Belleville is throwing its weight behind a move to have the provincial government put a moratorium on the process leading to possible school closures, that is now underway across the province, including in the Quinte area.
Belleville Mayor Taso Christopher told city council on Monday that the Accommodation Review Process “does not reflect the reality of rural schools.”
He says the problem is that the city’s economic growth and the school review process are not on the same “playbook.”
He said the city undergoes an official plan process that spans 10 or 25 years involving its economic and residential growth.
Christopher emphasized to Quinte News he is “not pleased” with the lack of response from elected school officials about the municipality’s concerns.
He says he wants to meet with the chair of the Hastings Prince Edward School Board in person to discuss the issues.
Mayor Christopher questioned if there will be any savings with school closures and amalgamations.
Belleville is supporting the proposed moratorium, brought forward by the municipality of West Lincoln, which will be circulated to Premier Kathleen Wynne, the Minister of Education and Municipal Associations.
The West Linclon resolution states that school closures impact single-school small rural communities in educational, social and economic aspects.
It also states that the length of time that rural students could be on a bus to travel from their home to school and vice versa would, in a lot of cases, be very lengthy and “an unacceptable duration of time.”
The resolution calls on the province to ensure that school boards thoroughly investigate and take into account municipalities that have received approval for growth so schools are not closed prematurely.