Dozens of community schools across Alberta are scheduled to close this year. And their communities will wither even more when they do. While budgets might suggest closing a school will help with spending and taxes, the reality is quite often the opposite.
How do we put a value - dollars and cents - on the loss of community? Some suggest the "simple" solution of just looking at the amount spent, and deciding that it costs less to close a school when a community is in transition. Simple. And a truly false economic. It assumes a community is static and will never again thrive. Most school board members and teachers know that it just doesn't work well for the children, and not for the parents nor the community. But, funding is political and doesn't address the bigger question of "what makes a community?" That's too complicated for some politicians.
We talk about bullying in schools, yet faceless bureaucracy often comes wagging its financial finger and bullies public school boards into closing community schools, leaving no reasonable alternative.
I truly believe we can and should invest in our communities and neighborhoods, starting with properly sustainable funding of public schools, investing in the students, parents, teachers and neighborhoods. This is a complex issue, but it requires a Partnership to build the communities we want. Please join me in this partnership.