Transcript: An Education for All | Jan 16, 2017

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, peach shirt, and lilac tie.

A caption on screen reads "An education for all. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says THE PROVINCE HAS LAID
OUT THE FISCAL REALITY.
NOW SCHOOL BOARDS ACROSS ONTARIO
HAVE TO MAKE THE TOUGH CHOICES.
TO MERGE SCHOOLS.
TO CLOSE SCHOOLS.
TO BUS KIDS FAR, FAR FROM HOME.
HOW ARE BOARDS AND COMMUNITIES
DEALING WITH THE SQUEEZE?
LET'S FIND OUT:
LAURIE FRENCH, PRESIDENT,
ONTARIO PUBLIC SCHOOL BOARDS'
ASSOCIATION, AND A TRUSTEE AT
THE LIMESTONE DISTRICT SCHOOL
BOARD IN EASTERN ONTARIO...

Laurie is in her late forties, with long straight blond hair. She's wearing a black blazer over a pale blue shirt, and a beaded necklace.

Steve continues PATRICK DALY, PRESIDENT, ONTARIO
CATHOLIC SCHOOL TRUSTEES'
ASSOCIATION; CHAIR,
HAMILTON-WENTWORTH CATHOLIC
DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD...

Patrick is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short side-parted gray hair. He's wearing glasses, a gray plaid suit, checkered shirt and gray tie.

Steve continues DOUG REYCRAFT, CHAIR, COMMUNITY
SCHOOLS ALLIANCE...

Doug is in his late fifties, clean-shaven, with sparse gray hair. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit, white shirt, and dark blue tie.

Steve continues AND, ANNIE KIDDER, EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR AND FOUNDER OF PEOPLE
FOR EDUCATION.

Annie is in her sixties, with shoulder-length wavy blond hair. She's wearing glasses, a black shirt and vest, and a colourful painted silk scarf.

Steve continues IT'S GOOD TO SEE ALL OF YOU HERE
IN OUR STUDIO ONCE AGAIN.
I WANT TO START WITH THE
INTERVIEW THAT WE JUST PLAYED,
THAT WE JUST DID, RATHER, WITH
THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION.
MR. CHAIRMAN, DO YOU WANT TO
JUST GIVE US YOUR INITIAL 411
FEEDBACK ON THAT?

The caption changes to "Patrick Daly. Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association."
Then, it changes again to "Facing enrolment problems."

Patrick says SURE, I'D BE HAPPY TO, STEVE.
ONE OF THE THINGS I WANT TO ECHO
WHAT THE MINISTER SAID WITH MY
OWN EXPERIENCE IN HAMILTON AND
CLOSELY INVOLVED WITH THE
CATHOLIC SCHOOL BOARDS
THROUGHOUT ONTARIO IS THE BOARDS
ARE REALLY LOOKING AT THIS AS AN
OPPORTUNITY TO RENEW OUR SCHOOL
FACILITIES AND AS WELL IMPROVE
PROGRAMS FOR SCHOOL.
I DON'T UNDERESTIMATE FOR A
MOMENT THE DIFFICULTIES IN TERMS
OF ADEQUATE FUNDING.
BUT AT THE SAME TIME I THINK
BOARDS ARE LISTENING VERY, VERY
CAREFULLY TO COMMUNITIES AND
WORKING HARD TO COME UP WITH
WHAT'S BEST FOR STUDENTS.

Steve says MADAM CHAIR?

The caption changes to "Laurie French. Ontario Public School Boards' Association."

Laurie says IT WAS INTERESTING TO HEAR
THE REFERENCE TO ADMINISTRATION
AT LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS.
I WAS PLEASED TO HEAR THAT.
TRUSTEES NO WELL THE ISSUES IN
THEIR COMMUNITIES... KNOW WELL
THE ISSUES IN THEIR COMMUNITIES.
THEY'RE WORKING WITH PARENT AND
STUDENT PARTNERS.
I'M HAPPY TO HEAR HER REINFORCE
THE DECISION MAKING NEEDS TO BE
THERE.

Steve says AT THE LOCAL
LEVEL...

Laurie says AT THE LOCAL LEVEL, ABSOLUTELY.

Steve says ANNIE KIDDER?

The caption changes to "Annie Kidder. People for Education."

Annie says IT WAS GOOD TO HEAR THE
SUPPORT FOR THAT.
I THINK THERE ARE AND THE
MINISTER ACKNOWLEDGED CONCERNS
ABOUT THE PER PUPIL-NESS OF THE
FUNDING.
SO THERE'S SOME UPDATING THAT
NEEDS TO BE DONE IN THE FUNDING
FORMULA.
I THINK THERE AREN'T ACTUALLY
RESTRICTIONS ON HOW LONG KIDS
CAN BE ON BUSES.
THAT WAS ANOTHER THING THAT GOT
SAID THAT I WOULD QUARREL WITH
THE ACCURACY OF THAT.
BUT I DO, YOU KNOW, EVERYBODY'S
TRYING TO WORK TOGETHER TO DEAL
WITH A KIND OF OVERALL FISCAL
SITUATION AND DECLINING
ENROLMENT AND THERE ARE GOING TO
BE, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF BUMPS
ALONG THE WAY.

Steve says JUST TO BE CLEAR,
THERE'S NO PROHIBITION THEN THAT
YOU KNOW OF THAT SAYS STUDENTS
CAN'T BE BUSSED 90 MINUTES TO
120 MINUTES A DAY?

Annie says NO.
YOU GUYS MAY KNOW MORE FROM
BOARDS.
BUT THERE'S NOTHING ON THE BOOKS
THAT SAID THAT FUNDING WORKS
DIFFERENTLY DEPENDING ON IF
SCHOOLS ARE FARTHER APART, BUT
THERE ARE KIDS ON BUSES FOR A
VERY LONG TIME EVERY DAY
ALREADY.

Patrick says THE ONLY THING I WOULD ADD TO
THAT, STEVE, ANNIE IS CORRECT IN
TERMS OF PROVINCIALLY BUT BOARDS
DO HAVE, IN THEIR OWN POLICIES,
RESTRICTIONS IN TERMS OF THE
AMOUNT OF TIME.
THAT WOULD VARY FROM BOARD TO
BOARD.
BUT AS FAR AS I'M AWARE, MOST
BOARDS HAVE THAT.

Laurie says LOCAL DECISION.

Steve says LOCAL DECISION, OKAY.
DOUG REYCRAFT, YOUR INITIAL
FEEDBACK ON THE INTERVIEW WITH
MITZIE HUNTER?

The caption changes to "Doug Reycraft. Community Schools Alliance."

Doug says WELL, THE
MINISTER IS CORRECT WHEN SHE
SAYS THAT SCHOOL BOARDS HAVE THE
POWER TO CLOSE THE SCHOOLS.
THE MINISTRY DOES NOT.
IN FACT, THE SCHOOL BOARDS DO
HAVE ABSOLUTE POWER WITH THOSE
DECISIONS.
THERE'S NO APPEAL AVAILABLE TO A
COMMUNITY OR TO ANYBODY ELSE.
HOWEVER, THINGS THAT THE
MINISTRY DOES, DO INFLUENCE
DECISIONS ABOUT CLOSURE.
CHANGES IN THE FUNDING FORMULA
DO THAT.
CHANGES THAT THEY'VE RECENTLY
MADE IN THE PUPIL ACCOMMODATION
REVIEW GUIDELINE HAVE HAD A BIG
IMPACT ON THE NUMBER OF CLOSURES
THAT ARE NOW BEING CONSIDERED.
SO IT'S PERHAPS A BIT TOO
PRECIOUS TO SAY THAT THE
MINISTRY DOESN'T CLOSE THE
SCHOOLS.
THEY DO THINGS THAT REALLY
REQUIRE BOARDS TO LOOK AT
CLOSING THE SCHOOLS AND THAT'S
SOMEWHAT UNFORTUNATE.

Steve says LET ME... I WANT TO
FOLLOW UP WITH YOU.
YOU AND I HAVE KNOWN EACH OTHER
30 YEARS.

Doug says IS IT THAT LONG.

