Moratorium on school closures; too late for decided closures says trustee

BRIDGENORTH, Ont. – Ontario Education Minister Mitzie Hunter has called for a province-wide moratorium on school closure, pending a review of the accommodation review process.

Hunter was at a Peterborough area school today, flanked by MPPs Grant Crack, Granville Anderson and Lou Rinaldi, as she announced a plan to improve rural and northern education.

Hunter said the government is taking immediate steps to overhaul the process, based on community feedback, which will happen in “the coming months.”

The move follows a number of community consultation meetings, which included one in Merrickville – the closest location in Eastern Ontario.

But the moratorium won’t save Rothwell-Osnabruck in Ingleside or Benson Public School in Cardinal – both slated to close at the end of this school year.

UCDSB Trustee Jeremy Armer told the Morrisburg Leader the board had already made its decision in March and they would continue with the process with all the closures approved.

In a statement, board chairman Jeff McMillan said they were reassured by the education minister that they would not have to revisit past decisions on closing schools, which includes three elementary schools in Brockville.

The province also recently announced money to build a new elementary school to replace Toniata, Prince of Wales and Commonwealth Public Schools.

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