Ontario’s NDP leader believes school boards across the province need to consider more than just enrolment when it comes to rural school closures.
Before Harrow District High School closed in June 2016, Essex town council appealed to both the Greater Essex County District School Board and the Ministry of Education in a bid to keep it open. It argued the closure would cause damage the economy of the rural community and threaten its future by discouraging families from locating there.
At the same time, town councils across Windsor-Essex have asked for more input in discussions about school closures.
The public school board and the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board insist falling enrolment is behind decisions to close and consolidate schools. As enrolment falls, the boards receive less funding from the province making it more difficult to keep aging facilities viable.
However, Andrea Horwath argues enrolment can not be the be-all and end-all.