Community leaders and parents fight to save rural Thames Valley schools

Thames Valley District School Board special meeting, April 11, 2017.
Thames Valley District School Board special meeting, April 11, 2017. AM980 London

Concerned community and school officials attended the Thames Valley District School Board meeting Tuesday night to voice their opposition to the proposed closure of five rural schools.

The schools, including Westminster, Springfield, New Sarum, Sparta and South Dorchester, could be shuttered due to low enrollment.

“Schools in rural hamlets and villages are vital to the health and vitality to their communities,” said Sally Martyn, deputy mayor of Central Elgin.

“The schools act as a gathering place, a place where children and families develop friendships and a sense of community.”

Central Elgin Mayor David Marr says the only part of the report they agree with is building a new school in Belmont.

“As to the other recommendations in your report concerning our other three schools, we respectfully request that you put this on pause and review all available spaces from New Sarum to Sparta to Port Stanley, and include other schools in St. Thomas and Southwold,” said Marr.

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READ MORE: Trustees sound off on recommendations to close rural Thames Valley schools

More people are expected to voice their concerns as the community consultation process continues Wednesday night.

Trustees have about three weeks before they have to make a decision on the fate of the schools.