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How rural school closures are ‘ripping the heart out of the community’

Jun 19, 2017 by

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People for Education has forecast 121 closures in Ontario, with the majority in rural areas

By Mark Gollom –

Sara van Ravenswaay stands outside her small rural Niagara region high school, which will close its doors forever at the end of the month.

The Grade 11 student, her classmates and their parents have fought desperately for South Lincoln High School’s survival — attending school board meetings and rallies at Queen’s Park and sending off a flurry of emails — all to no avail.

“We didn’t actually think they were going to end up closing the school,” said van Ravenswaay. “We thought it was going to blow over and it wasn’t actually going to happen.”

Van Ravenswaay credits the intimate environment of her small school of about 230 students for much of her academic success. That’s why she burst into tears at a local school board meeting earlier this year when the final fate of her school was announced.

“I felt like really angry about it, and it was really sad at the same time because so many kids are going to be affected by it negatively.”

South Lincoln High School is just one of a series of rural Ontario schools that are slated to close over the coming years.

According to Ontario’s Education Ministry, as of 2015-2016, there were 3,978 elementary and 913 secondary public schools in the province.

While numbers vary, groups like the Ontario Alliance Against School Closures predict up to 600 schools, many of them in rural communities, could get the axe in the coming few years.

Meanwhile, People for Education has forecast a more conservative number of 121 closures over the next three years, with the majority in rural areas of southern Ontario.

Source: How rural school closures are ‘ripping the heart out of the community’ – Canada – CBC News

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