Two schools on the block S.J. McLeod in Bainsville and North Stormont Public in Berwick are among 12 schools recommended for closure in an Upper Canada District School Board staff report. Other area schools will be preserved, according to the staff report that is to be discussed February 15. "While there were areas within the district–wide Accommodation Review where staff were able to arrive at a clear set of recommendations for the Board of Trustees via this report, there were other areas in the District that require further study beyond the scope and/or timelines of this Accommodation Review," the report reads. It is the intention of staff to continue to review the status of student programming and the District’s capacity for operating schools within regions that include Char-Lan and Glengarry.
As employees picketed its head office in L’Orignal Tuesday morning, Le Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien said that its schools remain open and buses would continue to roll.
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4155 members began demonstrating after contract talks broke down last week.
Each side was blaming the other for the impasse at the French-language Catholic board which administers 25 elementary and eight secondary schools, with a total enrolment of over 10,000, in Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry and Prescott-Russell.
CUPE 4155 represents supervisors, school administrators, clerks, maintenance workers, library technicians and IT technicians at the CSDCEO.
The CSDCEO is still the only school board in Ontario without a local collective agreement with its education workers. “But now its refusal to reach a deal at the bargaining table has taken its employees – members of CUPE 4155 – to the brink of a strike,” the union stated.
But the board replies that union negotiators chose to leave the bargaining table.
At a session February 1, conciliators proposed new dates for negotiations. These dates were accepted by the CSDCEO, but were rejected by the union, the board says. CUPE subsequently issued a notice of intention to strike.
“During the many negotiating meetings, CSDCEO has always negotiated in good faith and proposed different solutions. We believe it is possible to avoid a labor dispute, since all monetary issues have already been determined by central agreements. The CSDCEO remains willing to negotiate with CUPE and does not want a labor dispute,” insisted board director of education François Turpin.
If the labour dispute continues, all necessary steps will be taken to ensure the safety and welfare of students and staff, the board said.
“We have been extremely patient with our employer, so that we could avoid just such a labour dispute,” said Raymond Giroux, president of CUPE 4155.
“But after 12 bargaining dates and the impasse we reached in negotiations – even working with conciliators – we realized that, unfortunately, the time had come to take job action, up to and including a full strike.”
The Canadian Union of Public Employees could take job action today (February 7) at schools operated by Le Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien (CSDCEO). The French-language Catholic system, which includes École Elda Rouleau in Alexandria, is still the only school board in Ontario without a local collective agreement with its education workers. After two years in negotiations with the board, CUPE 4155 has given the required five days’ notice of a strike, which is scheduled to take place beginning Tuesday, February 7. More details as they become available.
"A safety concern" at Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute forced a temporary lockdown at the high school this morning. Students have returned to the school after the Ontario Provincial Police requested that buses be redirected to Pleasant Corners Public School.
At 8:35 a.m., police informed administrators with the Upper Canada District School Board that it was safe for staff and students to return to VCI.
Counselling has been made available at the school for staff and students who may require support.
Speak up to save your schools.
MPP Jim McDonell encourages all residents of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry to visit the Upper Canada District School Board's accommodation review page at www.ucdsb.on.ca/programs/accomodationreview and click through to the online survey to provide their feedback on the proposed closure of many schools in our area.
"Community and school groups have raised their voices throughout the riding on the issue and every resident can contribute their voice to the conversation and show the broad concern throughout the community," he commented. "Completing the online survey will give the Board a tangible measure of the scale of local involvement in discussing the planned closures. Without sufficient responses, the Ministry of Education may conclude that the community is not interested or concerned about the plan – this can’t be the message we send."
The survey, which closes February 1, is accessible at www.ucdsb.on.ca/programs/accomodationreview
Monday Jan. 23 at 6:30 p.m. at General Vanier, 1500 Cumberland St., Cornwall, is the final public Accommodation Review Committee (ARC) meeting to discuss the proposed closure of Glengarry District High School.
The Glengarry SOS committee "can't overstate the importance of a strong GDHS presence at this meeting. If there is one public event to go to, this is the one. We'd ask you to wear red Gaels colours, or red Gaels clothing. Doors open at 6!"
Glengarry SOS is providing busing from the Glengarry Sports Palace parking lot, free of charge. Buses will leave at 5. For more information, or to reserve a spot on one of the buses, please contact a committee member:
Alyson Graham (email@example.com)
Natasha Boucher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mandy Duval (email@example.com)
Dean MacGillivray (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Krissi Pacaud (email@example.com)
Glengarry High School students, speak to Marshall Wilson.
You can also register for a spot on the bus on our website, www.glengarrysos.ca
Ontario Education Minister Mitzie Hunter (centre) meets Upper Canada District School Board trustee Wendy MacPherson and her daughter, Morgan, during a tour of Glengarry District High School in Alexandria Tuesday. The minister also visited Char-Lan District High School in Williamstown and schools in Long Sault and Cornwall.
Today's SD&G senior girls soccer championship final at GDHS in Alexandria opened with the athletes holding a protest of threatened school closures. Please click here for a video.
As the referee blew his whistle to start the SD&G senior girls soccer championship match at GDHS this afternoon, athletes from both teams – the Gaels and the Char-Lan Crusaders – came to the midfield stripe and sat down as one, aiming to draw further attention to UCDSB's threat to close both of the English public high schools in Glengarry county.
The girls from both schools were silent for a time, then chanting in unison "save our schools."
The action today was part of a larger movement in North and South Glengarry to stop the school board from abandoning our communities.