LONDON, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 19, 2017) - The Ontario Alliance Against School Closures (OAASC) will address the devastating cost of school closures on communities at the Minister of Finance's pre-budget consultations when it stops in London on Friday, January 20th.
The Ontario Alliance Against School Closures (OAASC) has been calling for a moratorium on school closures since the Ministry of Education's new and flawed Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline has led to school closure threats across the province.
Susan MacKenzie, an OAASC co-founder says, "With an estimated 600 school closures, it is the rural communities that will be hit the hardest." MacKenzie contends that the Student Transportation Grant could balloon to $1 billion in the near term to cover the increased costs of transporting students longer distances to schools. She says, "If the Ministry of Education can find this kind of money for transportation, they can find savings to keep rural schools open."
The Ministry of Education has committed $12 billion over the next 10 years for building new schools, additions and renovations. MacKenzie believes there are savings here as well. She states, "The Auditor General recommends the Ministry spend two thirds of their capital grants on maintaining schools, not new infrastructure." She adds, "We need acceptably maintained facilities, not shiny new super schools."
The OAASC is backed by over 885 thousand Ontarians calling on the Ministry of Education to enact a moratorium on school closures until such a time that funding can be aligned fairly and the Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline is rewritten with a democratic respect for communities, local economies and local governments.
MacKenzie's presentation is slated for 10:15am on January 20th. The meeting is open to the public at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Grand Ballroom East, 300 King Street, London.
A full copy of MacKenzie's pre-budget submission will be available at http://oaasc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Susan-Pre-Budget-Final-Draft.pdf.