More say in ru­ral school ad­vo­cacy cam­paign

The Glengarry News - - News - News

BY TARA MACDON­ALD

Staff Lo­cal schools ad­vo­cate Stephanie Ja­worski and South Glen­garry Coun­cil­lor Trevor Bougie have been ap­pointed to the Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nity Schools Al­liance (CSA).

They were signed in at the CSA’s An­nual Gen­eral Meet­ing, held in con­junc­tion with the As­so­ci­a­tion of Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of On­tario's (AMO) meet­ings in Ot­tawa which be­gan Au­gust 19 and runs un­til to­day.

The CSA is a province-wide mu­nic­i­pal ad­vo­cacy group that works to build part­ner­ships be­tween school boards and mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ments. CSA mem­ber­ship is open to all mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in On­tario as well as in­ter­ested in­di­vid­u­als and com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions. Founded in 2009, the CSA cur­rently boasts 38 mem­ber mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

South Glen­garry joined the CSA in 2017 dur­ing the Save Char-Lan cam­paign as a way to pro­pel the in­flu­ence of mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ments to have more say in the fate of schools.

“The CSA has been a key voice in the ef­forts to have mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties play a role in school in­fra­struc­ture de­ci­sions and in ad­vo­cat­ing for the unique value of schools to ru­ral and North­ern com­mu­ni­ties,” said Ms. Ja­worski.

Sally Phy­pers, Chair of Save Char-Lan com­mit­tee, agrees. “They are an ef­fec­tive ad­vo­cacy group that have the ear of the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and have the set-up that they can help make pol­icy change rec­om­men­da­tions which is ef­fec­tively what we need to do,” she said.

Ms. Phy­pers along with Ms. Ja­worski who is Vice Chair of the Save Char-Lan Com­mit­tee ap­proached the Town­ship of South Glen­garry and con­nected with CSA Vice Chair Mar­cus Ryan early on in the cam­paign to save ru­ral schools.

“At the time, the CSA had very lit­tle rep­re­sen­ta­tion in ru­ral On­tario which is where most of the neg­a­tive changes and school clo­sures were tak­ing place,” said Ms. Phy­pers. “One of the things we no­ticed when we looked at the Pupil Ac­com­mo­da­tion Re­view, was that there was ab­so­lutely no di­a­logue be­tween the town­ship and the school board,” she con­tin­ued. “Ob­vi­ously it’s im­por­tant that we have di­a­logue there be­cause schools are an in­te­gral part of com­mu­ni­ties, so the town­ships and the school boards need to be talk­ing to each other and re­spect­ing each other’s needs.”

As a tes­ta­ment to the CSA’s in­put and com­mit­ment to pro­tect­ing and en­hanc­ing ru­ral ed­u­ca­tion, they were in­vited by the Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion to be part of a ref­er­ence group to pro­vide feed­back on the most re­cent re­vi­sions to the Pupil Ac­com­mo­da­tion Re­view Guide­lines as well as the Com­mu­nity Part­ner­ship and Plan­ning Guide­lines an­nounced in late 2017.

These guide­lines will play a cru­cial role in de­ter­min­ing the sta­tus of the cur­rent school clo­sure mora­to­rium. The CSA will also con­tinue to ad­vo­cate for in­creases in the $20 mil­lion Ru­ral and North­ern Ed­u­ca­tion Fund. Look­ing fur­ther ahead, the CSA has also spon­sored re­search into the im­pact of school clo­sures in On­tario and ex­pects progress re­ports on that over this next term.

Num­bers needed

While Char-Lan High School es­caped the chop­ping block for the next five years, its con­tin­u­ance is de­pen­dent on main­tain­ing en­rol­ment. Schools must also meet the de­mands of sub­mit­ting a Pupil Ac­com­mo­da­tion Re­view which ad­dresses the im­pact on stu­dent pro­gram­ming, stu­dent well-be­ing, school board re­sources, the com­mu­nity and econ­omy.

