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Ontario parents to stage protest at Queen’s Park on rural school closures

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TORONTO – Parents from across Ontario are headed to Queen’s Park today to protest how the government funds rural schools.

A number of local school boards have suggested dozens of schools be closed, mostly in small towns and rural areas.

That upsets parents, because it means that their kids will spend more time every day on buses – sometimes up to two hours each way.

READ MORE: Proposed provincial rules would give public less input on school closures

The government says school closures are completely up to the school board, but the charitable research organization People for Education says it’s not that simple.

Executive director Annie Kidder says that the education funding model disadvantages rural schools, which typically have smaller populations than their urban and suburban counterparts.

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READ MORE: Ontario community goes to Superior Court to save their school

She says funding is mostly provided on a per-student basis, which means schools with smaller populations — like those in small towns — have less money to pay staff and heat their buildings.

Kidder also says that closing schools in small towns means more people will move away from those areas, and into cities.