​Green Party calls for moratorium on school closures

(Ottawa): Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner is restating the party’s call for a moratorium on school closures until the government fixes the funding formula. The GPO also supports investing more money in classrooms and community schools by ending duplication in the public and separate school boards.

“The Liberals have a clear choice,” says Schreiner. “Prioritize high-quality education for all kids equally, or protect the status quo. The Liberals must stop ripping the heart out of Ontario’s communities by closing their local schools. Greens demand a moratorium on school closures until the funding formula is fixed and ending duplication is explored.”

The GPO is especially concerned about the fate of seven public schools that will be voted on soon by Ottawa Carleton District School Board trustees. The Board has recommended the closure of predominantly English language schools and Middle Schools (Grade 7-8) in Ottawa’s older suburban communities, where the population is turning over.

If accepted, the OCDSB’s proposal will bring an end to middle school and community-based public education in the affected neighborhoods. It will force 12-year olds to classrooms in high school and disadvantage English language elementary students, many of whom will need to be bused to schools outside of their community.

“I’m fighting to keep local schools open,” says Nepean GPO member James O’Grady. “The Green Party is the only party with a plan to keep community schools open by looking to merge the public and Catholic school boards.”

The Green Party estimates ending duplication in the public and Catholic School Boards will save between $1 – $1.5 billion per year. Greens would invest that money in classrooms and support the community-based education model that has defined Ontario for decades.

“Ontario must improve public education and invest in classrooms, not administration and duplication in separate school boards,” says GPO Education Critic and Parry Sound-Muskoka candidate Matt Richter. “Getting rid of duplication will allow Ontario to re-instate specialty teachers for gym, art and music, while providing funding for more teaching resources in the classroom.”