Comment 6896

By Leonard Baak (anonymous) | Posted June 09, 2007 at 07:01:50

Much of the "inbuilt bias" towards closing small schools comes not from the funding formula, but from Ontario's insistence on running two school systems (public and Catholic separate) serving overlapping jurisdictions.

A move to a single public school system would provide the perfect opportunity to close schools with minimal impact to the communities they serve. Many Ontario communities have both an underutilized public and an underutilized separate (Catholic) school, with one or both threatened with closure. By consolidating those schools into the best of the two facilities, many communities now facing the total loss of one or the other school would still have a community school where all children could attend and where any teacher could teach. Students now facing the prospect of a closure and transportation to a far away community could very well be spared that eventuality if the assets of overlapping public and separate school boards were combined in new school boards with non-overlapping jurisdictions. Such consolidation would also allow the new boards to divest themselves of their oldest and most expensive to maintain properties, freeing up funds to improve classroom education for all children.

A move to one school system would also address the discrimination that sees the members of one faith elevated into a position of privilege above all others. In fairness, Ontario must fund all religious schools equally or fund none. Only the latter option is affordable and would have the added benefit of bringing children of all backgrounds together in an environment of tolerance and mutual respect.

Leonard Baak, Education Equality in Ontario

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