March 21, 2009
Feedback: Moratorium a Dumb Idea
I would like to add an "amen" to Michael Zwaagstra's column regarding the moratorium on school closings.
When Bill 28 -- the Strengthening Local Schools Act -- was released, no consideration was given to the knowledge and input of other stakeholders in the education field. Many school divisions had reached the final steps of the lengthy and expensive process to close underutilized schools. Years of research and consultation were wasted because the minister refused to allow the closures to proceed.
The Strengthening Local Schools Act is a misnomer. The act is counterproductive and expensive. It diminishes quality of education and increases costs. Smaller schools are less able to provide special services and are forced to establish multi-grade classrooms.
Demographics change and so must our education system. In this economic climate, everything possible should be done to get the most bang for our buck.
The minister advised divisions to fill empty classrooms with senior citizens' groups, daycares, and other non-profit organizations. This was already being done, wherever possible; however, building security then becomes an issue. Also, it's highly unlikely that the cost of maintaining surplus school space would be offset by leasing classrooms.
Give your head a shake, Peter Bjornson. The Strengthening Local Schools Act was and is a dumb idea. It should be revoked.
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