McGuinty government calls for moratorium on school closures

Archived Release

McGuinty government calls for moratorium on school closures

Ministry of Education

TORONTO, Dec. 12 - In keeping with the McGuinty government's commitment to deliver positive change, Education Minister Gerard Kennedy today called on all Ontario school boards to place a moratorium on school closures until after September 2004. "Our goal is to ensure Ontario students get the best schools and the best education possible. That's why we're going to take the time to review and revise provincial guidelines to help Boards make the best possible school closure and building planning decisions," says Kennedy. "We believe our goal of making public education the best education and improving student performance can best be met if we treat our schools as learning communities, rather than just bricks and mortar." Kennedy notes that in some cases boards may choose to proceed with closures where there is widespread consensus within the school community, for example where a new replacement school is being built. Under provincial legislation, the decision to close schools is made by local school boards. However, boards are required to have school-closure policies based on provincial guidelines, and these are in the process of being revised by the new government. In addition, many of the provincial funding policies that influence board decisions on the viability of schools under their control will be reviewed. A letter from Kennedy, delivered to all Ontario school boards today, indicates that in future, boards will be asked specifically to assess the education and community value of the schools being considered for closure, with special consideration for rural schools. "Because of the current funding formula, short-term financial considerations have played too large a role in decisions to close schools. In fact, some of the most successful schools in the province in terms of literacy and numeracy testing results have closed," says Kennedy. "The decision to shut down any school should only be part of a long range plan that takes into account the improvements that the McGuinty government plans to make to Ontario public education to the benefit of all students." The McGuinty Government has committed to making Ontario's public education the best education and to improving outcomes for students in literacy and numeracy. Within four years 75 per cent of students will meet or exceed the provincial standard on province wide tests. Disponible en fran├žais For more information visit www.edu.gov.on.caFor further information: Media Contacts: Jill Fairbrother, Minister's Office, (416) 325-2683, (416) 788-0539 (cell); Dave Ross, Communications Branch, (416) 325-2709; Public Inquiries: (416) 325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514, TTY: 1-800-263-2892