LTE: Call another meeting on R-O

The following is an open letter to the Upper Canada District School Board regarding the impending closure of Rothwell-Osnabruck high school in Ingleside:

After attending an information meeting at the South Stormont Township Office last evening (April 4) I can’t help but be impressed by the passion and fortitude of the presenter, Teri-Lynn Crites-Beckstead. She stated the facts and fielded questions like a pro along with Jen MacIsaac. I am sure there are a lot of behind the scenes support for these two dynamos but they are the face of the fight to save Rothwell Osnabruck High School. I was also impressed by the huge turnout for the event and everyone came away with a renewed sense of purpose in doing all we can to influence the reversal of the decision to close our high school.

Based on the facts R-O should never have been on the chopping block in the first place…being at 79.2% capacity with 48 empty student spaces should have given it a pass. The fact that many of the trustees never bothered to visit our school let alone even know its location speaks volumes about their credentials or lack thereof. Of course having an ulterior agenda does not have a place in this decision…the facts do!

It seems province-wide our rural schools are under attack and we must put a stop to this madness before it is too late. Those of us in rural communities take pride in being part our community…that is why we choose to live here, educate our children here and keep our business here. Rothwell-Osnabruck is not a faceless pile of steel and concrete – it is a place in which you are nurtured and valued as an individual.

Our high school is both financially and academically viable and our students should have the right to be educated in their community…along with being able to participate in sports and after school employment if they choose. Busing our children out of the community to an even more remote facility just does not make any sense whatsoever. That money would be better spent keeping our school open.

In closing, I would like to propose you call a meeting, have a good hard look at all of the facts that have been provided to you and have the courage and decency to admit that you based your previous decision on flawed and incorrect information. Then make the only decision that is right for our students…reverse the decision to close R-O and recover some valuable support that you are indeed sorely lacking at this point in time.

Debbie Jones-Tinker