Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Schools alliance gets Wynne meeting

I had heard this initially on Monday, then confirmed it Tuesday, the same day as Deb Van Brenk at the London Free Press had a story with Community Schools Alliance chair and Southwest Middlesex Mayor Doug Reycraft's confirmation.
The alliance's executive committee will meet with Ontario Education Minister Kathleen Wynne at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference next week in Ottawa.
From the Freeps' piece:
The alliance had sought a meeting with Education Minister Kathleen Wynne at next week's Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in Ottawa.
The timing is a positive sign, said Reycraft, because other groups have been granted just 15 minutes.
"I think that indicates the importance that she attaches to the concerns that we're bringing to the table," Reycraft said this morning.
He said the alliance, which began only weeks ago, has already won the support of many municipalities, some of them facing the loss of their only school in town.
My gut, and a few conversations had earlier this week, leave me thinking Wynne will listen, agree the interaction and co-operation between boards and municipalities needs to improve, but likely tell the CSA its desire for a 'smart' moratorium is wishful thinking.
I'm also curious to know, since most municipalities have received the CSA invitation by now, how many have accepted the invitation. I know of one (Goderich) because of an already published decision, and others due to my own story on the CSA and the commitments made by politicians here in Oxford. I'd love to see the rest of the list, particularly since it appears only the executive committee is meeting with Wynne at the AMO conference.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to see the list that compares the no. of rural/small town closures with that of their urban counterparts. If there's an imbalance there should be numbers out there proving that.

Also, don't forget that municipalities have been invited to fill a seat at the ARC table. Are they in fact not genuinely being heard or have they not been able to sway boards their way? That's a question that should be asked.

If the new provincial guidelines aren't cutting it for some reason where small/rural communities are concerned then maybe those need to be rethought? Maybe they didn't really need a two year process that drew things out?

Will be interesting to see where this goes, but I have to support that municipalities are getting into the game...even if a bit late.

I am also aware the Mr. Reycraft was a member of the Minister's group thinkers which came together to discussion the effects of declining enrollment?(I haven't followed that up yet so can't confirm).

Education Reporter said...

Yes, Reycraft was a member of the declining enrolment working group.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that under the TVDSB, at least during Phase 1, 'filling a seat at the ARC table' actually meant 'In 4 meetings or less, come up with an alternative to what we're pushing...' Isn't it true that some London city councillors have vowed never to participate in an ARC again, deeming TVDSB's process 'a sham'? (I think one of the current London ARCs has no municipal representation at all.)

Are municipal officials/leaders not the ones with the numbers, the vision, the ability to re-zone land and allow its development? Should they not be key people, involved right from the start, working with the school board before an ARC begins, devising a few options? Municipal involvement at the planning stage is a main goal of the CSA (is it not?) and it makes sense.

Education Reporter said...

London refused to participate in any ARCs in round one. They are on the regional advisory committee, but refused to participate in any ARCs.
Which is a shame, since one school closure I've referred to previously on this blog could have benefited from some municipal partnership opportunities, but the city had walked away from the table and as a result, didn't play a part in the eventual decision.