Steve says I'M AFRAID IT IS.
YOU WERE AN M.P.P. YEARS AGO.
I WANT TO KNOW, IN A PROVINCIAL
GOVERNMENT CAUCUS, AS YOU WERE,
AND HOW POLITICALLY FRAUGHT IT
IS FOR PROVINCES TO MAKE
POLICIES AND NOW FOR LOCAL
SCHOOL BOARDS TO MAKE DECISIONS
BASED ON THOSE POLICIES THAT
INVOLVES SCHOOL CLOSURES.

Doug says IT'S A
DIFFICULT QUESTION TO ANSWER
BECAUSE EDUCATION WAS A MUCH
DIFFERENT WORLD IN THOSE DAYS.
WE HAD COUNTY SCHOOL BOARDS
ACROSS RURAL ONTARIO.
WE DIDN'T HAVE THE HUGE DISTRICT
BOARDS THAT WERE CREATED IN
1998, I THINK?
SO IT WAS... I MEAN, OFTEN THE
CONCERNS OF SCHOOL BOARDS AND
TRUSTEES WERE BROUGHT TO CAUCUS
MEETINGS AND WERE BROUGHT TO THE
MINISTER OF EDUCATION AND
MEETINGS OF INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS
WITH MINISTER SEAN CONWAY AT
THAT TIME.
AS I SAID, IT'S A MUCH DIFFERENT
WORLD.
WE DIDN'T HAVE THE FUNDING
FORMULA.
EDUCATION WAS STILL FINANCED BY
A COMBINATION OF PROVINCIAL
GRANTS CALLED THE G.L.G., OR THE
GENERAL LEGISLATIVE GRANTS, THAT
HAVE BEEN REPLACED BY THE G.S.N.
THAT YOU HEARD ABOUT IN THE
INTERVIEW WITH THE MINISTER, AND
THERE WAS STILL A LARGE
COMPONENT OF THE FUNDING OF
EDUCATION THAT CAME FROM THE
PROPERTY TAX BASE WHICH, I
SHOULD MENTION, THERE STILL IS
BECAUSE MUNICIPALITIES ACROSS
THE PROVINCE DO COLLECT AN
EDUCATION PROPERTY TAX WHICH, IN
TURN, GETS PASSED ON TO THE
SCHOOL BOARDS.
THEY DON'T HAVE ANY CONTROL OVER
THAT.
THE PROVINCE SETS THE TAX
RATE...

Annie says IT'S A PROVINCIAL POT.

Doug says IT'S TRUE
THAT IT DOES.
IT STILL COMES RIGHT OFF THE
PROPERTY TAX.

Steve says GOTCHA.
LET'S MOVE TO THIS ISSUE OF
VACANT SCHOOL SPACE IN SCHOOLS
AROUND THE PROVINCE.
ANNIE, BASED ON YOUR, I WOULD
SAY, VAST KNOWLEDGE OF THE WAY
THINGS ARE OUT THERE, HOW BIG AN
ISSUE IS THIS RIGHT NOW?

Annie says IT'S
DEFINITELY AN ISSUE.
YOU CAN'T PRETEND IT'S NOT AN
ISSUE.
IT'S IMPORTANT TO LOOK AT
PEOPLE'S DEFINITION OF VACANT,
FOR ONE THING.
THERE ARE THINGS WHERE SCHOOL
ROOMS ARE BEING USED FOR THINGS
THAT DON'T NECESSARILY COUNT AS
USED SPACE.
THAT'S ONE OF THE PROBLEMS.
I THINK THERE DEFINITELY WERE
SCHOOLS THAT WERE BUILT FOR A
CERTAIN POPULATION THAT NO
LONGER EXISTS, PARTICULARLY IN
RURAL AND NORTHERN ONTARIO.
BUT WHAT WE HAVE TO DO, I THINK,
IN TERMS OF DEALING WITH THAT
REALITY, IS REALLY LOOK AT HOW
THE WORLD HAS CHANGED, AND THERE
ARE STILL PARTS OF THE FUNDING
FORMULA THAT ACTUALLY ARE THE
SAME AS THEY WERE IN 1998 AND
THAT DON'T RECOGNIZE THAT
CHANGE.
SO I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANYBODY
OUT THERE SAYING, NEVER, EVER
CLOSE A SCHOOL, BECAUSE THAT
WOULDN'T BE SENSIBLE.
IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT TO SORT OF
ACKNOWLEDGE THAT.
BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, I MEAN,
WE DID A REPORT LAST SPRING ON
THE GEOGRAPHIC DIVIDE THAT
REALLY LOOKED AT HOW HARD IT IS
FOR RURAL AND NORTHERN BOARDS TO
PROVIDE ALL OF THE PROGRAMS THAT
PEOPLE ASSUME YOU CAN HAVE IN
THE CITY, MUSIC TEACHER, A
GUIDANCE COUNSELLOR, ACCESS TO
SOCIAL WORKERS.
THERE IS FUNDAMENTAL LOOKING WE
HAVE TO DO.
I THINK FROM EVERYBODY'S
PERSPECTIVE, OTHERWISE YOU KIND
OF ACCELERATE THE PROBLEM.
PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO MOVE TO A
SMALL TOWN BECAUSE THERE'S NO
SCHOOL THERE, THEN THERE ARE
EVEN FEWER PEOPLE.

Steve says VICIOUS CIRCLE.

Annie says I THINK AS A
PROVINCE WE NEED TO RECOGNIZE
HOW IMPORTANT OUR RURAL AREAS
AND THE NORTH ARE AND DO
SOMETHING TO TRY TO BEGIN TO
ENSURE THAT THEY ARE GREAT
PLACES TO LIVE AND IT'S POSSIBLE
TO, YOU KNOW, PROVIDE A REALLY
GREAT EDUCATION IN THOSE SCHOOLS.

Steve says LAURIE FRENCH, LET
ME GO TO YOU.
IN LIMESTONE YOU'VE GOT
OBVIOUSLY BIGGER CITIES LIKE
KINGSTON BUT SMALLER, MORE RURAL
MUNICIPALITIES IN THERE AS WELL.
HOW BIG A PROBLEM FOR YOU ARE
VACANT SCHOOLS?

The caption changes to "Laurie French. Limestone District School Board."

Laurie says IT'S A
CHALLENGE EVERYWHERE IN THE
PROVINCE.
YOU KNOW, CERTAINLY... WE HAVE
TO LOOK IN EVERY POINT IN THE
PROVINCE AND REALLY UNDERSTAND
THE COMPOSITION OF SCHOOLS,
WHAT'S HAPPENING.
THERE'S A LOT OF REFERENCE TO
RURAL AND URBAN, BUT IN FACT, WE
HAVE RURAL, WE HAVE URBAN, AND
WE HAVE REMOTE.
AND THERE'S A VERY DISTINCT
DIFFERENCE.
DIFFERENCE IN THE CHALLENGE.
BUT DIFFERENCE IN THE SOLUTIONS
AS WELL.
AND THAT NEED FOR CREATIVITY,
BOARDS REALLY HAVE TO HAVE THE
FLEXIBILITY TO BE ABLE TO
RESPOND IN THOSE DIFFERENT
SITUATIONS AND BE ABLE TO COME
UP WITH THE CREATIVE SOLUTIONS
TO PROVIDE THE BEST PROGRAMMING
FOR KIDS.

Steve says LET'S DO A FOR
INSTANCE HERE.
THERE'S A SCHOOL IN ONE OF OUR
AREAS THAT'S 30 percent FULL.
SO 70 percent EMPTY.
AND OF COURSE THE PARENTS OF
KIDS WHO GO THERE STILL WANT THE
SCHOOL TO STAY OPEN.
HOW DO YOU SAY TO THEM, LOOK IT,
THIS SCHOOL'S ALMOST
THREE-QUARTERS EMPTY.
WE CAN'T AFFORD TO KEEP IT OPEN ANYMORE.
WHAT'S THE ARGUMENT THAT YOU MAKE?

The caption changes to "Laurie French, @OPSBA."

