Cedar parents aim to reverse decision

NANAIMO – Information session will see group present research it hopes will lead to school staying open

The Save Cedar Schools Coalition is holding a forum on Monday (Sept. 23) regarding the Cedar Secondary School closure.

The moderated panel discussion will be held at the Cedar Community Hall at 2388 Cedar Rd. from 7-9 p.m. It is open to the public and trustees from the school board have been invited.

Steve Rae, a spokesman for the coalition, said his group believes there is a lot of information trustees don’t have yet and thinks the organization’s presentation will lead trustees to make an “informed, better decision.”

“We want to show the trustees of School District 68 that this isn’t just a few whiny parents that are upset that their kids are going to [John Barsby Community School],” said Rae.

“This is more than our school. They’re fundamentally trying to change the way they educate our children. They have plans for this new 21st century elementary school that they want to put in Cedar through no consultation.”

The school district has already passed the school closure bylaw and board chairman Jamie Brennan said it’s unlikely the board would reverse its decision, saying it would take a “revelation of significant proportions.”

He said he wouldn’t be in attendance at the forum and also disputed the claim there wasn’t any consultation.

“There was consultation. The regional district, they sort of dropped the ball in terms of responding to our invitation and the Snuneymuxw First Nation did not respond,” Brennan said.

“We had our meeting at Cedar, we did listen to people and we had scores of written submissions and e-mails and so forth and all the trustees read it.”

Nanaimo-Cowichan MLA Doug Routley, Regional District of Nanaimo Area A director Alec McPherson, a representative of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, parents and students will also be speaking at the event.

“We’re hoping to basically tell the community what we’ve done to this point, what our plan is going forward and what they can do to help this along,” Rae said.

“That’s the main thing we’re trying to get out of this.”