Petition being circulated to keep École Davis Road open

Ladysmith parents have started a petition, hoping to demonstrate community support to keep the south-end elementary school open.

A petition is circulating to express support for keeping École Davis Road (EDR) Elementary open.

EDR is at risk of closure at the end of this school year as part of School District 68’s 10-year Enhanced Facilities for Learning plan. Last spring, the school board extended the consultation on this decision until Dec. 1, and a working group has been created to meet and discuss potential options. A final decision will be made by Dec. 18.

In collaboration with the EDR Parent Advisory Council (PAC), EDR parents Jessica Lowry and Graeme Rouse created a petition to demonstrate the support to keep EDR open.

“Its target audience is Ladysmith residents, current Davis Road parents and future parents,” said Lowry. “Our hope is that during this decision making time, this petition can help with a positive outcome for the school, for south-end Ladysmith and the entire Ladysmith community. With a large amount of support, there will be positive pressure applied to the Town of Ladysmith and to the Board of Education to really consider the short and long term effects of closing such a popular school, with a great educational track record and one that serves as the community hub of the growing south end of Ladysmith.”

The petition is directed to Ladysmith’s mayor and council and to the board of education and senior administration at SD68.

“We hope to gather as much support over the next month or so, to reflect the community’s support to keep Davis Road Elementary open before the Dec. 18 decision,” said Lowry.

As of Monday morning, the online petition had 175 signatures, and Lowry says “ a lot of great, personal feedback” has been included.

“I think the parents of Davis Road are very aware of the situation and eager to support keeping Davis Road open or ensure that a K-7 French/English school remain in the south end,” she said. “This petition will further inform community members who may not be directly involved with the school and especially south-end home owners as to the risk of closing such a well-supported school in a part of town that is only going to see more growth.

“Residents need to consider the effects on their real estate should the school close and the loss of a valued community space and all that it offers currently and could offer in the future.”

Lowry feels that fostering successful neighbourhood schools like EDR would keep a sense of community in Ladysmith and also keep students and their families here.

“I pick up my son after kindergarten, and for an hour or two after school, the playground is brimming with kids playing and parents connecting,” she said. “We are all out there saying, ‘There is something amazing at this school. They cannot close it.’ A huge part of that ‘something amazing’ is undeniable community spirit. If these decisions are driven by budget and a school needs to be closed to satisfy an operational budget for SD68, it should not be a school that is doing extremely well in a populated, growing area.”

The École Davis Road petition is available online here.

Anyone who is unable to sign the petition online can leave a message with the PAC at the EDR office by calling 250-245-7187. If  you leave your name, phone number and address, the PAC will arrange for someone to bring you a hard copy of the petition to sign or direct you to the nearest business in town where the petitions will be available.