Staff from John Barsby Secondary School will be available tonight in an open house at Cedar Secondary School to answer questions relating to the closure of the facility this June.
In a controversial decision, the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district intends to close Cedar Secondary at the end of the school year as part of its long range facilities plan, and has determined that Barsby will be the new catchment school for Cedar-area students.
In a letter sent home last week, parents and students are being asked to indicate which school students will attend starting in September.
District spokeswoman Donna Reimer said there will also be a one-time opportunity for students to attend Ladysmith Secondary School in September, although the district doesn't intend to provide a school bus service for students from Cedar to the school in Ladysmith.
She said students and parents have been asked to indicate their choice of school by noon on Nov. 22 to make it easier for students to begin the process of making their course selections for next school year, and for the receiving schools to prepare for them.
She said the information will also allow district officials to make other pertinent decisions, if necessary, based on the data.
"Students in any of our schools can apply to attend any out-ofcatchment schools in the district beginning in January, but they won't be guaranteed a spot in other schools," Reimer said.
"The district is providing spots for Cedar's students in Ladysmith Secondary if they choose to go there in this onetime opportunity. But there are no current plans to provide the busing from Cedar to Ladysmith because of the board's busing policies and we don't want students and parents to think busing will be provided when they make their decision of what school to attend."
Reimer said the district intends to move forward with its plans despite a massive outcry from residents and an expected lawsuit against the plan by the Snuneymuxw First Nation. The SFN is launching legal action against the school district over the facilities plan, claiming it was adopted without "proper engagement and process."
School board chairman Jamie Brennan has said the Snuneymuxw were offered several opportunities to engage in the process when the facilities plan was being prepared but never got involved.
"The details of the lawsuit have yet to be filed and we're moving ahead with our plans as laid out," Reimer said.
In response to claims that the new elementary school in Cedar will have far fewer students than projected when it opens in 2015, Reimer said no definite numbers have been determined at this stage. Tonight's open house begins at 7 p.m. Ladysmith Secondary School will also hold an open house on Nov. 6, also beginning at 7 p.m.
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