottawa West and Nepean, the Green Party of Ontario would like to make the following statement:
The Green Party of Ontario does not believe it’s necessary to close public schools in local communities when other fiscal alternatives exist, like ending duplication by merging the Catholic and Public School Boards in Ontario. $1.5 Billion annual savings is sufficient to keep local community schools open, bring back specialty teachers for gym, music and art, and invest in more classroom resources. Children have the right to attend school with family members and friends from their local community. It takes a village (community) to raise a child. This decision ignores this fact.
We are disappointed the Wynne government is forcing local school boards to sacrifice the needs of their most needy children in order to meet the budgetary constraints of their very flawed education plan.
We are equally disappointed the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board dismissed and ignored almost all of the suggestions put forward by concerned members of the public, teachers and community groups. Research shows elementary school children learn better in small schools, not mega-large schools. Yet, this is what we are left with. Ignoring basic education research (fact based research) like this brings the OCDSB’s entire plan into question.
Elected representatives can and should do better to protect the interests of their constituents. The constituents of Ottawa-West and Nepean have been let down. In 2018, they will have the chance to reverse this decision by voting in a new provincial government.