Since the Upper Canada District School Board school community was turned upside down in late September, the March 23 final decision day for school closures has been ingrained in the minds of many.
Well, that day has come and gone, and with it came the final vote. Having attended that meeting, I saw first hand the disappointment, anger and tears. They were unforgettable.
While quietly content to see that South Dundas schools, namely Seaway District High School and Morrisburg Public School escaped the axe, this time, there has been no cause for celebration, nor should there be.
Those who have been thoroughly immersed in the process know full well it could have very easily been Seaway and Morrisburg school supporters sitting in the position of those from R-O and Benson who endured, not only a difficult process, but a heart-breaking vote for closure.
At that meeting, every school that was up for the closure vote, ended up closed. Despite pleas and amendments from trustees, there was nothing that could have been done to change the outcome.
R-O only needed one more vote to stave off closure, and they didn’t get it.
Those whose schools were spared this time, know how hard they worked, all the time they spent and all they did to avoid this fate for their own children, their own schools and their own communities.
It was stunning to see that in some cases it was all for naught. It was stunning to see that despite all that was done, nothing changed. The school board supported the staff report and its recommendations.
It’s a good thing that meeting was unforgettable. We shouldn’t forget the effort, the process and the outcome.
Now is the time to take stock of the situation, to learn about what these school communities can do better to avoid being back in this same situation.
Our community, our families and children don’t deserve to be back here in five years time fighting this fight again. No one does.
A lot can happen in five years and a lot can change in five years.
Let’s hope for, and work towards, ensuring our schools have a future.