‘Unfortunate’: troubled rural education task force disbanded


Content of the article

Trustees of the Thames Valley School Board voted Tuesday night to disband a rural task force they accuse of straying outside of its terms of reference in a leaked draft report and taking too long to complete a final version.

Advertisement 2

Content of the article

The move came after Thames Valley staff said they would not “plan, host or attend any future meetings” on the matter.

“In its current form (the draft report) both exceeds the mandate of the rural task force and contravenes numerous provisions of the Education Act,” reads a council report.

The report was written by Middlesex County Administrator Arlene Morell, Chair of the Rural Task Force. It is made up of administrators, municipal leaders and community members and was created to provide ideas for the council’s rural education strategy.

The school board’s administration said the task force was operating improperly outside of its mandate, which makes recommendations “with respect to education, finances, personnel and property.”

Advertisement 3

Content of the article

Earlier this month, Thames Valley School Board staff attempted to withdraw the leaked confidential draft report being reviewed by politicians in Middlesex, Oxford and Elgin counties, along with some members of the task force, including Vice President Marcus Ryan, Mayor of Zorra Township, accusing the council of trying to bury him.

Starting in 2019, the task force visited rural schools, explored options for school population changes, and examined the role online learning plays in rural populations in Oxford, Elgin and Middlesex. But Thames Valley board staff said publishing what they said was a flawed report – before it was seen by the trustees – was “disrespectful and irresponsible”.

“The Rural Education Task Force is an ad hoc committee of the Thames Valley District School Board and anything it produces must go first to elected trustees,” Superintendent Paul Sydor said earlier this month. -this. “We are disappointed that this actually happened. That a report they haven’t seen yet has been made public.

Advertisement 4

Content of the article

Sydor said the report, in its current form, is incomplete and has significant issues, including insufficient consultation with the Indigenous community and students, as well as human rights, equity and legal issues.

In August 2021, Oxford administrator Barb Yeoman resigned from the task force, saying: “I believe that the mandate of the task force has been achieved and that any further activity would not constitute an effective or efficient use of the resources of the advice.”

Morell on Tuesday asked administrators for more time to write a final report by June, calling it “unfortunate” that a final report could not be completed.

In recent years, many rural schools have been closed as boards grapple with changing demographics, maintaining half-empty schools and equal access to the curriculum.

[email protected]



Advertisement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user follows you comments. Visit our Community Rules for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail settings.


Comments are closed.