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Board to continue school closure process

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The school closure process will continue tonight as the Rainy River District School Board is expected to pass “Intent to Close” motions for three elementary schools.

But while Alexander MacKenzie and Sixth Street School sub-committees both recommended closing their schools in favour of an expanded J.W. Walker, Alberton Central parents said they want their school to remained open.

Trustee Ron McAlister said yesterday that even if the three motions pass tonight, the school closure process is far from over.

“It’s still a long process from here,” he stressed. “We have to go to the public. No matter what happens [Tuesday] night, there will still be public meetings, there will be time for the public to give us their input.

“I feel sorry for the folks in Alberton,” McAlister added. “I know that they’re a special case out there and I don’t blame them for a minute.

“I believe in small schools myself, and they have a special atmosphere out there. At the same time, it’s just not possible.”

Faced with ever-shrinking budgets, McAlister said the school board just doesn’t have enough money to repair these schools and keep them open.

“If we were in a perfect world . . . we could fix all these schools up and keep everybody happy and keep the kids in their neighborhoods,” he said. “[But] the way things are, we’re like stretching an elastic band and we’re just about to snap.”

The fate of the old Fort Frances High School on First Street East, and presentations from the First Nations Advisory Committee, also are expected to be discussed at tonight’s meeting, which gets underway at 7 p.m. in the boardroom at Robert Moore School.

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