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Oro-Medonte council backs rural schools

JENNIFER BURDEN The Packet & Times

Oro-Medonte Township council has thrown its support behind the preservation of rural schools.

At Wednesday's council meeting, councillors passed a resolution demonstrating their support for keeping rural schools open.

The resolution cited rural schools' quality of education and one-on-one teaching amongst their reasons.

"There isn't one member of council who isn't solidly behind supporting rural schools," Mayor Harry Hughes said.

Simon Kennedy , a representative from the Moonstone Elementary Enhancement Team (MEET) group, formed four years ago when Moonstone first faced closure, made a deputation to council seeking its support.

"As the threat to our school and others continues to exist, we are here today to request your assistance - not just for Moonstone Elementary, but for all rural schools in the Township of Oro-Medonte and beyond," he said.

Moonstone has been targeted by the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) capital plan for closure and has been scheduled for an accommodation review in September.

Kennedy also asked that council circulate a motion asking other local councils to endorse this resolution, which it did.

Oro-Medonte Township will be forwarding its resolution to Premier Dalton McGuinty, the Ministry of Education, the SCDSB, Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop and all Simcoe County municipalities for their consideration and endorsement.

Coun. Mel Coutanche said the timing of MEET's efforts is "really good" because of the upcoming provincial election.

"I really think this is a provincial election issue," he said.

Coun. Kelly Meyer thanked the group for its deputation. As a mother of two children who went to Moonstone, she said she has "a lot to say about this issue."

Coun. John Crawford also drew on his past as a former student of Oro Station Public School.

"I was the last student in the last class of Oro Station when it closed. I know all about school closures," he said. "What you're doing is very commendable."

MEET is holding a general community meeting on Feb. 17 at the Coldwater Community Centre at 7 p.m.

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