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CLARK CALLS ON UPPER CANADA TRUSTEES TO REJECT CLOSURE REPORT

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CLARK CALLS ON UPPER CANADA TRUSTEES TO REJECT CLOSURE REPORT

(BROCKVILLE) - Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark today called on trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) to reject a staff report recommending the closure of seven elementary schools in his riding.

"I'm deeply disappointed that UCDSB staff has put forward recommendations that, if approved, would deal a devastating blow to the quality of education in our community," said Clark. "It's clear that the board tuned out the detailed and innovative proposals brought forward by parents, who gave up thousands of hours of their time to put other viable options on the table."

Clark said he was incredibly impressed by the quality of those submissions, which put local access to quality student learning at the forefront.

"Instead, as I feared from the start of this process, the board is asking trustees to ignore what the Accommodation Review Committees heard over the past four months and proceed with the vast majority of the originally recommended closures in Leeds-Grenville," said Clark.

The MPP said the recommendations underscore the reason he called on Education Minister Mitzie Hunter to implement a moratorium on school closures last fall.

"I'm asking trustees to reject this report and to join me in demanding the Wynne government suspend school closures and instead develop a real plan for the future of rural education in Ontario," said Clark.

"Some schools may have been spared today, but we know if we leave this important issue in the hands of school board staff, access to rural education in Leeds-Grenville and right across Ontario will continue to diminish."

Clark stressed the issue isn't about saving individual schools.

"The problem with the government's approach is it pits schools against each other and forces parents to put their own lives on hold and do the board's job - only to be ignored in the end," explained Clark. "We need a process that looks at long-term solutions by bringing everyone to the table, including MPPs, all school boards, municipal leaders, parents and students."

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