CORNWALL – The latest iteration of the SDG Counties Rural Education Committee now has members and expects to meet in September.
SDG Counties council made the appointments at its August 28 council meeting. The seven-member committee expands on the work completed by the previous council term.
Each lower-tier municipality recommended one person, either an elected official or lay person appointee, for the committee. The sitting SDG warden is an ex-officio member of the committee, which has a budget of $15,000.
Of the six appointees, five are members of lower-tier councils. Those appointees are: Matthew Uhrig – North Dundas, Marc St. Pierre – South Dundas, Jennifer MacIsaac – South Stormont, Jeff Manley – North Glengarry, and Stephanie Jaworski – South Glengarry. Amy Saunders, representing North Stormont, is the lone lay person appointee.
The Rural Education Committee’s terms of reference include a mandate to “promote and advance education equity for students throughout SDG and rural Ontario.”
In the previous term of council, the ad-hoc committee hired a consultant to create a rural education plan, with 10 key recommendations to improve education in rural areas including SDG Counties.
That committee also hosted a rural education symposium which had speakers on rural education, some of whom discussed how to fight rural school closures, or how to keep rural schools viable.
The Ontario government currently has a moratorium on school closures, which has been in place since July 2017.
The Ontario Public School Board Association and other advocacy groups have called for that moratorium to be lifted.
Rural education was one of the priorities of the 2018-22 term of SDG Council, which followed a bid by the Upper Canada District School Board to close several schools within the Counties.
The new Rural Education Committee is expected to meet four-to-six times per year, with the inaugural meeting taking place some time in September.