The Daily News contacted the ministry regarding a call by the citizen group Ontario Alliance Against School Closures, which is calling for a moratorium on school closures. The OAASC also wants the ministry to scrap the Pupil Accommodation Review Guidelines (PARG), which is says speeds up the process to enable school boards to close and consolidate schools.
While the ministry didn’t directly respond when asked if it will consider a moratorium on school closures, spokesperson Heather Irwin told The Chatham Daily News in an e-mail: “To meet the needs of students and to keep rural communities strong, solutions at the local level must be sought and implemented.”
She added the government knows these decisions can be some of the most difficult faced by school boards “and are best made at the local level with the help of meaningful community engagement.”
The OAASC is critical of the PARG, which it says has eliminated requirements that the value of a school to the community and local economy be considered in any decision to close it.