Warden: minister meeting on education ‘too little, too late’

In this Dec. 14, 2016, file photo, Robin Jones is sworn in as warden of the United Counties of Leeds-Grenville. Also shown is outgoing warden David Gordon. (United Counties of Leeds-Grenville via Newswatch Group)

MERRICKVILLE – The warden of the United Counties of Leeds-Grenville is calling a meeting with the education minister on rural education “too little, too late.”

Robin Jones was among a number of politicians at the meeting at the Baldachin Inn in Merrickville Friday night.

“This consultation is too little too late after the school closings announced last month and the minister was urged to put a one year moratorium on school closings while this consultation occurs and recommendations are prepared and considered by the government,” Jones wrote on her website.

Also in attendance were Augusta Township Mayor Doug Malanka, Merrickville-Wolford Mayor David Nash, Edwardsburgh-Cardinal Mayor Pat Sayeau and MPPs Steve Clark and Jim McDonell.

The meeting also drew criticism on social media with a sharp comment from an Edwardsburgh-Cardinal councillor. “Do you want feedback @MitzieHunter? Do the right thing – reverse the closure of our schools. Rural Ontario deserves better,” Michael Barrett tweeted.

The Upper Canada District School Board voted March 23, 2017 to close eight school sites across Eastern Ontario and propose another four sites that would close, conditional on ministry funding for upgrades and rebuilds.

The consultation, by a panel of three Liberal caucus members and Hunter, was the first of 10 public consultations on strengthening rural and remote education.

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