TORONTO – The Wynne government revealed Thursday that 300 more schools are on the chopping block, prompting NDP Leader Andrea Horwath to launch a petition campaign to block any further closures.
Wednesday, the NDP revealed internal briefing notes from Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals which prove the government’s policy for measuring school utilization is wrong and misleading. It calculates fully-utilized schools as nearly empty by intentionally ignoring English as an additional language programs, child care programs, adult education programs and more.
“The rules for closing schools are broken – and until they’re fixed, not one more school should be shut down,” said Horwath. “Schools can and should be important community hubs. When they offer child care or adult education, they’re offering something incredibly valuable.”
“Premier Wynne just doesn’t get it – intentionally ignoring those things and closing hundreds more schools will come at a huge cost to families, and to the province.”
Horwath said the Liberal government’s bad policies combined with cuts to education are hampering school boards. Her petition calls on the government to remove all 300 schools from the list of schools being considered for closure, review the Pupil Accommodation Review Guidelines, and fix broken utilization formula. The NDP has also demanded the Wynne government review the funding formula which is pressing school boards to close schools.
Since 2011, 277 schools have been permanently shut down under Wynne’s watch.