News

'Twas The Night Before Cutbacks

Cowichan students and teachers spent the spring wondering about their futures and the fall adjusting to a revamped school district. - Andrew Leong/file
Cowichan students and teachers spent the spring wondering about their futures and the fall adjusting to a revamped school district.
— image credit: Andrew Leong/file

Twas a few nights after last New Year’s, when the message became clear

Our schools would be restructured, by the first of the school year

 

An unlawful budget, had nine trustees divided

Still submitted to Minister Abbott, for which they were chided

 

For standing up to the government, all trustees were fired

And in their place, trustee McKay was hired

 

McKay and his staff, hosted community consultations

To gather ideas to fix, the financial situation

 

It was at one such meeting, all welcome who were able

Spilsbury and Hawthornthwaite, sat at the same table

 

Two fired trustees, two different points of view,

But a shared vision of education: for the many, not the few

 

Consultations for publicity? To get parents to settle?

Or were they effective? Transparency their mettle?

 

Rhodes said little was learned, but he did get a lift

From parents whose pros and cons, would help manage the shift

 

Every email to the district, was online for all to read

With each person’s perspective, on how to meet their child’s needs

 

The week after elections, the announcement was made

What poor schools would be closing, what lucky ones saved

 

Koksilah was first to go, to Khowhemun and Alexander

Ecole Mill Bay to Cobble Hill, Somenos Rural off to Tansor

 

You would have thought people, would protest to the heavens

But there was very little noise, except for maybe the Grade sevens

 

Sighs of relief from Crofton and Aitken, whose hug made front page

But new fees for busing, sent some into a rage

 

The real blow didn’t hit, on that announcement date

The pain came in June, when teachers met their fate

 

Our school communities were breaking, into different sizes and shapes

Which hurt far more than losing, buildings and playscapes

 

Except old Duncan Elementary, on its 100th birthday

Would become an office, to many’s dismay

 

“We managed to focus, on the kids,” said McKay

Yet, if that were the case, money would never be in play

 

We hear it time and again, the children are resilient

It’s parents who worry, about their development

 

Not for nothing we fight, so they’re not held back

Funding’s based on head count, not what’s best for Jill and Jack

 

But, as Malcolm Gladwell argues, it is not the size of the class

It’s the quality of the teacher, and our teachers kick ass

 

The question is now, on which we all dwell

Was it all worth it? Only time will tell.

 

Maeve Maguire is a technical writer who lives and works in Maple Bay and writes monthly in the News Leader Pictorial. Visit her blog www.cowichandale.com, or email her at maeve@describewriting.com.

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