Laurie says I WOULDN'T
SAY IT'S AN ARGUMENT.
IT'S ABOUT THE REVIEW PROCESS
AND REALLY UNDERSTANDING... I
THINK TRUSTEES ARE CHALLENGED,
IN THAT THEY'RE ELECTED BY THEIR
COMMUNITIES AND THEY'RE
RESPONSIBLE TO THEIR
CONSTITUENTS, THEY ARE LEGALLY
RESPONSIBLE TO THE ENTIRE
DISTRICT.
SO IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT THAT ONE
SCHOOL.
WE REALLY HAVE TO LOOK AT THE
BIG PICTURE.
WE HAVE TO LOOK AT ALL OF OUR
SCHOOLS.
AND IT'S ABOUT MAKING THE
DECISIONS THAT WILL PROVIDE FOR
THE BEST EDUCATION IN EACH OF
THOSE SCHOOLS.
AND SO PART OF THAT INVOLVES,
WHAT IS THE ENROLMENT AT THIS
PARTICULAR SCHOOL AND WHAT IS
THE FACILITY CONDITION, WHAT'S
HAPPENING IN THE AREA AROUND
THEM, AND WHAT ARE THE NEXT
CLOSEST SCHOOLS?
AND SO YOU CAN'T LOOK AT ANY
INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL IN ISOLATION.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: @theagenda, TVO.org, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Podcasts."

Steve says PATRICK DALY, I'LL
GIVE YOU THE FIRST CHANCE TO
RESPOND TO THE FOLLOWING CLIP
WE'RE ABOUT TO PLAY.
THIS IS ONCE AGAIN SUSAN
MacKENZIE FROM THE ONTARIO
ALLIANCE AGAINST SCHOOL
CLOSURES.
WE HEARD FROM HER DURING THE
INTERVIEW WITH THE MINISTER.

A clip plays on screen in which Susan McKenzie reads a statement. She's in her fifties, with short blond hair and glasses.

She reads
FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAVE
ALREADY LOST SCHOOLS UNDER THE
REVISED PUPIL ACCOMMODATION
REVIEW GUIDELINE, WE KNOW
FIRSTHAND THAT THE PROCESS IS
RIGGED.
WE HAVE BEEN BRUSHED OFF, WE'VE
BEEN SCOLDED, INSULTED, AND
IGNORED BY OUR SCHOOL BOARDS
BECAUSE WE EXERCISED OUR
DEMOCRATIC RIGHT TO CHALLENGE
THE DATA.

The caption changes to "Decisions, decisions."

Steve says I GUESS EVER SINCE
TRUMP, THE WORD "RIGGED" IS VERY
HOT THESE DAYS.
OKAY.
THERE'S THE ALLEGATION.
WHAT DO YOU SAY?

The caption changes to "Patrick Daly. Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board."

Patrick says MY OWN
EXPERIENCE, STEVE, IN WHAT I'VE
SEEN IN CATHOLIC SCHOOL BOARDS
THROUGHOUT THE PROVINCE, THEY'RE
CLEARLY LISTENING TO PARENTS,
THEY'RE ENGAGING THEM AND THE
BROADER COMMUNITY EXTENSIVELY
THROUGHOUT THESE DISCUSSIONS AND
LISTENING CAREFULLY TO THE
RECOMMENDATIONS THAT COME
FORWARD.
THAT WOULD NOT BE MY EXPERIENCE.
I'M NOT SURE OF THE SPECIFIC
EXAMPLE THAT SHE IS REFERRING
TO.
IF I CAN JUST ADD TO YOUR
COMMENT... OR QUESTION, IF I
COULD, TO LAURIE?
ABOUT 15 YEARS AGO WHEN OUR
BOARD REALLY TOOK A SERIOUS LOOK
AT EXCESS CAPACITY, I WAS GUIDED
BY AND READ A LETTER THAT THE
NEWLY INSTATED CARDINAL OF NEW
YORK SENT OUT TO THE PASTORS AT
THAT TIME, AND HE ASKED THEM TO
IMAGINE THAT THERE WASN'T A
CHURCH IN THE ENTIRE ARCHDIOCESE
AND FOR THEM TO TELL HIM WHERE
THEY WOULD BUILD THEM TODAY.
AND FOR ME, THAT'S THE GREAT
CHALLENGE THAT WE FACE IN SCHOOL
BOARDS ACROSS THE PROVINCE
BECAUSE ENROLMENT DECLINES,
DEMOGRAPHICS, SMALL FAMILIES,
THAT BOARDS HAVE BEEN
EXPERIENCING THAT THE SCHOOLS IN
MANY CASES ARE NOT WHERE THE
CHILDREN ARE.
IF I CAN USE HAMILTON IN THAT
EXAMPLE.
YOU KNOW IT WELL.
WE'VE BUILT ROUGHLY 17 SCHOOLS
IN THE LAST 15, 20 YEARS OR SO.
WE'VE CLOSED ABOUT THE SAME
AMOUNT.
AND MY UNDERSTANDING IS
PROVINCIALLY IN THE LAST THREE
OR FOUR, ROUGHLY 240 HAVE BEEN
CLOSED AND THE SAME AMOUNT HAVE
BEEN BUILT.
SO I THINK THE REAL CHALLENGE IS
MAKING SURE THAT THE SCHOOLS ARE
IN THE RIGHT LOCATIONS WHERE THE
CHILDREN AND THE FAMILIES LIVE
AND THAT THEY'RE BUILT IN SUCH A
WAY AS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF
CHILDREN IN TODAY'S WORLD.

Steve says DOUG, CAN I GET YOU
TO COMMENT ON THAT ISSUE THAT
THE PROCESS BY WHICH WE CONSIDER
SCHOOL CLOSURES IN THE VIEW OF
THE WOMAN WE JUST HEARD IS
RIGGED?

The caption changes to "Doug Reycraft, @doug_reycraft."

Doug says THE PROCESS
WE HAVE NOW WAS INTRODUCED IN
2015, AND IT'S MUCH DIFFERENT
THAN THE PROCESS THAT EXISTED
BEFORE.
PRIOR TO 2015, WHEN A SCHOOL
BOARD DID AN ACCOMMODATION
REVIEW, THEY LOOKED AT THE VALUE
OF THE SCHOOL TO THE COMMUNITY,
THE VALUE OF THE SCHOOL TO THE
LOCAL ECONOMY, THE VALUE OF THE
SCHOOL TO THE PUPILS, AND THE
VALUE OF THE SCHOOL TO THE
SCHOOL BOARD ITSELF.
THE FIRST TWO OF THOSE CRITERIA
WERE ELIMINATED WITH THE 2015
REVISION TO THE GUIDELINES.

Annie says BY THE PROVINCE.

Steve says BY THE PROVINCE.
THEY DON'T TAKE INTO ACCOUNT NOW...

Doug says THE VALUE OF
THE SCHOOL TO THE COMMUNITY AND
LOCAL ECONOMY IS NO LONGER A
FACTOR THAT SCHOOL BOARDS ARE
REQUIRED TO DO.

Steve says WAS IT A MISTAKE TO
ELIMINATE THOSE CRITERIA?

Doug says ABSOLUTELY.
BECAUSE ALL ACROSS THIS
PROVINCE, THERE ARE
MUNICIPALITIES AND RURAL
COMMUNITIES THAT ARE WORKING
HARD TRYING TO BUILD THEIR LOCAL
ECONOMIES, AND I THINK
PARTICULARLY OF SCHOOLS... OF
COMMUNITIES WHERE THERE IS JUST
A SINGLE SCHOOL.
IF YOU CLOSE THAT SCHOOL, AS
ANNIE SAID A WHILE AGO, NOT ONLY
ARE NEW FAMILIES NOT GOING TO
CHOOSE THAT COMMUNITY TO LOCATE,
FAMILIES ARE LIKELY GOING TO
LEAVE TO GO TO A COMMUNITY THAT
DOES HAVE A SCHOOL.
SO CLOSING A SCHOOL IN A
SINGLE-SCHOOL COMMUNITY HAS AN
ENORMOUS NEGATIVE EFFECT ON THE
LOCAL ECONOMY.
THE P.A.R. DOESN'T ALLOW THE
CONSIDERATION OF THAT AND I
THINK THAT'S REALLY UNFORTUNATE.
ACTUALLY I'M NOT SURE THE P.A.R.
DOESN'T...

Steve says I'VE GOT TO SAY, WE
HATE ACRONYMS HERE.

Doug says THE
ACCOMMODATION REVIEW GUIDELINE
ESTABLISHES A MINIMUM STANDARD
FOR SCHOOL BOARDS TO FOLLOW.
I THINK SCHOOL BOARDS ARE
PROBABLY STILL FREE TO CONSIDER
THOSE TWO FACTORS IF THEY CHOOSE
TO OR CHOSE TO...

