Letter: No mega schools needed

Editor: Although the School Board Trustees of CVSD#79 have stated; “no schools will be closed this year”, deep concerns remain regarding our small secondary high schools, such as Chemainus and Ladysmith high schools.  A significant issue feeding these concerns relates in large part to (unofficial) proposals and suggestions that CVSD create a mega high school that will replace the old Cowichan high school in Duncan.  Duncan “does need to build” a new high school according to CVSD, the argument is; “why a mega school”? Many of us feel that a plan to create a huge “educational factory” will have a significant, detrimental effect on the smaller surrounding communities, such as Chemainus and Ladysmith. The negative aspects are not just educational or social (to our students) they will also be economical (kids are consumers also). There will be negative, social impacts on the small rural communities’ culture and over-all well being. Schools are an integral part of a community’s vitality, and environment, especially the smaller rural towns. It seems too many of us, the possibility of a “mega” high school is just one more attack on our smaller rural communities. The ferry prices go higher and higher, small schools seem to continuously be fighting to survive, Island communities struggle to get fair representation and services. I guess government ministries, agencies and politicians fail to really see how valuable our small schools, towns and communities are. There will be a number of public presentations made to the Board of Trustees on the evening of May 9. Presentations will be made by students and student groups (including students who graduated form Thetis Island School), parents and other members of the Cowichan Valley region. If in fact a “mega” high school is planned, the money will have to be taken from somewhere to finance the multi-million dollar building. It will make impossible for the smaller high schools to survive long term. Steve FrankelThetis Island