Parents and community members from Cedar plan to ensure new candidates run in school board elections next year after they felt their concerns were dismissed by the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district Wednesday.
Steve Rae, a spokesman for the Save Cedar Schools Coalition, said most trustees seem to have "forgotten their jobs" in regards to providing the best possible education for local students. Coalition members are exploring other measures to have their voices heard at the table and in public.
Superintendent Dave Hutchinson responded to the coalition's concerns at the meeting in seven points that were covered in a 30-page staff report, and the SCSC intends to respond fully to each of the points in the report and send the information to Premier Christy Clark, Minister of Education Peter Fassbender, trustees and the media.
In his report, Hutchinson said key to the district's recently adopted long-range facilities plan is the district's "strong interest in the equitable delivery of programs and services to all students served by the district."
"Achieving this, given the district's challenges, means difficult decisions have to be made regarding school consolidation," Hutchinson said in his report. "This also means, however, that the district will strengthen its capacity to improve instruction and student achievement."
The coalition claims that information provided to trustees indicating that academic performances of students in Cedar would improve with the facilities plan, and that the district would save money by moving forward with its plans, is incorrect.
The plan calls for the closure of Cedar Secondary School and number of small elementary schools in the area.
The coalition's proposal that Cedar's elementary students could be housed in a renovated and upgraded Woodbank Primary School building for much cheaper than the approximately $1.9 million the district has allocated to transform the Cedar Secondary building into an elementary school were also rejected by the board Wednesday.
"The district seems to think that we're going to go away, but we are not," Rae said. "We owe it to our kids to continue our campaign. This is their future we're talking about and we're no longer taking a soft approach to these issues."
Chairman Jamie Brennan said the board of trustees is satisfied that all the questions have been properly answered.
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