Steve says BUT THEY'RE NOT
OBLIGED TO.

Doug says I HAVEN'T
HEARD OF A SINGLE ONE THAT HAS
DONE SO.

The caption changes to "Annie Kidder, @AnnieKidder."

Annie says CAN I
INTERRUPT FOR A SECOND?
I THINK THAT'S TRUE AND THE
GUIDELINES HAVE CHANGED BUT THIS
GOES BACK TO THE ROCK AND A HARD
PLACE FOR SCHOOL BOARDS.
IT'S ONE THING TO SAY I AM GOING
TO CONSIDER THE LOCAL ECONOMY
AND THE LOCAL COMMUNITY, AS
SHOULD WE ALL, BUT BECAUSE
THERE'S NO EXTRA FUNDING THAT
COMES IN TO SAY, FOR SCHOOL
BOARDS TO SAY, WE CONSIDERED THE
LOCAL ECONOMY AND THE COMMUNITY
AND IT MEANS WE MUST KEEP THIS
SCHOOL OPEN, SO PLEASE NOW GIVE
US MORE MONEY BECAUSE WE'VE MADE
OUR CASE.
THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN.
SO I CAN CONSIDER, AS MUCH AS...
YOU KNOW, CORRECT ME IF I'M
WRONG, BUT AS A SCHOOL BOARD,
YOU'RE IN THERE TRYING TO FIGURE
OUT WHAT YOU SHOULD DO, WHAT'S
THE BEST THING TO DO FROM AN
EDUCATIONAL AND A FINANCIAL
PERSPECTIVE, BUT YOU CAN'T...
THERE'S NO VEHICLE BY WHICH YOU
CAN GO BACK TO THE PROVINCE AND
SAY, THIS SCHOOL MUST STAY OPEN
SO YOU'VE GOT TO FIGURE OUT
ANOTHER WAY TO FUND IT.

Doug says ANNIE MAKES
A GOOD POINT.
THAT PUTS THE FOCUS ON THE
FUNDING FORMULA, THAT WITH ALL
DUE RESPECT TO WHAT THE MINISTER
SAID, DOESN'T PROVIDE
FLEXIBILITY TO A SCHOOL BOARD TO
KEEP OPEN A SMALL SCHOOL WITH A
SIGNIFICANT PART OF IT BEING
UNDERUTILIZED, AS IS THE CASE IN
MARKDALE THAT YOU MENTIONED IN
YOUR INTERVIEW.

Steve says IN GREY COUNTY.

Doug says I MEAN,
CHAPMAN'S WOULD LIKE TO EXPAND
THEIR PLANT BY ABOUT 50 percent.
THEY EMPLOY ABOUT 600 PEOPLE.
THEY'D LIKE TO RAMP THAT UP TO
900.
BUT IF THAT SCHOOL CLOSES IN
MARKDALE, CHAPMAN'S ARE NOT
GOING TO GO FORWARD WITH THAT
EXPANSION BECAUSE THEY WON'T BE
ABLE TO ATTRACT THE WORK FORCE
THAT THEY NEED TO CONTINUE TO DO
WHAT THEY'RE DOING.

Patrick says I CAN ASSURE
YOU THE SCHOOL BOARDS ARE TAKING
INTO CONSIDERATION STRONGLY THE
IMPACT ON COMMUNITIES, AND MY
OWN VIEW WOULD BE, THE ECONOMY
IS PART OF THAT CONSIDERATION.
YOU'RE RIGHT IN TERMS OF IT
BEING TAKEN OUT OF THE NEW
REVIEW PROCESS, BUT CLEARLY
SCHOOL BOARDS ARE TAKING IT INTO
CONSIDERATION, DOING WHAT THEY
CAN, ENTERING INTO PARTNERSHIPS
WITH VARIOUS COMMUNITY GROUPS TO
DO EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO KEEP
SCHOOLS OPEN WHERE POSSIBLE.

Steve says IF YOU DON'T HAVE
ANY EXTRA MONEY FROM THE
PROVINCE TO ACTUALLY GIVE EFFECT
TO THAT CONSIDERATION, WHAT'S
THE POINT?

Patrick says AS LAURIE
SAID, THERE NEEDS TO BE A REAL
DISTINCTION MADE BETWEEN REMOTE,
RURAL, AND URBAN.
CLEARLY THERE'S A REAL CHALLENGE
IN WHAT WE CALL REMOTE AREAS AND
SCHOOL COMMUNITIES AND THERE
NEEDS TO BE A REVIEW OF THE
FUNDING FORMULA TO LOOK AT THOSE
SITUATIONS.
OVERALL, THERE'S NO QUESTION
BOARDS ARE DOING WHAT THEY CAN,
BEING VERY CREATIVE IN SOLUTIONS
TO KEEP SCHOOLS OPEN WHERE IT
MAKES SENSE.

Steve says MADAM CHAIR, LET ME
GET BACK TO THE ISSUE OF WHETHER
OR NOT THE REVIEW PROCESS IS,
AGAIN, THE WORD IS SO PEJORATIVE
NOWADAYS, BUT RIGGED.
IT'S ONE THING TO HEAR PARENTS
AND THEIR CONCERNS ABOUT WHAT
THE CLOSURE OF A SCHOOL COULD DO
TO A COMMUNITY; IT'S ANOTHER
THING TO SAY, YES, YOUR OPINION
HAS HAD AN INFLUENCE ON ME AND
WE WILL THEREFORE DO WHAT YOU
SAY.
I THINK THAT'S THE CONCERN I
HEAR FROM PARENTS, IS THAT THEY
SAY, OKAY, YOU'RE LISTENING TO
WHAT WE'RE SAYING, YOU'VE HEARD
WHAT WE'VE SAID, BUT IT'S NOT
HAVING AN INFLUENCE ON YOUR
DECISION AT ALL.
IS THAT A FAIR CRITICISM?

Laurie says NO, IT'S NOT.
MY EXPERIENCE AS A TRUSTEE, 16
YEARS, THROUGH VARIOUS
ACCOMMODATION REVIEW PROCESSES.
YES, THERE ARE TIMES WHERE IT'S
VERY DIFFICULT TO INCORPORATE
THE FEEDBACK AND THE ADVICE FROM
OUR FAMILIES, BUT I'VE BEEN A
PART OF ACCOMMODATION REVIEW
PROCESSES WHERE IN FACT THE
OUTCOME HAS CHANGED AND SCHOOLS
HAVE STAYED OPEN...

Steve says BECAUSE OF PARENTAL
PRESSURE?

Laurie says ABSOLUTELY.
AND THAT'S REALLY WHERE... I'M A
BIT CONCERNED WHEN I HEAR THAT
THE PROCESS IS RIGGED.
THAT'S NOT IN FACT THE CASE.
IT IS ABOUT UTILIZING AND
WORKING WITHIN... IT'S A VERY,
VERY RESTRICTIVE PROCESS, IT'S
VERY COMPLEX.
WE'RE RECEIVING DATA THAT
CHANGES DAILY.
SO IT'S IMPOSSIBLE, YOU KNOW, TO
USE THOSE PROJECTIONS.
ARE THEY A CRYSTAL BALL TO KNOW
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE FUTURE
AND WHERE OUR PUPILS ARE COMING
FROM?
NO, THEY'RE NOT A CRYSTAL BALL.
BUT THOSE ARE ABSOLUTELY THE
TRENDS AND THE PATTERNS THAT
HAVE COME TO PASS AS A RESULT OF
THE DATA.

Doug says THERE'S
ANOTHER REASON WHY COMMUNITIES
ARE FEELING THAT THIS WHOLE
PROCESS IS RIGGED.
WE HAVEN'T MENTIONED IT YET.
BUT THERE'S BEEN A HUGE CHANGE
IN THE TIME LINES OF THE REVIEW
GUIDELINE.
THE OLD GUIDELINE REQUIRED A
MINIMUM OF FOUR PUBLIC
MEETINGS...

Steve says NOW IT'S TWO.

