Public Meeting On Possible Downtown School Closures

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Possible school closures are on the agenda at a public meeting Thursday night hosted by the Downtown Residents Association.

Last spring, the Greater Essex County District School Board announced it would consider recommendations to close Hugh Beaton, Queen Victoria and Prince Edward public schools and build a new school in central Windsor.

DRA Secretary Matt Wachna says that could devastate those neighbourhoods.

“When schools close, it hollows out neighbourhoods very quickly,” he says. “Households that live around that area tend to move out. Schools become victims of vandalism, and it drives property values down, and as people move out of their communities, business is also affected.”

The board ultimately decided to hold off, but a new program and accommodation review could start as early as mid-November.

Wachna says the point of the meeting is to educate the public about steps they can take to ensure they have a voice in the process.

“We are going to have to be prepared to defend our schools,” he says.

So far, NDP Education Critic and Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky, Ward 3 city councillor Rino Bortolin, Trustees Jessica Sartori and Alan Halberstadt, and Mario Spagnuolo with the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario have confirmed their attendance at the meeting at 6:30pm at the Ukrainian National Federation Hall, 1033 Ottawa St.