A report presented to the Ladysmith-Nanaimo School Board recommends significant changes over the next 10 years, including the reconfiguration of schools in Ladysmith.
Consultant Mr. Doug Player stated in the Chronicle that the district is dealing with deteriorating facilities, but he should have been in Ladysmith 20 years ago to see what the condition of schools were at that time. In those days, the school board put absolutely no funding into Ladysmith schools, and it took the effort of city council to finally convince trustees that our schools were deteriorating to the point that even safety standards were not being met.
It seems like things haven’t changed much with the school trustees because Ladysmith always seems to be on the back burner with the district. Again, it seems as though no thought is being put into future growth of Ladysmith because the board’s own figures show the student population at our secondary school today to be 587. The declining school population has not been caused by people moving away from the community, but rather, by aboriginal students leaving to go to their own school.
The same growth projections show Ladysmith Intermediate School population to be 305 and increasing by 35 students to 340 by the year 2022.
Are trustees unaware of TimberWest’s announced plan for subdivisions that will more than double the population of the town in 30 years? Also, there is already a plan to introduce a 300-acre subdivision behind Davis Road. And these are not the only subdivisions that will be developed in Ladysmith in the years ahead.
Ladysmith Secondary School operated well over capacity for years and, now, because the student population has decreased, does the school board really believe the student population will not return to its former numbers?
The same scenario exists for Davis Road School because the south end of town has seen extensive growth in the past few years and will continue to see more.
Mr. Player has recommended adding Grades 6 and 7 to our secondary school and says LSS is eager to embrace the younger students. Parents of these younger students, however, think the opposite — they do not want to see their young kids interfacing on a daily basis with teenagers aged 16 and 17 years old.
The principal of LSS says he has spoken to large groups of LSS parents about these changes and they know changes are coming and expect them. It is my understanding that the parents of the younger kids have been taken by surprise and are shocked about the proposed changes. He has said changes should be immediate, this fall in fact, when we say these changes should not take place at all!