While there is no date set for the next Pupil Ac­com­mo­da­tion Re­view, it’s im­por­tant for area schools to re­main vig­i­lant in col­lect­ing rel­e­vant data and pre­par­ing for the re­view process. “This is why I want to be on the CSA,” said Ms. Ja­worski. “I want the fund­ing and pol­icy model around this to change to re­duce the like­li­hood of it hap­pen­ing again. Our schools need to be pro­tected.”

“It’s great news for the CSA to have Stephanie as a new Ex­ec­u­tive Mem­ber,” said CSA Vice Chair Mar­cus Ryan. “When you can add some­one who has first-hand lo­cal ex­pe­ri­ence, and is will­ing to try to turn that into bet­ter pol­icy, and most of all when they’re will­ing to do the hard work, it’s a big ad­van­tage for the work the CSA is do­ing fight­ing for ru­ral schools.”

“I’m very ex­cited to have been ap­pointed to the Com­mu­nity Schools Al­liance Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee,” said Ms. Ja­worski. “The Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee is the driv­ing force be­hind the CSA’s work and I want to con­trib­ute to that work as well as ad­vo­cate for the unique needs of East­ern On­tario, and our town­ship in par-

Din­ers

tic­u­lar. Our ru­ral and agri­cul­tural set­ting, cou­pled with a high pro­por­tion of bilin­gual­ism, is unique.”

South Glen­garry Coun­cil­lor Trevor Bougie, who was also elected as a CSA com­mit­tee mem­ber, knows the value of pro­tect­ing lo­cal schools. A teacher at Bishop Mac­donell pri­mary school in Corn­wall, Mr. Bougie was in- volved at the coun­cil level to en­sure that the Save Char-Lan com­mit­tee ob­tained the fund­ing and sup­port it needed to launch a suc­cess­ful cam­paign.

Some of the best

“I feel strongly about be­ing part of the CSA and work­ing as a team to en­sure our lo­cal schools are looked after,” said Mr. Bougie. “Our lo­cal schools are some of the strong­est in the province and the sta­tis­tics speak for them­selves. I look for­ward to work­ing with the mem­bers of the CSA and our lo­cal MPPs to en­sure our com­mu­nity can con­tinue to thrive.”

Ms. Ja­worski was vice-chair of the Save Char-Lan cam­paign and re­mains an ac­tive par­tic­i­pant in the Wil­liamstown Pub­lic and Char-Lan District High School coun­cils. A mem­ber of the Up­per Canada District Par­ent In­volve­ment Com­mit­tee, she is seek­ing elec­tion as coun­cil­lor in the Oc­to­ber 22 South Glen­garry mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the CSA and South Glen­garry’s in­volve­ment, con­tact Ms. Ja­worski at (613) 361-2232.

Two South Glen­garry rep­re­sen­ta­tives on provin­cial coali­tion

for the Art group, ping-pong and eu­chre card nights as soon as they are es­tab­lished for Septem­ber.

CSA EX­EC­U­TIVE COM­MIT­TEE: Left to Right: Alan Bar­foot, Mayor Ge­or­gian Bluffs; Jim Col­lard, (CSA Sec­re­tary-Trea­surer) Coun­cil­lor Ni­a­gara-on-the-Lake; Stephen Har­vey, Coun­cil­lor Mid­dle­sex Cen­tre; Doug Rey­craft (CSA Chair), South­west Mid­dle­sex; Mar­cus Ryan (CSA Vice Chair), Coun­cil­lor Zorra; Stephanie Ja­worski, South Glen­garry; De­nis Doyle, Mayor Fron­tenac Is­lands; Carol Low­ery, Coun­cil­lor Temagami; Ab­sent: Pa­tri­cia Greig, Deputy Mayor North­ern Bruce Penin­sula and Trevor Bougie, Coun­cil­lor South Glen­garry

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