In my role as MPP for Burlington, I have spoken with parents, students, teachers and residents concerned about the impact of the pupil accommodation review currently underway in our community. School closures and consolidations are some of the hardest decisions faced by our school boards given the critical role that schools play in the lives of Burlington families and our community more broadly.
Our schools have an impact that extends far beyond the classroom, which is why all residents deserve the chance to provide feedback so their input is reflected in the decision-making process. In my discussions, I have heard from constituents who feel that they have not had adequate time or opportunities to provide meaningful input. I have listened to these concerns and shared it in discussions with constituents, community leaders, trustees and the school board, outlining my expectation that Burlington residents have the chance to participate in consultations.
Decisions with respect to schools and school closures are made at the local level by local decision-makers: school boards (staff) and trustees (elected officials). There was a time, not that long ago, when schools were closed without due consultation. Our government changed this and has empowered local decision-makers to review school accommodation needs, entrusting our school board staff and trustees to ensure that student well-being is the number one priority.
Schoolboards are now asked to ensure these decisions reflect consultations and input from impacted members of the community. The Ministry of Education’s pupil accommodation review guideline provides a framework for this, mandating that meaningful consultation take place.
Local input is essential for local decision-makers as they act on behalf of their community. I expect the Halton District School Board to listen and respond to requests from Burlington residents for more extensive consultation and ensure that their concerns are understood and dutifully addressed. This will ensure that Burlington residents have confidence in the process and therefore, the outcomes.
Encouraging community input is a fundamental principle in important decision-making processes like this and as the MPP for Burlington, I will continue to advocate on behalf of my constituents to participate and have their voices heard in these important discussions. Providing our students with the best educational opportunities remains a priority for me, and I expect that a meaningful consultation process will support a robust, high quality education system in Burlington and across the province.
—Eleanor McMahon, Burlington MPP
Attachments:MPP Statement- March 22 2017
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