Let’s hope trustees listen to Ladysmith

Ladysmith residents have been vocal about the proposed school changes, and we hope the school board is truly listening.

This Monday, Ladysmith and North Oyster community members had their first opportunity to participate in a public forum around the school district’s Proposed 10-Year Facilities for Enhanced Learning Plan.

The plan has been in the news a lot, sparked protest and been a hot topic of discussion because it proposes some pretty big changes for our community.

The plan proposes closing North Oyster Elementary School in June 2013 and closing École Davis Road in June 2014. Ladysmith Intermediate School would become a dual-track K-5 elementary school, and Ladysmith Secondary School would become a Grade 6-12 school in September 2014. It’s proposed that a new K-5 elementary school would be built in Ladysmith for September 2017. This would mean quite a change to the education picture, and people could be turned away from moving here or from enrolling their children in public school by the idea of two “super schools.”

One concern that seems to come across quite loudly is with Grade 6-12 high school. Do 10-year-olds belong in high school with 17-year-olds? While you could argue there are a lot of role models in high school — and there certainly are — parents are raising social concerns around bullying and younger students feeling safe. And what about the lost opportunity to be a leader/role model in an elementary or intermediate school?

The deadline to submit feedback on the proposed plan is Monday, June 24, and I hope you’ll make your voices heard. Visit the school district’s website to find out how to do that.

Trustees will consider the proposed plan Wednesday, June 26 at 6 p.m. at Nanaimo District Secondary School. Ladysmith parents have been vocal about their concerns and have come up with other solutions (through the website success4all.ca). Let’s hope they get fair consideration at the board table and that the end solution is one that meets our community’s actual needs.

—Lindsay Chung

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