A couple of quick thoughts on the Community Schools Alliance, formed back in the midst of late spring / early summer. Lately, along with a frequent poster in the comments sections, I too have been wondering what is ailing the alliance.
A Saturday reference in the London Free Press was the first reference I've seen of the alliance in my regular media scanning since the early fall. The LFP article by Pat Maloney touches on the ongoing er, conversation (?) between London city council / board of control and the local public school board. Thames Valley District School Board director of education Bill Tucker and London District Catholic School Board director of education Wilma de Rond will meet with council Monday to discuss city council's participation in accommodation review committees. As posted here last week, the ward councillor has steadfastly stated he wants to play no part in looking at options for the future of four schools in old east-ish London. He'd rather heckle the committee and the board from the sidelines than come to the table with options and potential solutions.
The Maloney article tells us Alliance chairman Doug Reycraft also wants in on that meeting between the directors of education and city council so he can peddle the 'smart' moratorium. A request that's pretty much been discarded by anyone with the ability to actually act upon enforcing it.
This after the very same council (London) pretty much did, oh, absolutely nothing with the Alliance's sample resolution and request for membership. I was in the room when Oxford County (Alliance members: Norwich, South-West Oxford, Zorra townships) voted to invite Reycraft to speak to council about the alliance's request. That was back in the fall and nor he or other alliance people have yet accepted the invite.
In the article Reycraft states, "about 150" municipalities have joined the Alliance and/or supported its cause. Of course, no one knows who they are because a full list has yet to be posted on the alliance website. There are over 440 municipalities in this province and to have only 150 on board says enough in and of itself. I would bet coffee and a donut far more than 150 have been impacted by the first two rounds of school-closure committees that have already happened in the last three years. Sure, the room was packed at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference, but how big was the room?
I think it's time for the alliance to either step up, or step out and let those municipalities that are prepared to work with their local school boards to get some work done.