Next week, I expect the planned closure of dozens of public schools in our riding to continue stirring the community and bringing residents out to public meetings and rallies in support of high-quality, local rural education. Residents of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry have created a unified front opposing the closures, which would force rural students into lengthy bus commutes to schools filled above capacity, affecting their time with their families, their access to extra-curricular activities, and their overall achievement. This is clearly a bad deal for parents, students and the community at large. The public consultation meetings held by Upper Canada District School Board should be heavily attended by all those concerned. Only through full engagement can we deliver an obvious message to the Board: our local schools are pillars of our communities and contribute to maintaining a thriving and vibrant rural environment. Preserving them is in everyone’s interest.