P.E.I. Fishermen's Association wants moratorium on school closures

Parents at rural P.E.I. schools worried about teacher cuts

The P.E.I. Fishermen's Association is wading into the school closures debate and calling for a moratorium on the proposal to give communities and the province an opportunity to make the schools more viable.

Quality of education

"I think at the end of the day, the key thing that has to be looked at is quality of education also, not just numbers in classrooms and whether a school is viable or not," said the association's executive director Ian MacPherson on CBC P.E.I.'s Mainstreet.

MacPherson explained that the association's position was endorsed by the board of directors and by the membership at the Feb. 24 annual general meeting. 

"It is a little different than some of our other motions and proposals. But we felt it was an important one."

Members affected

He said the proposed closures affect members of the association.

"We're starting to see a bounce back in the fishery the last few years. And maybe the economy of those local communities pick up a bit," he said.

The association made its views known on Saturday with an advertisement in the Guardian.

The schools that have been identified for possible closure are: Georgetown Elementary, Belfast Consolidated, St. Jean Elementary in Charlottetown, St. Louis Elementary and Bloomfield Elementary.

Integral building blocks

"It's like the local hockey rink. These are integral building blocks in your communities. And I think they're vital and we don't want to see the kids on unnecessarily long school bus rides — that affects their ability to learn," said MacPherson. 

He added that the association wants Premier Wade MacLauchlan to grant some more time so the communities can "dig down and come up with some alternatives or options to closure."

Any next steps will be discussed soon and determined by the board of directors, MacPherson said.

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