Closures less problem elsewhere

Rural school closures are a big concern in Saskatchewan but not much of an issue for its provincial neighbours.

Alberta closed 10 rural schools from September 2001 to May 2007, said provincial education official Tim Chamberlain. The local school board decisions elicited little comment, he said.

Rural school closures have also been low in Manitoba: six public schools in 2004; seven in 2005 and one in 2006.

Carolyn Duhamel, executive director of the Manitoba Association of School Trustees, said public opposition has been muted because “parents have acknowledged that the small school can’t offer what the big school can.”

She said to deal with falling enrolments and multi-grade classes, adjacent school divisions have developed expertise they can share so that teachers have fewer courses to learn.

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