Email signup:

Wilson to Trustees: Stand With Local Families

(March 31, 2011) Jim Wilson wrote a letter to the Simcoe County District School Board today urging trustees to reject the staff report recommending the closure of Duntroon Central Public School.  In his letter, the Simcoe-Grey MPP argues trustees should support local families instead.  The following is the text of Wilson’s letter:

March 31, 2011

Ms. Debra Edwards
Chairperson
Simcoe County District School Board
1170 Highway 26
Midhurst, Ontario  L0L 1X0

Dear Ms. Edwards:

I am writing to provide comments for your deliberations on the Pupil Accommodation Review process for Clearview elementary schools.  As the local Member of Provincial Parliament, I urge you to reject the staff report and support local families instead.

I appreciate that many of your decisions are based on the direction you receive from the Ministry of Education and I know that it was the McGuinty government who forced you into this accommodation review process.  In my view, that should never have happened in light of Dalton McGuinty’s clear commitment to the electorate not to close rural schools in his current mandate.

Every school in Simcoe-Grey is a rural school.  As I have told Mr. McGuinty, the headquarters of the Rural Ontario Medical Program is situated in Collingwood, while our municipalities all belong to the Rural Ontario Municipal Association.  We benefit from provincial programs like the Rural Connections Broadband Program and the Canada Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Program.  We have a low population density and a vast agricultural community.


When I speak to local families, they tell me they are satisfied with the education their children receive at small schools like Duntroon Central.  They beam with pride when they talk about its unique programs and the camaraderie amongst students and their families.

When I speak to local business owners, they express concern that school closures affect the viability of local enterprises.  We all know that schools are often the anchor of the neighbourhood and a vital piece of the local economy.  In rural communities, it's more than just enrolment numbers.  It’s about attracting and retaining young families.

I was happy that when I met recently with families at Duntroon Central that Clearview Mayor Ken Ferguson, Deputy Mayor Alicia Savage and Councillors Orville Brown, Doug Measures and Thom Patterson took the initiative to attend.  Clearview Council clearly understands the big picture.  It's more than the parents and students of today; it's about the municipality as a whole and the viability of the communities within the township.

I think this near unanimous community support should not be taken lightly.  In my view, it is a terrific opportunity for trustees to make use of this support to pressure the McGuinty government to keep its promise not to close rural schools – instead of implementing their dirty work.

In Toronto, it’s not uncommon for the community to rally with their trustees to save school swimming pools.  In fact, when they did so last time, they secured $12 million from the province to keep their pools open.  I’d argue that we have a higher, more noble purpose.  We aim to save a school, not a pool.  We’re trying to keep kids out of portables, preserve exceptional community education and build the local economy. 

I believe it is critical to be mindful of the fact that as of today, there are 188 days until Ontario families go to the polls.  From more than 20 years of elected experience, both in the Legislature and in Cabinet, I can say that I would be stunned to find myself sitting next to a candidate at a debate who was advocating for the closure of rural schools.  In light of this reality, it is premature to close rural schools now.  In fact, at Queen’s Park, even the Secretary of Cabinet would be hesitant to apply significant new public policy decisions so close to an election.

In closing, I want to thank you for your hard work and support of local families.  I urge you to stand with them – the people who elect you and who overwhelmingly support keeping rural schools open.

Sincerely,


Jim Wilson, MPP
Simcoe-Grey

Related Information:

February 8, 2011 -The case for rural schools

February 2011 -Wilson pleased by community desire to keep rural schools open

January 23, 2011 - Put the brakes on rural school closures says Wilson

February 4, 2011 -Community Update: Rural Schools

June 3, 2008 -Debate on rural school closures from Hansard


Rural Schools

Latest News

(VIDEO) Wilson congratulates Matthews House Hospice and asks government about funding for Hospice Georgian Triangle

(May 7, 2018) Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson is pleased that Matthews House Hospice is receiving $1.2 million in capital funding from the province, and, in the Legislature last Thursday, praised the community for their hard work on the project. 

"I wanted to begin by congratulating the staff and ma...

(VIDEO) Wilson disappointed Minister has done nothing to fix farmers’ compensation

(May 1, 2018) Today in question period, Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson pressed the government on compensation for farmers facing livestock loses.

“My colleagues and I have been raising concerns with this government about the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program since it was created,” said W...

Wilson presents $2.3 million grant to The Blue Mountains

Wilson presents $2.3 million grant to The Blue Mountains

Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson was in the Town of The Blue Mountains last week to present a $2.3 million cheque for the design and installation of a landfill leachate forcemain and pumping station. Jim was pleased to participate in the funding announcement and says the project will bring significant f...

(VIDEO) Wilson asks for approval of hospital developments

(April 30, 2018) Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson took a new approach in question period today when asking the government about when much needed planning grants will be approved for Collingwood General and Marine Hospital and Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Alliston.

“Minister, as you know, for a great...

Wilson wants planning powers returned to municipalities

(April 26, 2018) – Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson has reintroduced his Private Member’s Bill, the Restoring Planning Powers to Municipalities Act, 2016.

s

 

s

on brought the bill back to the Ontario Legislature on April 26.

s

 

s

t introduced in 2013, the bill is part of Wilson’s effort to return ...

Ontario's Debt Clock

Upcoming Events