Ontario announces new rural education strategy
There will be more money for rural and northern schools and a new school closing process.
The new plan for rural and northern education includes $20 million in additional funding to be allocated in the fall of 2017 to school boards with a high number of students who live in rural areas (see the board-by-board list). The funding – which ranges from $0 to $1.4 million per board, is intended to cover the costs of:
- “Improving programming and support services in rural schools (e.g., French
immersion, arts education and guidance counselling);
- Continuing the operation of rural schools; or
- Enhancing student transportation options such as late bus runs and mobile e-learning
through tablets or Wi-Fi.”
The province also announced that boards must postpone all upcoming school closing reviews while the province reviews current school closing guidelines. The Ministry intends to consult with “key stakeholders” in the fall of 2017 to develop a revised process. Decisions on school closings that have already been voted on, will not fall within the moratorium or the revised guidelines.
There will also be small funding incentives to encourage school boards to develop joint-use of buildings (e.g. two school boards sharing one building).