A Community Based Perspective on Accommodation Reviews: The Rural and Small Town Experience
Rappolt, Robert John
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This study concerns the role of public schools and the process of accommodation reviews in rural Southwestern Ontario. It brings together complementary groups of theory and practice from the related fields of community planning and rural development. A common theme to both disciplines is the role of schools in shaping or improving the social, economic, and environmental well-being of rural communities. This consideration is heightened given the dynamic and often deleterious consequences from changing demographic and economic structures occurring within rural regions across the Province. At the same time, small schools that are under capacity or underutilized are being closed in favour of fiscal austerity and efficiency; a process that has emerged as highly contentious and divisive despite a provincially crafted decision-making framework that is ostensibly designed as a deliberative method of public participation. A previously unanswered but imperative question then follows: Are the generic accommodation review guidelines appropriate for the context of rural Ontario?