Bill Parks addresses CK council May 15, 2017. (Photo by Paul Pedro)

CK Council Wants To Be More Active In Saving Small Schools

Most Chatham-Kent councillors want to be more involved to try and stop the closure of small local schools, but the majority also backed off doing a financial impact.

During a meeting on Monday, ten of 16 councillors voted against doing an assessment, because they either thought it was too big a task or the municipality didn’t have enough resources.

Bill Parks of Bothwell told council that school closures kill small towns and he would have liked a financial assessment done to support saving small schools.

“I think our council missed the opportunity to get some real numbers and present them to our premier, minister of education and take it all the way up the chain,” says Parks.

Councillor Carmen McGregor says council doesn’t have the authority to save schools.

CK council has agreed to lobby provincial politicians at the next AMO conference to keep small local schools open and will work closer with school boards to save threatened schools.

Parks likes that councillors will lobby the province because they need to know that small town school closures hurt the economy, and keep new families from moving in.

“Unless you go and lobby and talk to your MPP or the current government MPPs then they don’t know you’re even here,” Parks says.

Parks says the same issue came up in 2003 but hopes this time it’ll get better results.

“I think we all recognize it’s a big hill to climb, but if we don’t climb then we’ll get nothing.  I think it’ll require more work than it did then and I think the only way we’re going to get there is work at it,” says Parks.