News

Lake people bracing to make the best of closures

The large crowd that came out to hear the restructure options for the Cowichan Valley School District is expected to be repeated at various meetings set up around the community, in its aftermath, including one Feb. 25 in Lake Cowichan. - Don Bodger/file
The large crowd that came out to hear the restructure options for the Cowichan Valley School District is expected to be repeated at various meetings set up around the community, in its aftermath, including one Feb. 25 in Lake Cowichan.
— image credit: Don Bodger/file

In the aftermath of the Feb. 6 school district announcement of the axe poised over 10 schools, the Lake Cowichan community will have one more chance to voice its wishes to the school trustee.

It wants to be prepared.

So prior to the official School District 79 meeting slated for March 2 in the Lake Cowichan Secondary School gym affected parties are hosting a pre-game skate.

“Everything’s just happening so quickly,” BCTF local 66 president Chris Rolls said. “So on Feb. 25, we’re holding an extra meeting, “Let’s Talk” to prepare for the next community consultation meeting.”

Rolls is concerned that for the Mar. 2 meeting, everybody in the community is on the same page about what they want.

“I’ve talked to all three PACs to make sure that we’re headed in the same direction,” Rolls said. “And that direction seems to be: we don’t like what the district is proposing, but we can’t fight the closures any more.”

With that in mind, Rolls wants to hold a meeting for everybody to come together and discuss what the community wants and needs for the Lake children in view of the pending changes.

Taking a realistic look at the situation, she says they are looking at two options in Lake Cowichan. The options are either a Kindergarten to Grade 3 or a Kindergarten to Grade 4 school at Palsson, and a middle school at LCSS that will include Grade 5s or else both 4s and 5s in addition to the Grade 6, 7 and 8s already housed there.

“So it comes down to we need to figure out what we need to make a 4-12 or a 5-12 school work,” she explained. “Essentially, the parents that I’ve talked to recognize that it’s not about fighting the closures, it’s about fighting for what they need.”

Rolls says she thinks preparing what they are going to tell the school district at that meeting is primordial for obtaining what they want, instead of using that time for such discussions at the March 2 meeting.

Not making cuts in teaching assistants because there are children with literacy issues here;  deciding that the school district is going to provide them with a proper playground for the children at the middle school; and obtaining the necessary textbooks are just some examples of ideas parents have come up with.

The meeting is slated for Feb. 25 at 6:30 in the Upper Centennial Hall. Everyone is welcome to attend.

— Elodie Adams, Lake Cowichan Gazette

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