I’m getting frustrated with the amount of news coverage that the possible closure of Qualicum Beach Elementary School is generating.
I have one child in French immersion at Parksville Elementary School, and one entering French immersion Kindergarten next year. Good on the residents of Qualicum Beach for rallying to save their school; they are vocal, they are outspoken, and they are proactive.
We in Parksville may need to copy these behaviours, or we may find ourselves with no schools to speak of.
Out of many of the elementary schools set for closure, it seems that QBES is one of the oldest, least populated, and most outdated schools (i.e., no fire suppression system).
So why is there nothing in the papers about the closure of PES? The latest and greatest is to not only close it, but now split the French program in two, making all French classrooms split between multiple grades to desperately try to make it work with the intensely tiny pool of awesomely qualified French teachers we currently have employed at PES.
I enrolled my children at PES not only because of the French program, but because back then, there was talk of closing Kwalikum Secondary. I wanted to ensure my kids got a good education at a school with no risk of closure. This was a no-brainier since PES was full, and the only French program.
Oops. Am I wrong in thinking that maybe all those years ago, a high school closure at a relatively poorly attended school would have saved what I think is precious — our elementary schools? Maybe, maybe not. But if the squeaky wheel gets the grease, Qualicum will have a whole bunch of half-empty schools, while the rest of Oceanside scrambles to drive miles from school to school to pick up our kids who may now be split up even at the elementary level.
That, or all those families living in Parksville currently paying taxes, and shelling out for pricey kids’ programs, and adding jobs to the local economy will just say “enough is enough,” and move somewhere with jobs and schools.
Education at elementary level is priceless, yet we now have a terribly high price on it that we can’t pay.
I understand there needs to be school closures. I understand we can’t pay the bill. But I am hoping these decisions aren’t made based on who yells the loudest, but on what helps the most children get the best education. Parksville, maybe we need to step up and rally, louder and prouder, to let the powers that be know that we care about our schools, too.