Why does School District 68 want to close the newest high school in its district? Why close a school that has a graduation rate of 97.1%? All the school closures appear to be happening in the area where the NDP have been elected. The current provincial Liberal government has a majority so they don’t have much of a political incentive to help the people of Cedar. In addition, the School District and elected trustees are plowing ahead like tin pot dictators.
Here are important facts about the closure of Cedar Community Secondary School and more:
- Cedar Community Secondary School is currently operating at 107% capacity.
- Cedar Community Secondary School is the newest secondary school in the district and is currently rated as the 2nd best school out of 41 in the district on the district’s Facilities Condition Index. John Barsby is 31st out of 41 on the district’s Facilities Condition Index.
- Woodbank Primary School is number 14 out of 41 on the district’s Facilities Condition Index.
- The board wants to close Cedar & Woodbank and spend money from the School District facilities grant to renovate Cedar and turn it into an elementary school.
- The same report that the SD68 board uses to justify their optimal school size of 600-1200 states that small schools “are more efficient and cost effective…because small secondary schools manage to graduate a significantly larger proportion of their students than do large secondary schools”
- This same report states that “smaller schools do not seem to be an impediment to the learning of more advantaged and/or high achieving students…”
- This same report states that “Secondary schools serving a student population exclusively or largely from diverse and/or disadvantaged backgrounds should be limited in size to about 600 students or FEWER.”
Cedar Community Secondary School has:
- a graduation rate of 97.1%, SD68 has a graduation rate of 92.1%.
- 6th most academically improved school in the province according to the Fraser Institute in 2013.
- more extra-curricular programming and sports teams than are currently offered at many secondary schools in the district that fall into the “optimal school size”.
- many extra-curricular programs that are not available anywhere else in SD 68, including “The Boys to Men Club” and “The Spectrum Program”.
- since Cedar Community Secondary School opened, dropout rates have decreased significantly and graduation rates have increased significantly in the Cedar area, quoted by Trustee Saunders on June 26th.
- 30% of Cedar Community Secondary School grads go on to higher education compared to the SD68 average of 7-12%
Compare what you’ve just read to the following reasons given by the School District 68 for closing Cedar Community Secondary School:
- “The decision is about offering Cedar’s students the best educational opportunities available.” (Jamie Brennan, CTV Island News, June 26th, 2013)
- “Our decisions in Cedar are all about guaranteeing our students more opportunities and more programs to choose from.” Trustee TerryLynn Saunders (Nanaimo Daily News, August 1, 2013).
- “The best long-term sustainable school improvement option is to renovate Cedar Secondary as a state of the art 21st century elementary school, rather than to renovated schools where the bulk of the investment will be in expensive mechanical and seismic upgrades that do not necessarily lend themselves to enhancing the learning environment”. (Superintendent Dave Hutchinson, August 27, 2013)
This is a dramatic issue that is unfolding in the district of Nanaimo and every mid Vancouver Island resident should be concerned as school closures devalue properties and will lead to the gutting of a residential community. What will the future look like for Cedar? Burning garbage and shipping coal? Follow Save Our Cedar Schools on facebook and twitter.