Southeast Oakville parents petition local MPP for help



    OAKVILLE, ON, Sept. 5 /CNW/ - Concerned parents in southeast Oakville
want MPP Kevin Flynn to ensure a decision by the local school board to close
four elementary schools in their area is examined directly by the Premier and
Education Minister.
    A petition with over 2,000 signatures has been hand-delivered to the
office of the Liberal MPP. The parents argue that a flawed process was
employed by the Halton District School Board in making its school-closure
decision and should be subject to a complete and in-depth review by the
province.
    In July, trustees with the local board voted to close Brantwood Public
School, Linbrook Public School, Chisholm Public School and New Central School.
The goal is to use funds from the sale of the school sites to construct a new
school in a more recently settled area of Oakville. Program and grade
offerings will change at the two remaining elementary schools in southeast
Oakville: Maple Grove Public School and EJ James Public School.
    The board decision impacts not just the classroom setting but the entire
community, said parent and local resident Mark Caskenette.
    "As a mature neighbourhood, southeast Oakville has not benefited from
recent trends in land-use planning that include walking trails, community and
recreation centres and parkland with age appropriate play structures and
sports fields," noted Caskenette. "The area relies greatly on school
properties to accommodate these functions. Those green spaces serve the entire
neighbourhood, from toddler to senior citizen, and they will disappear
forever."
    The petition also claims that the board's decision failed to take into
consideration coming changes to the area with the eventual relocation of the
hospital to another part of town opening the road to future intensification.
    The parents want Flynn's support for a full, independent review of the
closure decision by the local school board. In addition, it asks for his
support in reaching a solution that respects the character and history of
southeast Oakville.
    Premier McGuinty has said his government wants schools to be "hubs of the
community" and Education Minister Kathleen Wynne has called schools "the heart
of our neighbourhoods."
    "We agree," stressed Caskenette. "A school injects energy, activity and
growth into its neighbourhoods. A school closure deeply wounds neighbourhood
value and pride. Closing four schools represents a debilitating blow."
    Caskenette added: "The province has the power to keep our community
schools open. The southeast Oakville situation provides the provincial
government with a chance to demonstrate that it truly believes schools are the
hub of any community."





For further information:

For further information: Mark Caskenette, Phone: (416) 673-5540

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OAKVILLE RESIDENTS FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION

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