School closure moratorium demanded by new coalition
Rural Schools Coalition will meet Premier Brian Gallant, Education Minister Serge Rousselle on Tuesday
A new coalition of parent groups fighting school closures around the province has formed and is calling for a moratorium on any decisions.
The Rural Schools Coalition is holding a meeting in Fredericton on Tuesday morning, where members will explain their call for a moratorium on school closures.
"The clock is ticking for rural New Brunswick and it's no time to be abandoning our local schools," said Michelle Folkins, a parent in Dorchester, in a statement.
The coalition says it opposes the government's Policy 409. which sets out the rules for possible school closures.
Several schools are slated for closure around the province.
The Anglophone South District Education Council has voted to close Lorne Middle School in Saint John's old north end and Pennfield Elementary.
The Anglophone West District Education Council has voted to close Coles Island School. The council also voted to merge the elementary and high schools in Stanley, which are located in the same building.
The Anglophone East District Education Council is reviewing what to do with the Dorchester Consolidated and Riverside Consolidated schools.
The final decision on whether to close the schools rests with the education minister.
Last September, the province's four anglophone district education councils released a statement that they didn't want the education minister to block their decisions.
The Gallant government announced last week that it is bringing in new criteria that will trigger more studies of possible school closures.
Rousselle said school districts will have to study the future of any school with fewer than 100 students or that has a population below 30 per cent of its capacity.
There are 27 anglophone schools and 15 francophone schools that have fewer than 100 students or are at less than 30 per cent capacity.