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We are disappointed to report that we have received the ruling from the Superior Court of Ontario, and they have chosen not to set aside the DSBN decision to close Parliament Oak Public School. Although this is not the outcome we were hoping for, we are pleased with the court’s acknowledgement of the appropriateness of our case and it being brought before the court. As a result, unlike many other cases in which citizens have challenged the decision of a school board to close a school, the court found that this matter was “public interest litigation” and did not award costs as was requested by the DSBN.
We are gratified that the judges acknowledged some the DSBN’s current failures – for example, apparently not complying with the Education Act requirement to have a multi-year strategic plan. We would also like to reiterate that the judges repeatedly stressed that the scope of their consideration was not whether the decision to close Parliament Oak was the correct one. They could consider only a narrow scope of law regarding the procedure under which that decision was made.
Although the loss of Parliament Oak is disappointing, CARE also sees the changes in NOTL schools as an opportunity to improve the education offerings for all of the children in our incredible community. We will be organizing a meeting in the coming weeks to discuss alternative options, and we welcome anyone and everyone interested in providing input or support to join us. Stay tuned!
Once again, thank you to everyone for all your tremendous support throughout this process. Although the road has been, and will continue to be, a long one we are confident that with the continued support and passion of so many individuals, politicians, and business owners we will collectively be able to reach the best education outcomes for all communities in NOTL.