MPP Clark not backing down on school moratorium

In this March 2016, file photo, MPP Steve Clark makes a presentation at the Brockville YMCA. Clark says the UCDSB needs to take a hard stand against the Ontario government over funding for rural education. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

QUEEN’S PARK – Local MPP Steve Clark isn’t backing down on his mission to see the school closure process put off one year.

Clark repeated a demand to Ontario Education Minister Mitzie Hunter for a one year moratorium on school closures.

The request during Question Period Tuesday was done on the first day MPPs were back from their winter break.

Clark is facing the prospect that seven schools in Leeds-Grenville, run by the Upper Canada District School Board, are earmarked for closure as the board looks to remove up to 10,000 empty class seats.

“I called for a moratorium…to give us time to develop a provincial rural education strategy. Well, it’s hard to plan for the future when there is no tomorrow for so many schools,” Clark stated.

Clark also noted that two of the schools are in the fastest growing LG communities, according to recently released census data.

The MPP would like to see an all-party committee come up with solutions for rural education, like it has done for dealing with mental health, addictions and developmental services.

The Upper Canada District School Board is scheduled to make a final decision on school closures a little over a month from now (March 23).

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