The Snuneymuxw challenged School District 68 in BC Supreme Court over the closure of the only high school in Cedar. Unfortunately, the court ruling came down yesterday and Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson ruled in favour of SD68. Justice Hinkson was appointed by Prime Minister Harper on November 7, 2013; halfway through the case. Consequently, Cedar Secondary School is scheduled to close permanently June 30, 2014.
This court case was an opportunity to enshrine into law the need for local school districts to consult with local First Nations governments which have students participating in the public school system.
The judge ruled on the process used to prepare SD68’s 10 Year Plan. The ruling says nothing about the wisdom of the 10 Year Plan. The judge’s ruling will do nothing to fill up the half empty mega-elementary SD68 is planning for Cedar, nor turn it into an arts-focused school that will be the envy of others in the District.
Proposed $65 million mega-secondary school
The ruling will not bring about provincial funding necessary for the proposed $65 million Nanaimo District Secondary School (NDSS). That is the reason why SD68 wanted to fill up John Barsby Secondary in the first place, to get provincial funding, and then Barsby would be shut down and sold off after the new mega NDSS is built.
Very soon, SD68 will start pitching their vision and plan for the new mega NDSS to fit approximately 2,000 students. This will be just in time for the up-coming school trustee elections in November. They will try to convince you that all the closed up schools in the south end will somehow be worth it and ask for another mandate to turn their vision into reality.
Will you be buying what they are selling?
The reaction of Save Cedar Schools Coalition is the fight is not over. School District trustee elections will be held in November 2014 and there is still a chance to reverse SD68’s decision of closing Cedar Secondary.
Remember: School Districts are Corporations
The school district is set up as a corporation. Its main priority is not education but to make money. How is this done? Through land deals such as building schools and selling property.
The new scheme is building mega schools. Closing smaller high schools and elementary schools and replacing them with mega schools is not the answer. This leads to more problems such as traffic congestion and less community building.
Keeping our children educated in our community should be a priority.