Doug says NOW IT'S
DOWN TO TWO.
THE NUMBER OF TIME BETWEEN
MEETINGS, IMPORTANT MEETINGS,
WAS ALSO REDUCED.
SO THE PROCESS HAS REALLY BEEN
STREAMLINED SIGNIFICANTLY, AND
IT'S REALLY DIFFICULT NOT TO GET
A SENSE THAT THE REASON FOR
DOING ALL THIS IS TO MAKE IT
EASIER FOR SCHOOL BOARDS TO
CLOSE SCHOOLS AND TO ALLOW THEM
TO DO IT FASTER.

Steve says ANNIE?

Annie says WHICH MAY BE
PARTLY TRUE AND I THINK "RIGGED."
IS TOO LOADED TOO.
IT PARTLY HAS TO DO WITH THE
EXPECTATIONS YOU HAVE OF THE
ACCOMMODATION REVIEW PROCESS
THAT SOMEHOW, IF YOU SPEAK VERY,
VERY, VERY, VERY LOUDLY OR
YOU'VE COLLECTED AN ENORMOUS
AMOUNT OF DATA AND PEOPLE PUT
HOURS AND HOURS AND WEEKS OF
WORK INTO THAT, THAT YOU WILL,
YOU KNOW, CHANGE THE OUTCOME.
AND OUR EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN NOT
THAT MANY HAVE CHANGED BUT THEY
HAVE DEFINITELY CHANGED
SOMETIMES.
BUT I THINK THAT PEOPLE
SOMETIMES ON THE COMMITTEES OR
PARENTS OUTSIDE IN THE COMMUNITY
HAVE AN INCORRECT EXPECTATION
THAT WHAT THEY SAY WILL GO.
AND NOW PART OF THE PROCESS
WHICH HAS CHANGED, WHICH IS
SENSIBLE, IS THE BOARDS HAVE TO
ACTUALLY MAKE CLEAR AT THE
BEGINNING OF THE PROCESS WHAT
THEIR RECOMMENDATION IS SO THAT
THEY'RE ACTUALLY WORKING FROM A
KNOWN... AND THERE USED TO BE
THIS IDEA THAT BOARDS KNEW ALL
ALONG AND WE WENT THROUGH THIS
PROCESS.
NOW THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN.
I THINK THE OTHER THING IN THIS
WHICH IS A LITTLE BIT
FRUSTRATING, DOUG AND I BOTH
CITY ON THE PREMIER'S ADVISORY
COMMITTEE OF COMMUNITY HUBS.
THERE IS A PROBLEM HERE THAT
THERE IS SOME EFFORT IN ONTARIO
TO MAKE US WORK MORE EFFECTIVELY
IN A MORE INTEGRATED WAY ACROSS
SYSTEMS SO MUNICIPALITIES WORK
BETTER WITH BOARDS SO THAT, YOU
KNOW, LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT UP
AND DOWN AND SIDEWAYS ALL WORK
TOGETHER BETTER, SO THAT WHEN
WE'RE THINKING ABOUT OUR KIND OF
PUBLIC ASSETS, HEALTH,
EDUCATION, THOSE THINGS, THAT
WE'RE BETTER AT SHARING
FACILITIES, AT WORKING TOGETHER,
AND THERE ARE... LIKE, HAMILTON,
SHINING EXAMPLE.
LOTS OF GREAT... THERE ARE
REALLY GREAT EXAMPLES AROUND THE
PROVINCE OF THIS HAPPENING BUT
THEY'RE NOT INSTITUTIONALIZED.
A LOT OF TIMES THEY DEPEND ON
KIND OF LOCAL HEROES TO DO IT.

Steve says HIT AND MISS.

Annie says DEFINITELY
HIT AND MISS BECAUSE IT'S NOT
BUILT INTO OUR STRUCTURE.
I THINK THAT'S ONE OF THE
PROBLEMS TOO THAT WE HAVE TO
LOOK AT IN ORDER NOT TO JUST
SAY, WELL, TOO BAD FOR YOUR
SMALL TOWN.
YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH PEOPLE.
WE HAVE TO CLOSE THE SCHOOL.

Steve says LET ME PICK UP ON
ONE THING YOU SAID, COMMUNITY HUBS.
THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO SEE THESE
COMMUNITY HUBS AS THE SALVATION
TO KEEPING THEIR SCHOOLS OPEN.
TELL US, FIRST OF ALL, FOR THOSE
WHO DON'T KNOW, WHAT A COMMUNITY
HUB AND WHETHER IT'S AN OPTION?

The caption changes to "Creating community hubs."

Laurie says COMMUNITY
HUBS ARE A GREAT OPPORTUNITY.
AT THE SAME TIME, THEY ARE PART
OF THE SYSTEM, THEY'RE ABOUT
PARTNERSHIPS AND
INTER-MINISTERIAL WORK TOGETHER.
THEY'RE SOMETIMES CONFUSED AS A
SOLUTION TO KEEP THE SCHOOL OPEN?

Steve says WHAT ARE THEY?

Laurie says THEY'RE A
PARTNERSHIP OF COMMUNITY
SERVICES THAT CAN BE CO-LOCATED
AND IT'S NOT JUST CO-LOCATION,
IT'S ABOUT INTEGRATION OF
SERVICES.
SO SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE FOR
FAMILIES AND FOLKS IN A
COMMUNITY.
WHERE THAT GETS DICEY OR
CHALLENGING SOMETIMES IS THAT IF
THERE'S SPACE IN A SCHOOL, LET'S
BRING IN A BUNCH OF RENTAL
PARTNERS, AND THAT'S NOT GOING
TO SAVE A SCHOOL.
AT THE END OF THE DAY, THE
PROGRAMMING HAS TO BE VIABLE FOR
THE STUDENTS FIRST.
COMMUNITY HUBS ARE NOT JUST
ABOUT EDUCATION AS WELL.
COMMUNITY HUBS MAY IN FACT NOT
EVEN INVOLVE A SCHOOL IN SOME
COMMUNITIES.
IT MAY BE JUST A COLLECTION OF
SYSTEM PARTNERS.
THERE ARE SO MANY POLICY ISSUES
THAT ARE RELATED TO HOW TO MAKE
A COMMUNITY HUB SUCCESSFUL:
FUNDING CYCLES, CAPITAL
PLANNING.
ALL OF THOSE PIECES THAT HAVE TO
COME TOGETHER.
SO A COMMUNITY HUB WILL LOOK
DIFFERENT IN EVERY SETTING.
THERE'S SOME WONDERFUL EXAMPLES.
THE POINT IS, WE HAVE TO BE
CLEAR THAT THEY ARE NOT THE
SOLUTION TO KEEPING A SCHOOL
OPEN THAT IS IN FACT LOOKING AT
NUMBERS THAT ARE TOO LOW.

Annie says SORRY.
NOW EVERYBODY WANTS TO...

Steve says SORRY.
PATRICK, THEN ANNIE.

Patrick says IF I CAN ADD
ONE QUICK THING TO WHAT LAURIE
SAID AND I AGREE WITH WHAT SHE
SAID.
ONE OTHER CHALLENGE IS CAPITAL
FUNDING.
YOU CAN HAVE A NUMBER OF PUBLIC
ORGANIZATIONS AND INSTITUTIONS
INTERESTING IN LEASING LONG-TERM
PART OF A SCHOOL BUILDING THAT
COULD WORK WELL BUT THEY DON'T
HAVE THE CAPITAL FUNDS TO MAKE
THE NECESSARY RENOVATIONS.
I THINK THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS
WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO LOOK AT.

Doug says ALTHOUGH THE
PROVINCE, TO THEIR CREDIT, HAS
MADE SOME CAPITAL FUNDING
AVAILABLE TO COMMUNITIES WHO
WANT TO DO THAT.
I THINK IT'S 50 MILLION dollars IN THE
CURRENT YEAR'S BUDGET.
AND THERE WAS A BIG ANNOUNCEMENT
JUST A LITTLE WHILE AGO HERE IN
TORONTO WHERE A SCHOOL HAS BEEN
CLOSED AND THEY ARE NOW GOING TO
BUILD A NEW SCHOOL THERE AND
BUILD A NEW COMMUNITY FACILITY
THAT WILL BE ATTACHED TO IT...

