Letter to the editor
Through the keen leadership of Mayor Robert Quaiff, I had the privilege of being on The County’s “team” pursuing our rural school concerns with members of the provincial Cabinet.
This included meetings with Premier Kathleen Wynne and Education Minister Mitzie Hunter during the last days of January.
Our Shire Hall staff prepared an excellent brief, plus input from our community’s ARC participants was clear, concise and — in my own view — thoroughly convincing.
It was also good to be armed with pointed Council resolutions and the support of our Prince Edward Federation of Agriculture.
So there’s likely nothing much to be added to what our hard-working parents, business leaders, and teachers have already raised and will continue to insist upon.
But there were also 3 anecdotal takeaways, or “shareable moments”, for me as an individual, local politician and
- The Premier made it public & clear that all co-terminus school boards in Prince Edward Hastings should be working together locally toward creative outcomes, e.g. Separate and Public, French-language and English-language.
- The Premier and the Minister expect our school board to be working closely now with our municipality – including Council, our municipal development and economic tools, and our Shire Hall staff. Councillors serving on an ARC are welcome but that alone is insufficient strategic collaboration with the municipality.
- The Minister openly insists that ARC outcomes and processes are local school board driven. Matters such as timelines should be flexible and recognize that “one size does not fit all.”
As a resident and citizen I found this trinity of senior Queens Park assertions constructive, reassuring and sensible.
Time will tell how they translate into positive refinements of the current ARC and proposed rural school closure conversation.
But I’m giving myself permission to be cautiously optimistic.