'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, or email her at

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Community Events, April 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Apr 16 edition online now. Browse the archives.