Evaluating school closures through a rural lens
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Rural school closures are a perennial policy challenge for many communities across Canada. Against a backdrop of fiscal prudence and decliningenrolments, school boards are increasingly closing and consolidating rural schools in an effort to balance the fiscal books. This is an alarming trend given the inherent role of schools to the vitality or rural communities, and because these decisions are being rendered in the absence of evidence-based research on both the acute and long-term implications of these decisions. In this article, the authors draw upon the Southwestern Ontario experience to present a discussion on this highly-charged issue through a distinctly rural planning lens; a perspective that is unique to a topic that otherwise has a significant dearth of associated research. It is argued that greater support for rural school is urgently required through more context-appropriate policy that is both people- and place-based. This includes greater flexibility not only in how schools share space and are supported by the community at large, but also through continued advocacy from rural planners and municipalities highlighting the irreplaceable role of schools to the long-term overall wellbeing of rural communities across Canada.
Citation of this paper:
2017. Rappolt, Rob., Mark Seasons, and Bill, Irwin. "Evaluating school closures through a rural lens". Plan Canada, 57(3): 52-57