EDITORIAL: It’s decision time

Qualicum school board expected to make decisions about school closures next week

The local school board can’t catch a break.

However, as they say in the sports world, you make your own breaks.

A week from today, the District 69 board of trustees are scheduled to make some decisions about their multi-million-dollar budget shortfall. Specifically, they are to address a facilities review report that’s been in front of them for months now. The recommendation from staff is the option to close four elementary schools, two in Parksville and one each in Coombs and Qualicum Beach.

The district has been through its mandated 90-day consultation period. For the most part, they have heard the hue and cry of Qualicum Beach residents fearful of the future of a town centre without the vibrancy of the elementary school.

There has been passion, but there have also been some constructive suggestions, not the least of which is the community school model, a plea to keep the elementary school in Qualicum Beach open for a year to see how this would work, both financially and otherwise.

If the board hasn’t had enough to think about, teachers are set this week to ramp up job action, which will start with them pulling back from non-classroom duties.

Then there’s the Fraser Institute report card, which has the district’s largest school (Ballenas) sitting in 266th place out of 293 high schools in the province.

Meanwhile, there’s no help from the provincial government. Both Parksville MLA Michelle Stilwell and the education minister say the government is tightening its belt, so school districts must do the same.

We are not confident this school board will make any clear-cut decision next week. The modus operandi of this group of elected officials is to delay, study, delay some more and put decisions off.

We hope hundreds of young people, and their parents, and taxpayers, will have a clear idea this time next week about what schools will be open in September under what kind of grades make-up.

The math will not change. It has not changed during these months of consultation and will not change in the next five-10 years. There are 6,000 spaces for students in this district and 4,000 students. It’s time for this school board to make some tough decisions and then work to mitigate the fallout to ensure our youth are getting the best education possible under the financial circumstances.

— Editorial by John Harding

Just Posted

The proposed running track upgrade at Ballenas Secondary is now on course. (PQB News file photo)
RDN: Parksville track upgrade project gains some traction

Staff recommends board approve $204,000 funding

The total earnings of Town of Qualicum Beach council and mayor amounted to $186,649 in 2020, including expenses. (Town of Qualicum Beach photo)
Nine Qualicum Beach town employees earned more than $100K in 2020

Mayor and council received earnings totalling $186,649

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Terry Mazzei next to a truck after it was struck by lightning, with him inside, on Wednesday afternoon, June 9. He walked away from the incident without injury and the truck sustained only mild damage; a blown front tire and newly broken gas gauge. (Wendy Mazzei photo)
Nanoose Bay man walks away unscathed after lightning strike

VIDEO: ‘We like to think that his dad was watching over him’

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read