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24.3 C
Niagara-on-the-Lake
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Letter: Town, DSBN need to re-establish a NOTL high school
Lettertotheeditormale
Dear editor:
Every four years all residents in Canada have to fill out a census form under penalty of law for non-compliance.
The main stated purpose for the census is to enable government bodies to make the best decisions in their jurisdictions. Shouldn’t there be penalties for the governments that ignore the census?
The District School Board of Niagara has used over $100 million in taxpayer money since its inception in the mid 1990s to save inner-city secondary schools by closing surrounding high schools like Niagara District and Westpark, and busing those students into the city.
The arrival of COVID has blown up this scheme by dramatically showing that busing is a super spreader policy that has to stop now.
School boards like the DSBN should not establish programs that force students to get on buses and leave their communities. The longer on the bus the more exposed to the virus.
The short-term solution for Niagara-on-the-Lake is to find a way to let our 840 teenagers attend secondary school in our town.
Our town council or the DSBN need to work with Vineridge Academy (formerly Niagara District High School) to make this happen. Failure is not an option.
If this does not happen by Sept. 1 of this year I would think that both town council and the board should face some serious legal consequences.
Taxpayers and parents should be reminded that the DSBN closed Niagara District against the recommendations of a review committee set up to examine the future of NDSS.
We need also remember that our town council purchased the school in 2015 only to sell it in 2016 to Royal Elite International Academy. Perhaps in the future some ex-councillors could explain this truly irrational decision.
The long-term solution is in the hands of our elected representative Wayne Gates and the NDP.
This whole problem would never have happened if our town kept control of its own finances and decision-making.
I was employed, in my first two years as a teacher, by our own NOTL school board. In 1967 we had seven elementary schools and one fully composite high school in the best town in Ontario.
In 1968 the province forced our town into a relationship with a larger school board – the Lincoln board, which later became the DSBN.
We now only have two public elementary schools and no high school. The problem, in my opinion, is obvious.
Don MacDougall
NOTL