School closures in the Pays de L’Aigle, it’s probably not over

There were a few fewer schoolbags in the schools during this start of the school year (©Le Réveil Normand)

At the start of the 2022-2023 school year, the number of students in public schools in Pays de L’Aigle (Orne), excluding Irai, is down, with 43 fewer children compared to the previous year. In detail, 1,686 students were expected on the benches of the 97 classes, i.e. 638 in kindergarten (against 674) and 1,048 in elementary school (against 1,055).

Even if the decline seems contained, the president of the Community of Communes (Cdc) hopes that 2022-23 will be “a great year of reflection on schooling and early childhood, but this must be done in conjunction with National Education in order to carry out concerted actions”.

“A revision of the school map”

John Sellier therefore wants to sign a rurality agreement with the academic director of the national education services (Dasen) to intelligently redistribute the workforce on the territory, but not only. The president also wants this to be an opportunity “to improve the working conditions of teachers, optimize our operation and in particular energy and, finally, offer a cultural season for young audiences throughout the territory”.

Véronique Helleux, vice-president of the Cdc in charge of school affairsdon’t try to drown the fish.

It is neither more nor less than a revision of the school map in consultation with all the actors concerned to know which premises we rehabilitate and adapt as needed, because we will not be able to put money everywhere. All the work we do must be permanent.

Veronique HelleuxVice-president of CDC

According to the objective of optimizing operation, it is not excluded that photovoltaic panels find their place on the roofs of schools, or even on all the buildings belonging to the Cdc.

This convention of rurality, “to be connected with Dasen”, will inevitably cause dissatisfaction and “it will necessarily be painful” regretfully admits the president, but “we have to go through this to deal with the drop in staff and limit job closures as much as possible, ”argues the vice-president. In the immediate future, the schools targeted by term closures are not listed but we bet that the concern for the general interest will preside over the discussions.

No obligation to take children under three years old

Other files will fuel the debate throughout this school year, most often in connection with the numbers in the schools. This is the case of derogations, “which are absolutely not an obligation. The rule is to go to the school of residence”, confirms Véronique Helleux who nevertheless specifies that “derogation commissions take place several times a year, depending on the requests, and they make it possible to see if the parents’ motivations are the right ones. All this is done to maintain rural schools”.

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The issue of schooling for children under three is also under discussion.

We currently have two reception facilities for children under three years old on the territory and we will only keep one in the long term (…) we are not obliged to take children under three years old, who are not moreover not counted in the workforce by the National Education, especially since we will very soon have the necessary places in the crèche.

John SellierPresident of CDC

The rule is to take children who will have three in the year.

Finally, the elected officials will have to sit around the table about the school canteen. They will make decisions, because “the costs have already increased by 5% and it is probably not over”. In addition, the obligation to use short circuits and to put 20% of the cost of each meal in organic products “leads us to provide for a flattening of prices and family quotients, with the concern of protecting poor families “.

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School closures in the Pays de L’Aigle, it’s probably not over