Wednesday, June 3, 2009

LFP wakes up to accommodation / budget story

The London Free Press published a feature article Saturday (main article here, related stories here and here) contrasting school boards' pending budget difficulties and school closures against the millions they have been spending on school renewal and construction projects. Congrats to Kelly Pedro for getting this story out during a budget cycle and in the midst of all the construction work.
This is a situation that is not unique to the London region, and has been happening all over the place. The LFP is catching up to this story, which has been happening for well over three years now in their coverage area. As an aside, the paper has been through four education reporters in the past five years, perhaps part of the reason why the newsroom hasn't been keeping tabs on these various closures, consolidations and new construction.
The paper never covered any accommodation review committee meetings while they were ongoing, even missing a number of board meetings where these decisions were made. RogersTV and the local Fanshawe College station XFM, do a more consistent job of covering local boards. However, because they are the 'paper of record' for southwestern Ontario, they can get away with these lapses by publishing a feature like this every once in awhile and assuaging readers, politicians and the school board that they still care about education.
Unfortunately, that's not unique to the LFP either-- check your local medium- to large-market newspaper and see when the last time they consistently covered education was.