EDITORIAL: School options need review

Nanaimo school board’s discussion of maximizing the educational opportunities for high school students while coping with falling enrolment numbers is an urgent and necessary debate.

Why the issue was pushed to the back burner after being broached last year is troubling.

The facilities renewal plan and budget are equally pressing matters, but ensuring students continue to have access to the broadest possible range of courses is vital to maintain a healthy public school system.

What’s more, both the budget, which is stretched further every year, and the facilities plan, which aims to keep all schools open, could have direct impacts on the district’s ability to provide an adequate complement of courses.

Given the increasing need, and apparent mandate from the province, for school districts to get creative to maintain educational quality, it’s important trustees devote the appropriate time and resources to having a full and open debate about the potential for new or different ways of meeting students’ needs.

And regardless of the other pressing issues, the discussion needs to be kept as a high priority.

The new committee being eyed to start work in the fall will be gathering input from various local stakeholders, but it should also be tasked with looking beyond our community, provincial and national borders for other examples that might also work well here.

Armed with those examples, and with the possibilities opened up by technological advancements, it seems likely there are simple, workable solutions that could soon make our district the example others are following.

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