MORRISBURG — The council of the Municipality of South Dundas is voicing its opposition to the potential school closures announced by the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB).
South Dundas has recently acquired the services of a consulting firm to conduct an economic impact study on the potential school closures. In one example worrying the local council, the municipality was delighted to receive a 200-home subdivision proposal in Morrisburg — only to learn a few weeks later of the potential closure of the village’s only public elementary school as well as the municipality’s only high school.
The UCDSB’s Sept. 28 Pupil Accommodation Review would schedule the closure of Seaway District High School, Morrisburg Public School and a one-year closure of Iroquois Public School. Public school students from both Iroquois and Morrisburg would be temporarily housed at Seaway District High School during building additions and renovations to Iroquois Public School. A full copy of the report can be found on www.ucdsb.on.ca.
“Schools are the cornerstone of any community, and both Seaway District High School and Morrisburg Public School have been pillars of education for decades,” says Mayor Evonne Delegarde in a press release from the municipality. “Their closure would result in students being separated from their friends and faced with lengthy bus commutes to neighbouring communities outside the municipality, and in some cases, county. The proposal does not consider the effect on those looking to move to South Dundas or the economic impact on local businesses which depend on students and their families.”
Also, as part of SDG County Council, South Dundas representatives have requested a meeting with the Ministry of Education at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association Conference taking place in January to discuss the possible closures and impact to the South Dundas community. The Municipality is also reaching out to Dundas County Trustee Jeremy Armer in hopes of holding a meeting to discuss the Pupil Accommodation Review.
“We are working diligently with MPP Jim McDonell, Warden Jamie MacDonald, neighbouring Townships and Parent Councils in South Dundas to strongly oppose the potential closures and come to meaningful solutions to the current challenges our community faces,” added Mayor Delegarde. McDonell has circulated an ongoing petition to “Save Rural Schools in Eastern Ontario.”
Members of South Dundas Council are expected to attend a Nov. 4 community rally at Seaway District High School, which starts at 5:30 p.m.