Students from South Wellington Elementary School have the option of attending Chase River Elementary School this year, but no bus service has been earmarked for their transportation. South Wellington school is the first of eight schools to have its doors permanently shut in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district over the next 10 years as part of the district's newly adopted 10-year facilities plan.
District spokeswoman Donna Reimer said originally, the 65 students from South Wellington were given the option of attending Woodbank Primary School for those in K-3 when the school year begins next week and North Cedar Intermediate School for those in Grades 4-7, and a bus service would be provided from their community to those schools.
Reimer said many parents asked that Chase River Elementary School be included in the options and the school board recently agreed, but there are no plans to provide a bus service to Chase River at this time so parents would have to find other ways to get their kids to and from that school.
She said all three of the schools receiving students from South Wellington have already arranged visits to their facilities by both the students and their parents to meet the principals and staff to help ease the students' transition into their new academic surroundings.
Reimer said that most of the students in the district's junior learning alternative program, which is also seeing its site closed this year, will be heading back to participate in programs in the secondary schools in their catchment areas next week, while the remainder will be attending Nanaimo District Secondary School which will have a program for those deemed not ready to participate in regular classrooms.
"The schools who are receiving new students are making sure they will be welcome when school starts next week," Reimer said.
"We've had some concerns raised about excessive class sizes in these schools, bit we're mandated by law not to exceed assigned class limits."
The new facilities plan is intended to deal with decreasing enrolment in the district, the academic performance of students and Nanaimo-Ladysmith's ongoing financial difficulties.
While the board made the controversial decision to close South Wellington school in June, trustees decided against the recommendation to also close North Oyster Elementary School at the same time to allow for more consultations to take place in the community.
North Oyster is now targeted for closure in June 2014, unless the board decides to reverse the decision after the extended consultation period ends on Dec. 1. The board also decided to allow for more consultations during the same time period on the future of Ladysmith's École Davis Road Elementary School, which is also recommended to close next June.
We want to hear from you. Send comments on this story to email@example.com. Letters must include daytime phone number and hometown.
© Copyright 2013