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Put the brakes on school closures says Wilson

Duntroon Central P.S.

(January 23, 2011) On the heels of a meeting with parents at Duntroon Central Public School, Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson is calling on local families to speak up loudly and often to stop rural schools like Duntroon Central from being closed.  Wilson is also urging local school boards to put the brakes on any school closures until after the people have spoken in the October 6 provincial election.

"I've heard this song before.  In six months every local candidate will be agreeing with me and promising not to close our rural schools," said Wilson who argues that that alone is a good reason for school boards to shut down their Accommodation Review Committees.

Wilson has launched a petition to save Duntroon from closing which is being circulated by parents and is also available at his office in Collingwood, online at www.jimwilsonmpp.com, and at the Clearview municipal office.  He's also urging parents to write directly to Premier Dalton McGuinty, the guy who is ultimately in charge.

"The Board doesn't know what's going to be in the provincial budget and they don't know what's going to be in the party platforms," said Wilson.  "The only thing they should know is that nobody in their right mind is going to campaign on closing schools."

In the last election Dalton McGuinty promised not to close rural schools.  He said "Rural schools help keep communities strong, which is why we're not only committed to keeping them open-but strengthening them."  Unfortunately, Dalton McGuinty doesn't consider schools in Simcoe-Grey to be "rural."

"You're out to lunch if you don't think places like Duntroon, Stayner or Elmvale are rural," said Wilson who said he'll be immediately pushing to have area schools fall within the designation.

Parents like Maureen Millar are squarely behind efforts to stop rural school closures.   "Duntroon Central School has played a huge part in shaping who my children have become," said Millar.  "One of the things that makes our school unique is that all of the students know and interact with each other from kindergarten to grade eight.  They have programs such as lunch buddies, reading buddies and bus buddies were older students help to mentor younger students."

Millar said it's important that Duntroon receive the necessary funding to remain.  "As with the other rural schools in Clearview Township, the benefit of learning within their community is extremely important."

To sign Wilson's petition visit www.jimwilsonmpp.com or call 1-800-268-7542 to have copies of it mailed to you.  To watch a video of Jim Wilson in the Ontario Legislature supporting a PC Caucus motion calling for a moratorium on rural school closures, click here .

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