Possible High School Closure in Kingston
Community members have asked me, as the Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, to weigh in on the possible closure of KCVI, LCVI or QECVI. As I understand it, there are a myriad of possible options being considered. I realize that people want to know what their elected federal representative thinks, even though the issue is outside the jurisdiction of the federal government.
As I write this I am sitting in the House of Commons with a few minutes of free time during debates.
First let me say that I have a personal stake in this issue. I grew up in central Kingston and my family lives there now. I attended LCVI. My daughter attends a small elementary school nearby. I care about the health of the community in central Kingston.
I want to be informed about this issue, and so I welcome letters and emails from community stakeholders.
I understand that fiscal sustainability is important and that, with changing demographics and aging infrastructure, there are pressures that the Limestone District School Board faces. These pressures force painful decisions that Board members were elected to make.
School closings are never easy. Nor are they a new phenomenon as anyone who is familiar with the old repurposed school buildings scattered throughout central Kingston will understand.
It is not surprising that students can form a great attachment to their schools. School life is a substantial part of the lives of young people and is integrated into the lives of families and communities. I also believe in the importance of densification and mixed neighbourhoods as a path to a more sustainable city. The presence of schools is a key element to fostering more diverse neighbourhoods. Many stakeholders benefit from them.
I congratulate those who have organized community meetings and sought creative solutions to the problems faced by the School Board. Thank you for your service. I wish you good luck.
As I said at the beginning of this note, I am writing this as I sit in the House of Commons. There is nobody else who can vote for Kingston and the Islands in the House of Commons, as I was elected to do. So my first duty is to serve the people of Kingston and the Islands and to be present in Ottawa when required. I am sorry I could not be present at the community meetings, but I have the responsibility to be present for meetings, debates and votes on Parliament Hill, to keep track of what the federal government is doing, and how that affects the people of Kingston and the Islands.
I believe that I should refrain from taking sides publicly on issues to be decided by elected School Board officials if these issues are outside the jurisdiction of the federal government. They will be accountable for decisions, not I. Therefore I believe that I should not publicly apply pressure on them.
On that note, I wish to thank those who serve as elected officials on the School Board. You have a difficult job.
Please do not hesitate to contact me to keep me informed, or to let me know how you feel about a possible high school closure.