According to a story in the Toronto Star, “the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board has laid off all but four of its library technicians and is dismantling all its libraries.” Apparently declining enrollment is putting them in a negative budget situation and forcing them to make cuts.
Now I’m all for making cuts, but if the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board is anything like the School Boards I’ve had experience with, there are plenty of opportunities to make cuts without cutting services to students. But they haven’t gone that route and I have to wonder why? Could it perhaps have anything to do with the fact that there’s an upcoming provincial election?
I’ve got family in Essex, and as anybody who lives out there can tell you, the region was hit hard by the double whammy of the Great Recession along with cutbacks in the auto industry. As a result, a large number of people have been forced to leave the area in order to find work; real estate prices in the area have taken a nose dive. It’s highly unlikely that those people will be coming back to the area. It’s also highly unlikely that new people will be moving into that area for quite some time. All of this makes it quite likely that the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board will continue to see declining enrollment. Which means it’s time to start making the hard choices and figure out which schools they’re going to close. But apparently they haven’t even started having that conversation, and I have to wonder why? Could it be that they hope this recent move to eliminate libraries might result in some additional ‘election time’ funding from the provincial government?
I hate it when people play politics with the education system. I really hate it when those political games directly impact students.