Little evidence of 'broader vision' in schools report, says Green leader
Peter Bevan-Baker concerned about proposal to close 4 rural schools
P.E.I. Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker is concerned there has been too much emphasis on economic efficiency and not enough on the broader impact of a proposal to close four rural schools.
A report by the Public Schools Branch released this week recommended the closure of five schools, one in Charlottetown and four in rural areas of the province.
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"Decisions on whether to maintain or close rural schools affect more than simply the bottom line of the Department of Education," said Bevan-Baker in a news release.
"Other government priorities depend on schools, including the population growth strategy, economic development, workforce, health care, and the vitality of both our rural and urban communities. I don't see much evidence here of a broader vision for the well-being of our Island."
Bevan-Baker said before any schools are closed there should be more consideration of how schools could be used as community hubs for services such as libraries, fitness centres, and day cares.
The Green leader had some praise for the process itself, which he described as an improved process to engage Islanders. He also recognized the need to reduce overcrowding in urban schools.
Education Minister Doug Currie has said the recommendations will create a balance — while now some schools are overcrowded and others underutilized — and will help class composition and expanding extracurricular activities.
"The intent here is to really to find parity and to improve the overall quality and balance in public education across the province," Currie said.
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