Alberton School closure meeting goes tonight

Parents will get their chance to try and save Alberton Central School tonight at the final of three school closure meetings being held by the Rainy River District School Board.
Trustees and board administration will be at Alberton Central at 7:30 p.m. to hear views and concerns of parents about the possibility of closing their school and sending students to an expanded J.W. Walker here in town.
“I think we’re going to have quite a lot of people turning out,” Henry Van Ael said yesterday.
Van Ael is a member of the school closure sub-committee that recommended keeping Alberton Central open, as opposed to the Alexander MacKenzie and Sixth Street sub-committees that felt the expansion of Walker was in the best interest of their students.
He said the only thing that could keep concerned parents away from tonight’s meeting is frustration.
“There’s been a . . . feeling that the board hasn’t listened and is not going to listen. For that reason, we might not get a good turnout,” he remarked.
Van Ael, who has two children attending the school, said there are a number of reasons to keep it open, such as its small size, rural location close to homes and away from traffic, and large yard for kids to play in.
“It’s the heart of the community,” he stressed.
At previous school closure meetings, board members have said that under the current provincial funding formula, there isn’t enough money to provide the repairs needed to keep these three schools open.
Trustee Frank Sheppard has said several times that the school board doesn’t want to close schools. But if it doesn’t, they could face even greater financial problems in the future, he’s warned.
Alberton council and the school closure sub-committee have urged residents to come out tonight and make presentations. Van Ael said he hopes enough people turn out so they could stop the closure plan.
“The board claims the decision isn’t final, that it hasn’t been made, and we have to believe them and do our best to convince them not to close it,” he remarked.