Merger mo­men­tum

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - News For his part, STEO’s chair­man John McAl­lis­ter says he would be open to an amal­ga­ma­tion. The News

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.”

STEO

“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.

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