February 1, 2017
Hon. Mitzie Hunter
Minister of Education
Mowat Block 22nd Flr,
900 Bay St,
Toronto, ON M7A 1L2
School Closures in Prince Edward County
Dear Minister Hunter,
I am writing to invite you to meet with Constituents and Municipal Leaders in my area to discuss the Accommodation Review Committee process which is currently underway. I know you had the opportunity, at the ROMA conference to hear from municipal leaders and staff to discuss the potential negative impact the changes will have on their small towns.
Over the last few weeks, my office has experienced a high volume of calls, emails and letters about potential school closures in local communities. Parents in Bloomfield, Sophiasburgh, Madoc Township and across my riding and region are concerned that closing schools and forcing kids into ever-longer bus trips is not in the best interest of their kids or their community. One father from Ameliasburgh told me that the proposed plan would mean his kids would go from spending under two hours on the bus every day to spending almost four hours on the bus every day.
Other parents moved to the region recently largely because schools existed in the small towns where they wanted to live and Prince Edward County, in particular, had put considerable effort into attracting younger families with children to live and work there. In the first day a petition was placed on my website, I heard from dozens of parents in the Bloomfield and Sophiasburgh areas who had recently moved there because of the County’s efforts only to find out that their school is now at risk of being closed.
The statistics being used by the ARC don’t reflect this new reality. As a result, the process carries a considerable long term risk of doing damage to communities that need these facilities to remain open. Please accept my invitation to meet with municipal leaders, including Mayor Quaiff and Councillor Roberts, with whom you discussed the ARC process with at ROMA. I look forward to your reply.
Todd Smith, MPP
CC: Mayor Robert Quaiff, Prince Edward County