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Benson Public School group ready to test UCDSB on closure


Benson Public School group ready to test UCDSB on closure

CARDINAL - Parents from Benson Public School are sending a message to the Upper Canada School Board (UCDSB).

In response to recent announcements that the Cardinal elementary school is on the provincial chopping block, parents mobilized quickly to start a campaign to save their trusted learning facility. Coordinator Donna Gladstone says early response has been extremely positive, estimating close to 500 signatures on the petition the group has started...with more action ahead.

"The response has been great so far with the petitions," Gladstone stated, noting that there are about 40 copies of the document being circulated for endorsement. "We are trying to speak to as many people as we can face to face and collecting signatures by going door to door. We have about 12-15 parents who are helping out right now," she said.

Help is also being sought from outside the village.

"We have spoken with Steve Clark's office, Trustee Lisa Swan from the UCDSB and Mayor Pat Sayeau of Edwardsburgh-Cardinal Township. We continue to be in communication with Ingredion and Cardinal Power (Neighbours and community partners of the school) and we are trying to get a community meeting scheduled," Gladstone concluded.

The group hopes that more help might be closer than that intended public meeting away.

"Benson Public School is celebrating the start of a new school year with an open house on Wednesday, October 5 from 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.," Gladstone explains. "I have sent an email inviting Mayor Sayeau, MPP Steve Clark's Office, Lisa Swan Trustee UCDSB, David Coombs Superintendent of Schools UCDSB and Stephen Sliwa Director of Education UCDSB."

Residents seeking more info are invited to contact Gladstone at 613-657-1671 or gladstone6@sympatico.ca.

The released petition reads as follows:

Whereas the Upper Canada District School Board has announced that Benson Public School may be closed following consultations with the community;

Whereas the Community of Cardinal is part of a growing Township that maintains existing positive relationships with local business and industry, all of which are significant financial drivers for the local economy and which continue to grow, attracting more employment opportunities;

Whereas the parents in the Community of Cardinal have confidence in the quality of education provided to our children at Benson Public School by its staff and teachers;

Whereas the education of children in their formative years is a delicate balance maintained by parents and educators, rooted in routine and simplicity, which with the potential added travel time and school shuffling will contribute to the disruptions and potential challenges for the children who attend Benson.

Therefore, we the undersigned petition the Upper Canada District School Board as follows:

The Upper Canada District School Board remove Benson Public School from consideration for closure and begin exploring alternative and additional funding options that allow Benson Public School to remain a trusted institution since 1949, a safe place for our children to learn, and an important part of our community.

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