Bruce-Grey Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch has started a petition to keep rural and northern Ontario schools open.
Murdoch received his petition with 693 signatures on Friday from Chesley resident Wayne Elder, who is concerned Chesley District High School may close its doors for good if enrolment continues to decline.
Elder says the economic and social impact of a school closure in Chesley would be devastating, and would cost the community a major piece of its identity.
For his part, Murdoch says a policy change is needed when addressing rural school issues through ARC reviews.
Murdoch says school closures in small communities have a much farther reaching impact than a closure in a major city, and that must be considered.
Murdoch adds parents don't want their kids shipped off to schools in neighbouring communities, they want them to stay close to home.
One option the MPP wants to look at is creating a JK to Grade 12 school to boost enrolment numbers.
Murdoch notes that has worked in communities such as Wiarton and Lion's Head.
The petition will go before Queen's Park when the legislature resumes on Tuesday, and Murdoch expects it will garner a lot of support.