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Niagara Falls
Saturday, April 20, 2024
Letter: NOTL needs a public high school
Many parents think it’s egregious that a prominent town like NOTL has no home high school and students have to bus to St. Catharines to get a secondary education. FIREFLY/ RICHARD HARLEY

Dear editor:

This is an open letter to Niagara-on-the-Lake parents.

Does it make sense to you that a town with 1,000-plus teens doesn’t provide a high school (Statistics Canada, 2021) or youth programming?

Our 2,100-plus kids aged 14 and under are crammed into three public schools while our former schools are sitting empty or turned into private schools. Young families have continued to move here since COVID.

Last year, busing alone cost Niagara taxpayers more than $37 million, including sending our kids out of town.

Kids deserve a public education that is accessible in their own community with local friendships, part-time jobs, never mind avoiding the extra air pollution.

A town employee commented unofficially that our children have no future in NOTL, that in 10 years it will be just a sea of hotels …

So, as our population continues to increase, why have our schools been sold while neighbouring cities have managed to keep 100-year-old schools operating?

Can our children wait 10 more years to squeeze into one French high school in Glendale with 15,000 new residents?

What costs more: Close three schools and replace them with a mega-school like in Grimsby and here against fierce opposition or to make use of existing infrastructure?

Notice a pattern in who is managing more than $500 million of our tax dollars? The benefits of amalgamation are a myth.

Our school board needs to practise what it preaches: In the short term, be inclusive by offering local evening classes as it already does with the low German sessions in the Routes Learning program at Crossroads Public School.

Better yet, why not partner with the town on youth programs in our public schools outside of regular school hours?

In the long term, reacquire some land to address the overcrowding. No child should be educated in a portable. And pretty soon we’ll need another elementary school.

Our former high school is central (currently private with no bursaries for locals). Or what about the historic 325 King St.? There are plenty of hotels already sitting half-empty. Does this make sense?

Let’s start paying more attention to whether those who represent us have our best interests in mind since NOTL children matter too and should be part of the future of our town, not just tourism.

Concerned parents of NOTL who are interested in this issue can contact me at notlhighschool@gmail.com. Also see my online petition at https://chng.it/2dWt6yPvcP.

Lauren Bubnic
NOTL

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