Parents aim to save rural schools
Members of the Moonstone Elementary Enhancement Team (MEET) Cheryl Walsh, left, Randy Hazlett, Lila Osborne, Tammy Woodrow and Denise Osborn, back, seen in Moonstone near Orillia on Feb 1, 2011 have mobilized to fight the closure of Moonstone Elementary School and other rural schools in the area.(JENNIFER BURDEN/THE PACKET & TIMES)
Members of the Moonstone community have started to mobilize against the potential closure of their elementary school.
Moonstone Elementary Enhancement Team (MEET,) a group of parents that formed four years ago after the initial scare of closure, has regrouped and scheduled numerous public appearances to voice its concerns.
"It's an amazing community and our school has been the focus of everything," Lila Osborne, MEET member and mother of three Moonstone Elementary School students, said Tuesday.
Moonstone has been flagged by the Simcoe County District School Board capital plan for closure. The SCDSB states the school's mechanical, electrical and structural systems are failing. They have established an accommodation review to begin in September 2011.
"We're trying to find out more information ourselves at this point in time as to the reasoning why they are going to close it," Osborne said.
Although MEET has formed in response to threats locally, its aim is to preserve all rural schools.
"We realize this is a much bigger issue than just our school," Osborne said. "We believe there is so much rural schools stand for. We want to fight to keep all rural schools open."
MEET will be appearing at Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop's two pre-budget meetings in Midland today and Orillia Thursday.
Randy Hazlett, who lives next door to Moonstone Public School and has two kids enrolled there, will be speaking at the Feb. 3 consultation at the Highwayman Inn beginning at 8:30 a.m. Hazlett will be presenting at 11:10 a.m.
"We are going to ask Dunlop to go to the minister of education and support us," Hazlett said. "Our school is the centre of our community."
A MEET representative will also be speaking at the Oro-Medonte Township council meeting on Feb. 9 at 7 p.m.
A general community meeting is scheduled for Feb. 17 at the Coldwater Community Centre with the time yet to be confirmed.
On Feb. 23, MEET will be asking the SCDSB to cancel the entire Moonstone accommodation review at their board meeting.