Laurie says BECAUSE WE
MIGHT HOST A PARTNER IN A
BUILDING, AND EVEN IF THEY PAY
RENT AND YOU HAVE A LEASE AND
INCOME IN THAT REGARD, IT
DOESN'T MAINTAIN THE BUILDING
PER SE.
IT DOESN'T NECESSARILY PROVIDE
FOR THE COSTS OF OPERATING THAT
SPACE.
BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, IT
MAY NOT ALSO MAKE ANY DENT IN
THE CHALLENGE AROUND PROVIDING
FOR VIABLE PROGRAMMING FOR THE
KIDS.
SO IF YOUR NUMBERS ARE LOW
ENOUGH, EVEN HOSTING THOSE
PARTNERS IS UNFORTUNATELY NOT
THE ANSWER.

Annie says I TOTALLY AGREE.
IT'S NOT THE THING THAT'S GOING
TO SAVE ALL SCHOOLS FROM
CLOSING.
I JUST WANT TO ADDRESS THE
VIABLE PIECE IN THIS WHICH IS
THE THING THAT DOES GET BROUGHT
UP.
IT'S LIKE, WELL, THE PROGRAMMING
WON'T BE GOOD ENOUGH IN THIS
SMALLER SCHOOL OR A SCHOOL WITH
LOWER ENROLMENT AND IT IS VERY
DIFFICULT RIGHT NOW FOR BOARDS
TO PROVIDE ALL OF... YOU KNOW, A
BREADTH OF CHOICE IN SECONDARY
SCHOOL OR THOSE THINGS LIKE
MUSIC TEACHERS AND GUIDANCE
COUNSELLORS, PHYS. ED. TEACHERS,
TO SMALLER SCHOOLS.
IT'S BECAUSE OF THE WAY THE
FUNDING WORKS, NOT BECAUSE IT'S
IMPOSSIBLE TO PROVIDE A VIABLE
EDUCATION IN A SMALLER SCHOOL.
THAT'S WHY WE HAVE TO LOOK AT
THAT PART.
WE CAN'T JUST ASSUME THAT,
SORRY, SCHOOL'S TOO SMALL.
CAN'T PROVIDE A VIABLE
EDUCATION.
WE HAVE TO ACTUALLY ADDRESS THAT
BECAUSE OF ALL OF THE OTHER
IMPACTS OF THE WAY THAT THE
FUNDING WORKS.
IT'S NOT... BOARDS AREN'T
INCORRECT WHEN THEY SAY THAT.
THEY ARE CORRECT.
AND IT IS REALLY HARD TO PROVIDE
THAT.
BUT THAT'S WHY THERE'S SOME CORE
ISSUES WE HAVE TO LOOK AT IN
TERMS OF THE REALITY OF WHERE
PEOPLE LIVE, AS YOU BOTH SAID,
AND WHERE WE HAVE SCHOOLS.

Doug says AROUND
LAURIE'S COMMENT ABOUT HUBS NOT
SAVING SCHOOLS.
SURE, THEY'RE NOT GOING TO SAVE
THEM ALL.
BUT IF THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND
A RECOMMENDED CLOSURE IS SURPLUS
SPACE, AND IF THAT SPACE CAN BE
USED FOR THE DELIVERY OF OTHER
PUBLIC SERVICES, EITHER BY THE
MUNICIPALITIES OR BY OTHER
AGENCIES, THEN THAT ARGUMENT
ABOUT SURPLUS SPACE BEING THE
REASON FOR CLOSING THE SCHOOL
CAN BE ELIMINATED OR AT LEAST
REDUCED TO A CONSIDERABLE EXTENT.

Steve says CAN WE DO AN EXAMPLE
OF THAT?

Doug says IT COULD SAVE SOME.

Steve says YOU'RE FROM
SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO.
DO YOU HAVE AN EXAMPLE IN YOUR
COMMUNITY OF WHERE A FORMER
SCHOOL IS NOW SUCCESSFULLY USED
AS A COMMUNITY HUB?

Doug says THERE ARE
SCHOOLS THAT HAVE BECOME
COMMUNITY HUBS BUT NOT UNTIL
AFTER THE SCHOOL HAS BEEN
CLOSED.
I'M HARD-PRESSED TO FIND AN
EXAMPLE WHERE PART OF A SCHOOL
HAS BEEN CONVERTED INTO A
COMMUNITY HUB.
AND I THINK THAT'S ONE OF THE
PROBLEMS WITH THE SYSTEM WE'VE
GOT RIGHT NOW.
SCHOOLS DON'T BECOME COMMUNITY
HUBS UNTIL AFTER THEY'VE BEEN
CLOSED.
THE IDEAL WOULD BE TO HAVE PARTS
OF THOSE SCHOOLS MADE AVAILABLE
FOR OTHER PUBLIC SERVICES WHILE
THE SCHOOL IS STILL OPEN.
SURE, IF ENROLMENT HAS DROPPED
SO LOW THAT A VIABLE EDUCATION
PROGRAM CAN NO LONGER BE
PROVIDED... BUT PARENTS IN THE
COMMUNITY WILL TELL YOU THAT.

Steve says LET ME PUT THE CAN
OF WORMS ON THE TABLE THAT I
OPENED WITH THE MINISTER OF
EDUCATION AND I WANT YOU ALL TO
COMMENT ON HERE.
YOU'RE GOING TO LOVE THIS.
ARE YOU READY?

Laurie says OKAY.

Steve says OVER THE WEEKEND ON
TWITTER, I GOT LOTS OF PEOPLE
COMING TO ME SAYING: IF ONLY WE
WENT TO A UNIFIED SCHOOL SYSTEM
AND WE DIDN'T HAVE A PUBLICLY
FUNDED SCHOOL SYSTEM, A PUBLICLY
FUNDED CATHOLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM, A
PUBLICLY FUNDED FRENCH SCHOOL
SYSTEM, IF WE COULD GET IT UNDER
A UNIFIED SCHOOL SYSTEM, WE'D
SAVE A LOT OF MONEY ON
ADMINISTRATION, DUPLICATION,
TRANSPORTATION, RESOURCES,
SERVICES, ET CETERA, AND WE'D
HAVE THE MONEY AVAILABLE BECAUSE
OF THE TENS IF NOT HUNDREDS OF
MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN SAVINGS
TO KEEP ALL THESE VULNERABLE
SCHOOLS OPEN.
TRUE OR FALSE?

The caption changes to "Breaking down silos."

Laurie says WELL, I
WOULD SAY THAT, WHILE THIS MIGHT
BE A CHALLENGE AROUND US, THIS
IS WHERE IT GETS BACK TO THE
FUNDING MODEL.
IS WE HAVE TO HAVE THE
ABILITY... WE HAVE A NUMBER OF
EXAMPLES ALREADY IN THE PROVINCE
WHERE WE HAVE PARTNERSHIPS
HAPPENING TOGETHER.
WE HAVE...

Steve says BETWEEN PUBLIC AND
CATHOLIC?

Laurie says ABSOLUTELY.
TRANSPORTATION CONSORTIA, WE
HAVE CO-LOCATION OF SCHOOLS.
I WAS ABLE TO VISIT THE NORTH
THIS FALL, NORTHEASTERN ONTARIO,
AND THREE DIFFERENT SCHOOLS IN
ONE BUILDING IN KAPUSKASING,
OUTSTANDING PARTNERSHIP TO BE
ABLE TO UTILIZE THE SPACE IN A
WAY THAT SUPPORTS ACHIEVING ON
THE CURRICULUM PIECE.
I THINK THIS IS WHERE, WHEN WE
CONSIDER WHAT THE MINISTER SAID
EARLIER ABOUT THE FUNDING MODEL
AND SOME OF THE CHANGES THAT
HAVE OCCURRED IN THAT REMOTE AND
RURAL TOP-UP FUNDING THAT'S GONE
AWAY, WE HAVE TO GET BACK TO AND
WHAT WE'VE ADVOCATED FOR IN THE
GRANTS FOR STUDENT NEED
CONSULTATION THIS YEAR, IS WE
NEED LOCAL PRIORITY FUNDING.
WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO LOOK AT
EACH INDIVIDUAL COMMUNITY AND
SEE WHAT THE NEEDS ARE AND BE
ABLE TO ADDRESS THOSE ISSUES
INDIVIDUALLY.

Steve says LET ME FOLLOW UP
WITH PATRICK.
YOU'RE GOING TO LOVE THIS
QUESTION, PATRICK.

Patrick says I'M SURE.

