The Oceanside Communities for Quality Education group is meeting with B.C. Minister of Education George Abbott on Thursday and are looking for letters of support to keep schools open.
Four OCQE representatives will meet with the minister and are calling for support from other community groups, businesses, churches, parent advisory councils and individuals to add weight to their message of the importance of keeping District 69 (Qualicum) schools open.
The Board of Education is in the process of considering options in light of declining enrolment and the corresponding decline in funding and a consultants report last October recommending school closures as the best solution.
“We already have good schools, great teachers and fantastic kids,” said Julie Austin of OCQE. “The community has shown an outstanding commitment to rally behind our kids and our schools.”
They will be hoping for a commitment to maintain protection funding until other solutions can be found, giving them a bit of breathing room.
She said they will explore options with the minister to ensure K-12 education in Parksville and Qualicum Beach and maintaining the schools in rural areas.
The group wants to expand the unique and successful programs at the secondary schools to take advantage of local expertise in the areas of music and shop, areas like marine and conservation biology and continue building on inter-generational relationships among the area’s unique older demographic.
There is an initiative to establish food security and organic gardening at Kwalikum Secondary School, which could then spread to elementary and middle schools.
“The goal is to have the students work with the foods teacher under the guidance the Qualicum Town gardening mentors to create an independent program,” said OCQE’s Ron Campbell. “We call it Koss FM, tune in to the new sound of fresh organic produce grown at KSS.”
Austin points out the B.C. curriculum is already used in other countries, which unique new programs would add to.
The group is seeking support from the school board of trustees at the meeting and encourages others to voice their support. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or check www.OceansideEd.com for more information.