LONG SAULT — South Stormont Mayor Jim Bancroft issued a video appeal today urging residents of his township to pressure the Upper Canada District School Board to reverse a preliminary decision ending secondary level education at Rothwell-Osnabruck School (R-O).
Under altered recommendations put out by board officials on Feb. 13, R-O high school students will be shifted entirely to Tagwi Secondary School in Avonmore, starting this September. Junior Kindergarten through Grade 6 will remain at the Ingleside-based school.
A “Save South Stormont Schools” campaign has been fighting the proposed closure of R-O’s high school portion since the start of the “Building for the Future” pupil accommodation review process last September. At the time, the initial report suggested redirecting the Ingleside high schoolers to both Cornwall and Avonmore, while still retaining the JK to Grade 6 pupils in that case — but bolstering the population by closing Longue Sault Public School. However, the latest report — officially received by the board on Feb. 15 — nixed the idea of closing LSPS, meeting the demands of the South Stormont campaign only halfway.
The September report had shocked the region by proposing to close 29 Eastern Ontario schools. R-O’s high school portion is among the dozen schools still slated to be cut, following the public review completed last month.
In his appeal, Bancroft invites supporters of the only high school in his township to turn out when members of council address the board of trustees on March 2.
Says Bancroft the mayor in the video:
As you know, the Upper Canada District School Board is recommending closure of grades 7-12 at R-O Secondary School.
R-O is the only Secondary School in South Stormont. Our community is already being affected. Future growth, short, mid and long term will affect housing, retail as well as commercial business. This has been demonstrated by an outside consultant.
I know that many of you attended R-O or have family or children who have attended R-O. You already understand the unique quality of education that R-O has to offer, you know that R-O has heart and is the central hub of Ingleside and South Stormont.
If the decision is made to close R-O, South Stormont will be the only municipality today in SD&G without a High School.
As Mayor of South Stormont – I encourage you to fight this decision, send your comments to the UCDSB Trustees today!
We need every South Stormont resident to do their part. Visit the Township’s website or Facebook page for addresses and details; there are even some suggestions to get you started!
We will be presenting to the Trustees March 2, 2017 at the North Grenville District High School. Be sure to get your Lancer apparel out and join us as we demonstrate how important R-O is to our community!