A busload of more than 50 parents, student and other supporters from Sudbury, Ont. are on their way south for the Ontario Alliance Against School Closures rally at Queen’s Park in Toronto.
They’ll join counterparts from across the province who are upset about the possibility of English public schools closing in their respective jurisdictions.
One of the organizers is parent Felicia Fahey of Dowling, a town in the Greater Sudbury area. She is with the Save Our Schools Valley East group.
Fahey says changes need to be made at the provincial level to how the pupil-based funding formula is calculated — but before that can happen, there needs to be a halt to the school closures.
Representatives from the alliance plan to present the moratorium to Education Minister Mitzie Hunter before the rally.
“We would like [school closures] to be paused so that we can talk to the government and they can come up with ways to change what they’re doing.”
Hoping government will step up
Fahey says the Pupil Accommodation Review Guidelines needs to be addressed.
“[The Ministry of Education has] taken two of the values that they used to use away. They no longer look at how the school closure impacts your community and they no longer look at how it affects the local economy. Both of those are key to keeping a school.”
Fahey says 145 schools across Ontario could possibly close next year and most are in rural communities.
She says many of the people who live in rural areas originally chose to live there because there was a school nearby for their children to attend.
“We’re hoping that the government can step up. If the parents can come up with creative [solutions] why can’t the people that are being paid to come up with these options come up with them?” She says sending students hours away to a community that isn’t their own isn’t an option. Close to 500 supporters are expected at the rally in Toronto.