BY STEVEN WARBURTON
Staff When Jamie MacDonald was inaugurated as Warden of the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry in December, he said he would fight to repair the educational system in Eastern Ontario.
Late last month, he took that fight to the provincial level when he met with the Minister of Education at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference in Toronto. Mr. MacDonald, who is also the Mayor of North Glengarry, said that the status quo is not financially sustainable, especially with four competing school boards and plenty of halfempty schools.
“We have two different school buses going up and down the same road,” he said, referring to the two transportation consortiums – Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario (STEO) and Consortium de transport scolaire de l'Est – one which transports students from the English school boards and one which transports them for the French boards.
It’s a policy that Mr. MacDonald finds ridiculous. “Our kids can’t ride on the same bus but they can play on the same hockey team,” he said. “We have two different entities. There’s got to be a better system.”
“We’re open to partnerships with anybody, including municipalities and other school boards,” he said. “Resources are more limited now.”
reached out to Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l'Est ontarien, which oversees Consortium de transport scolaire de l'Est, but we did not receive a comment as of press deadline.
Change is needed
Mr. MacDonald says that since he made his comments at the inauguration, he has been approached by hundreds of teachers who say the lack of resources is hurting their classrooms. “They have no budget for materials and are paying for things out of pocket,” he says.