Steve says HOW MUCH
ADMINISTRATION COULD WE
ELIMINATE IF WE JUST DECIDED TO
PUT THE ENTIRE PUBLIC SCHOOL
SYSTEM OF ONTARIO UNDER ONE
UNIFIED SCHOOL SYSTEM.
NO MORE CATHOLIC, NO MORE FRENCH?

Patrick says A MINIMAL AMOUNT.
TO ME, STEVE, EXPERIENCE IS THE
BEST EXAMPLE.
LOOK AT THE EXAMPLE OF THE
MUNICIPAL AND SCHOOL BOARD
AMALGAMATION IN ONTARIO IN THE
LAST 25 YEARS.
IF ANYONE CAN CITE EXAMPLES OF
SAVINGS, I'D BE VERY INTERESTED
IN SEEING THEM BECAUSE THEY
HAVEN'T HAPPENED.
SAME IN OTHER PROVINCES WHERE
THEY'VE TAKEN THESE STEPS.
THE SAVINGS HAVE NOT
MATERIALIZED.
ONE THING I WOULD ECHO BOTH WHAT
LAURIE SAID AND WHAT THE
MINISTER SAID.
WE HAVE ONE OF THE BEST PUBLICLY
FUNDED SCHOOL SYSTEMS IN THE
WORLD IN ONTARIO, AND THE FOUR
SYSTEMS ARE UNIQUE AND MAKE A
SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION TO THE
FABRIC OF OUR SOCIETY.
AS LAURIE SAID AS WELL, WE'RE
COOPERATING IN ALL KINDS OF WAYS.
IN TRANSPORTATION, TENDERING,
TECHNOLOGY.
SO WE'RE DOING OUR PART TO
ENSURE THAT THE TAXPAYERS'
DOLLARS ARE SPENT AS BEST AS POSSIBLE.

Steve says WHEN YOU SAY FOUR
SCHOOL SYSTEMS, YOU MEAN ENGLISH
PUBLIC, FRENCH PUBLIC, ENGLISH
CATHOLIC, FRENCH CATHOLIC.

Patrick says YES I DO.

Steve says PUTTING THEM UNDER
ONE MANAGEMENT AS OPPOSED TO
FOUR SEPARATE YOU DON'T THINK
WOULD SAVE A DIME?

Patrick says I'M NOT GOING
TO GET INTO WHETHER IT WOULD
SAVE A DIME OR NOT.
CLEARLY IT'S BEEN PART OF THE
FABRIC OF OUR SOCIETY FOR OVER
150 YEARS, IT'S WORKED WELL, AND
CLEARLY WE SHOULD BUILD UPON IT
RATHER THAN LOOK TO DIMINISH IT.

Steve says DOUG REYCRAFT, IT
WAS ACTUALLY THE GOVERNMENT YOU
WERE A PART OF 30 YEARS AGO, THE
DAVID PETERSON GOVERNMENT, IN
THE MID 1980s, THAT EXTENDED
FULL PUBLIC FUNDING TO THE
SEPARATE SCHOOL SYSTEM.

Doug says THAT'S RIGHT.
BUT JUST TO BE CLEAR, THE
CATHOLIC SYSTEM WAS ALREADY
FULLY FUNDED TO GRADE 10.

Steve says YOU GUYS ADDED 11,
12, AND 13?

Doug says BILL DAVIS
MADE THE ANNOUNCEMENT.
ACTUALLY I WAS THE PARLIAMENTARY
ASSISTANT TO THE MINISTER AND I
CARRIED BILL 30 THROUGH THE
COMMITTEE AND INTO THE
LEGISLATURE.

Steve says THAT WAS THE BILL
THAT EXTENDED THE FULL FUNDING.

Doug says THAT'S RIGHT.

Steve says AGAIN, SPEAKING TO
THE FOLKS WHO GOT IN TOUCH WITH
ME OVER THE WEEKEND ON TWITTER,
COULD YOU SAVE SCHOOLS TODAY IF
YOU WENT TO A UNIFIED SCHOOL
BOARD SYSTEM AND PRESUMABLY
SAVED SOME MONEY DOING SO?

Doug says WELL, I
THINK THE EXTENSION OF FUNDING
THAT HAPPENED IN '85 HAS HAD A
NEGATIVE EFFECT IN RURAL ONTARIO
WITH RESPECT TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
THERE ARE A NUMBER OF CATHOLIC
STUDENTS, A NUMBER OF
STUDENTS... THEY DON'T HAVE TO
BE CATHOLIC TO ATTEND A CATHOLIC
SECONDARY SCHOOL.
THERE ARE A NUMBER OF STUDENTS
WHO MIGHT HAVE ATTENDED PUBLIC
SECONDARY SCHOOLS WHO ARE NOW
INSTEAD ATTENDING CATHOLIC
SECONDARY SCHOOLS.
THAT'S RESULTED IN AN ENROLMENT
DECLINE IN THE PUBLIC SECONDARY
SCHOOL THAT MAY INDEED THREATEN
ITS CONTINUED EXISTENCE, MAY
FORCE THAT SCHOOL TO GO THROUGH
A REVIEW FOR A CLOSURE.
IT CERTAINLY HAS HAD AN EFFECT.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: @theagenda, TVO.org, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Podcasts."

Steve says ANNIE, DO YOU WANT
TO WEIGH IN ON THIS?

Annie says SURE.
I THINK THE MISCONCEPTION IS,
AND IT'S WHAT PAT SAID, THAT...
I'M OLD AND HAVE BEEN DOING THIS
SO LONG, I WENT THROUGH THE
AMALGAMATIONS, AND THEY DIDN'T
SAVE ANY MONEY.
THE IDEA THAT THERE'S A SECRET
POT OF MONEY SOMEWHERE THAT BY
AMALGAMATING THINGS, YOU SAVE, I
DON'T THINK IS CORRECT.
ON THE OTHER HAND, TO DOUG'S
POINT, AND IT IS ALREADY
BEGINNING TO HAPPEN, HAPPENING
IN PLACES, AND IT COULD HAPPEN
MORE, THAT AS OPPOSED TO SORT OF
PITTING SYSTEMS AGAINST EACH
OTHER OR IN A SMALL COMMUNITY
FEELING LIKE YOU'RE IN
COMPETITION FOR STUDENTS, TRYING
TO FIND WAYS TO SUPPORT WORKING
TOGETHER MORE SO THAT IT'S
EASIER TO DO IT, SO THAT IT'S...
AGAIN, IT DOESN'T TAKE LOCAL
HEROES TO DO THAT WORK TOGETHER,
OR MORE SHARING OF KIND OF THE
BACK END EXPENSES, THEN WE'RE
NOT... YOU KNOW, WE'RE ABLE TO
CONTINUE IN THE WAY WE'RE
CONTINUING.
YOU KNOW, I AGREE WITH YOU.
MAYBE YOU CAN SAVE A DIME.
BUT YOU CAN'T SAVE HUNDREDS OF
THOUSANDS AND CERTAINLY NOT
MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, I DON'T
THINK.
AND WHAT WE HAVE TO LOOK AT IS
HOW DO WE MAKE IT WORK BETTER
AND HOW, ESPECIALLY, SO IT'S NOT
JUST SYSTEMS WORKING TOGETHER,
BUT THEN ALL THE OTHER PARTS OF
GOVERNMENT WORKING TOGETHER SO
THAT WE ALL SEE THIS AS SERVICES
FOR FAMILIES AND KIDS THAT ARE
EDUCATION, THAT ARE HEALTH,
MENTAL HEALTH, WHATEVER THEY
ARE, AND WE GET BETTER AT
INTEGRATING, AS LAURIE SAID, NOT
JUST GOING... HOW DO WE SHARE
THE RENT FOR THE SPACE, BUT HOW
ARE WE ACTUALLY LOOKING AT
SERVICES.

Doug says ANNIE MADE
THE POINT ABOUT MORE
COLLABORATION BETWEEN PUBLIC AND
CATHOLIC SYSTEMS IS DOABLE.

Annie says AND FRENCH.

Doug says IN
STRATHROY, IN MIDDLESEX COUNTY,
WE HAVE A SCHOOL THAT IS BOTH A
CATHOLIC SCHOOL AND A PUBLIC
SCHOOL IN THE SAME BUILDING.

Annie says FRENCH AND ENGLISH.

