VIDEO: Public Trustees Support School Board Merger

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Trustees with the Greater Essex County District School Board are calling for the creation of one school board.

Trustee Alan Halberstadt believes the move could be the most fiscally responsible way forward with the Doug Ford government proposing several cuts to the education system.

All trustees unanimously supported Halberstadt's motion at a board meeting Tuesday night.

Halberstadt says several studies show a merger of schools boards could save as much as $1-billion to $2-billion which then, in turn, could be redirected to maintaining and improving the current education model.

He says it's time a plan like this was seriously considered.

"The way the province is cutting back on education, here's an opportunity for them to pay for that and actually get some savings, but also pour the money back into the system and the education of our students."

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Greater Essex County District School Board trustee Alan Halberstadt after a meeting on April 16, 2019 (Photo by AM800's Zander Broeckel)

Halberstadt says it's not about eliminating the other boards, it's about making the best use of the available resources.

"It's something that people in the past haven't wanted to touch because they figured it'll upset the other school boards. Right now there's four different school boards. There's a lot of duplication there. The idea is not to wipe them out, but to have a collaborative system and end the duplication and save a lot of money."

He says he'd like to see the three major political parties work together on the plan.

"Part of my motion was that it be all three parties get involved in a task force to discuss the best ways forward to collaborate. So the idea in the end is to have one publicly funded school board in two languages, one in French and one public."

The public school board joins the Rainbow District School Board out of Sudbury in calling for the merger.

Letters will now be sent off to local politicians and Ontario's Minister of Education Lisa Thompson.