I was one of many parents who came to Rob Hutchins and other members of council last year to ask them to look seriously at aligning with School District 79 (SD79).
As a parent of two boys who have been frustratingly under-served by School District 68 (SD68) for eight years now, I am certain Ladysmith as a community would do much better in SD79. We do not have to be held hostage to a Nanaimo-centric board that has consistently (over at least the last three boards who were elected) not made decisions that are good for Ladysmith.
Last year, SD68 closed Davis Road, shunted Grade 7s off to high school, relocated French Immersion out of town and left Ladysmith with NOTHING concrete in their 10-year facility plan. These plans were all done so that SD68 could prioritize a $90-plus-million rebuild of Nanaimo District Secondary School, a project (if the ministry funds it at all) that will take nearly all facilities funding for this district for a generation of kids.
Numerous Ladysmith parents have already voted with their feet and pulled out of the district. We have many kids from our town now going to Chemainus Elementary, St. Joseph’s, to the private schools, to the new Stz’uminus schools or just doing learn at home.
In fact, our town has a disproportionate number of kids aged five to 12 (compared to both provincial and Vancouver Island averages) not actually attending public school in our town (46 per cent!).
My wife and I now drive our kids to École Mt Prevost in Duncan and are relieved to be at a school that is reasonably well resourced and functioning normally.
I think Rob Hutchins will make a great trustee, and I hope that our neighbours in Saltair and south see value in having someone with that much experience in the public school system and local government, come make positive contributions.
Having an informed advocate for our town (whose borders actually already dip down into SD79) on the SD79 school board will go a long ways to making sure we are on the table for serious consideration. It will make for useful synergies where right now there are silencing silos.