Doug says BRANTFORD WE
HAVE THE SAME IN AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.

Steve says DOES IT WORK WELL?

Doug says IT DOES.

Laurie says THE MINISTER
WAS CLEAR.
SHE'S NOT GOING TO CHANGE THAT
POLICY PIECE FOR US.
IT'S US GETTING BACK TO LOOKING
AT THE ENROLMENT AND WHAT'S
HAPPENING AND THE PROGRAMMING
THAT WE'RE OFFERING IN THE
SCHOOL.
YOU KNOW, THE NEED FOR
ACCOMMODATION REVIEW IS NOT
WHAT'S UNDER DISPUTE, IT'S ABOUT
HOW DO WE DO IT IN A WAY THAT
PROVIDES THE BEST OPPORTUNITY
FOR OUR KIDS IN THE COMMUNITIES
THAT WE HAVE AND WORKING WITH
OUR COMMUNITIES TO GET A GOOD
OUTCOME.

Steve says CHAIRMAN DALY?

The caption changes to "Patrick Daly, @CatholicEdu."

Patrick says I WOULD REFER
DOUG TO BOB NIXON'S COMMENTS IN
JUNE 1984, VERY ELOQUENT IN
FAVOUR OF THE HISTORIC
ANNOUNCEMENT.
THAT'S ONE THING.

Steve says HE SAID IT BUT HE
DIDN'T BELIEVE IT.

Patrick says HE BELIEVED
IT FULLY.

Steve says NOT ANYMORE.

Patrick says I'M SURE HE
DOES IN HIS HEART.
THE OTHER THING I WOULD SAY IS
THAT THESE KINDS OF DISCUSSIONS
AND CREATIVE SOLUTIONS ARE
HAPPENING ALL OVER THE PROVINCE
AND ARE BEST LEFT AT THE LOCAL LEVEL.

Steve says CAN I PUT THE ISSUE
OF... WE'RE DOWN TO THE LAST 5
MINUTES AND I WANT TO PUT A
COUPLE MORE THINGS ON THE TABLE.
MANY PARENTS GROUPS HAVE SOUGHT
A MORATORIUM ON SCHOOL CLOSURES
UNTIL, I GUESS, (a) THEY THINK
THERE'S A FAIRER PROCESS IN
PLACE AND (b) THEY'RE SURE
THEIR VOICES ARE HEARD AND THEY
HAVE AN INFLUENCE ON THE
PROCESS.
WOULD YOU WEIGH IN ON WHETHER
MORATORIUMS MAKE SENSE AT THIS JUNCTURE?

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda."

Annie says YOU CAN'T DO
IT UNLESS YOU'RE CHANGING
FUNDING AT THE SAME TIME.
BOARDS ARE STUCK.
I WANT TO ARGUE WITH IT'S BEST
LEFT TO THE LOCAL LEVEL TOO.
I DO THINK THERE ARE
PROVINCIAL... THERE'S SOME
PROVINCIAL MANAGING OR SOME ON
HIGH STUFF, WE HAVE TO HAVE THE
LOCAL GOING UP, BUT WE HAVE TO
HAVE A LITTLE BETTER POLICY AT
THE PROVINCIAL LEVEL THAT WILL
HELP THINGS HAPPEN...

The caption changes to "Facing the future."

Steve says WHAT DOES THAT MEAN,
BETTER POLICIES?

Annie says THERE'S A LOT
OF MUSTS ABOUT SCHOOL BOARDS.
SCHOOL BOARDS MUST WORK WITH...
YEAH, MUNICIPALITIES.
THAT MUST DOESN'T WORK THE OTHER
WAY AROUND.
NO MUST FOR MUNICIPALITIES ABOUT
WORKING FOR SCHOOL BOARDS NOR
PUBLIC HEALTH.
WE NEED TO CHANGE SOME OF THOSE
THINGS.
BUT JUST SAYING STOP CLOSING ALL
SCHOOLS, IF THERE WAS STOP
CLOSING ALL SCHOOLS AND PUT IN
QUITE A FEW MILLION DOLLARS SO
THAT BOARDS ARE ABLE TO KEEP
THEM OPEN IN THE MEANTIME, MAYBE
THAT WOULD HELP.
BUT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN CALLING FOR
A MORATORIUM ON SCHOOL CLOSINGS
ALSO FOR AS LONG AS I'VE BEEN
DOING THIS, AND THE PROBLEM IS
THAT YOU HAVE TO ACTUALLY MAKE
SOME REAL CHANGES TO POLICY.
I'M SORRY TO BE A BROKEN RECORD.
WE DO HAVE TO LOOK AT ESSENTIAL
PARTS OF THE FUNDING FORMULA
BECAUSE IT IS BASED ON NUMBERS
OF STUDENTS, AND WE HAVE TO, I
THINK TO YOUR POINT, WHEN WE
CUT... THERE WAS A BIG CUT THAT
HAPPENED IN THE LAST 2 OR 3
YEARS, AND IT IS TO TOP UP
FUNDING, TO DECLINING ENROLMENT.
SO BOARDS ARE DEALING WITH A CUT
TO FUNDING AND THEY'RE REALLY
STRUGGLING WITH THAT.
SO TO JUST SAY STOP CLOSING
SCHOOLS AS IF SOME MAGIC THING
WILL HAPPEN, BOARDS CAN'T RUN DEFICITS.

Steve says I HAVE A MINUTE LEFT
AND I WANT TO GIVE IT TO YOU TO
TALK ABOUT THE FOLLOWING.
THIS IS JUST SO NOT AN ACADEMIC
DISCUSSION DESPITE THE FACT
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT EDUCATION HERE.
THIS IS AN ABSOLUTELY
HEARTBREAKING PROCESS FOR MANY
PEOPLE WHO HAVE SUCH AN
EMOTIONAL CONNECTION TO THAT
SCHOOL IN THEIR NEIGHBOURHOOD.
HOW DO YOU SPEAK TO THAT PIECE OF IT?

Laurie says ALL I CAN
SAY IS THAT WE KNOW EXACTLY HOW
EMOTIONAL THIS IS.
WE LOVE OUR COMMUNITY SCHOOLS.
MOST OF US GRADUATED FROM THOSE
SCHOOLS.
OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN
ATTEND THOSE SCHOOLS.
WE UNDERSTAND THAT COMPLETELY.
NOTHING IS MORE PASSIONATE AND
BRINGS OUT A COMMUNITY LIKE
DISCUSSING AND REVIEWING A
SCHOOL FOR WHAT'S GOING TO
HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE.
SO I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND THAT.
THE POINT IS, WORK WITH US.
CONTINUE TO DIALOGUE IN THE
PROCESS.
I WOULD ABSOLUTELY, YOU KNOW,
DISAGREE THAT WE'RE NOT
CONSIDERING THE COMMUNITY AND
ALL OF THOSE NEEDS.
IT'S VERY COMPLICATED.
WE'RE LISTENING TO ALL OF THAT.
WORK WITH US AND BE A PART OF
THE SOLUTION.

Steve says BUT THE REALITY IS,
AT THE END OF THE DAY, SOMETIMES
YOU'VE GOT TO DELIVER SAD NEWS.

Laurie says SOMETIMES A
SCHOOL MAY NEED TO CLOSE AND
THEN WE HAVE TO REALLY UTILIZE
OUR SCHOOL PARTNERS AND OUR
PARENTS IN THE COMMUNITY TO COME
TOGETHER WITH THE NEXT BEST
SOLUTION, THE NEXT BEST SOLUTION.

The caption changes to "Producer: Katie O'Connor, @KA_OConnor."

Steve says THAT'S OUR TIME,
EVERYBODY.
THAT'S LAURIE FRENCH WHO IS THE
PRESIDENT OF THE ONTARIO PUBLIC
SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION.
THERE'S PATRICK DALY, WHO IS THE
PRESIDENT OF THE ONTARIO
CATHOLIC SCHOOL TRUSTEES
ASSOCIATION.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TABLE,
ANNIE KIDDER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
AND FOUNDER OF PEOPLE FOR
EDUCATION, DOUG REYCRAFT THE
CHAIR OF COMMUNITY SCHOOLS
ALLIANCE AND A ONE-TIME LIBERAL
M.P.P. BACK IN THE DAY.
THANKS SO MUCH, EVERYBODY.

Watch: An Education for All