A parents' committee recommendation to close five schools in eastern P.E.I. could be the fatal blow to communities in the area, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

'You go into those schools and you feel like you're part of a community.' — Donalda MacDonald, CUPE

The union represents some staff at the schools such as custodians, but CUPE P.E.I. president Donalda MacDonald says the union's objections are not about protecting its members.

"Our members will be taken care of probably, in one big school," said MacDonald.

"Our concern is that these small schools are the heart of the communities. You go into those schools and you feel like you're part of a community. If you move five-year-old children an hour to an hour and a half away from their homes into a town with 17- and 18-year-olds, we're just wondering what benefit to their education is that?"

A committee of parents recommended the closures in a presentation to the Eastern School District on June 13. They were concerned that with falling enrolments, the schools, which are clustered around Souris, would close anyway. They are asking the district to replace the schools with one new schoolthat would cover kindergarten to grade 12.

MacDonald said the union wants the Eastern School District to launch a full public consultation on the issue. If the district doesn't, CUPE will hold its own public meetings.