Nanaimo school trustees nix bus to Ladysmith

NANAIMO – School board won't provide transportation to Cedar Secondary School students attending Ladysmith high school

Soon-to-be displaced students of Cedar Community Secondary School will not have bus service to Ladysmith Secondary School for the 2014-15 school year.

In a school selection process, a majority of students (162 of 310) chose the Ladysmith high school over catchment school John Barsby Secondary, but a motion to provide busing was narrowly defeated by a 5-4 margin at a special meeting on Thursday night, citing costs.

School trustees TerryLynn Saunders, Bill Robinson, Kim Howland and Sharon Welch voted for and Dot Neary, Donna Allen, Jamie Brennan, Bill Bard and Nancy Curley against.

Steve Rae, a parent and spokesman for the Save Cedar Schools Coalition, was not surprised, but expressed anger at the decision.

“Over half the students chose Ladysmith and more would have if they had made it clear that there was busing. This isn’t about better educational opportunities for the kids; they claim it is, but it’s not. This is about filling John Barsby,” he said.

Neary, school board chairwoman, said although the Ladysmith high school was added as an option for Cedar students in addition to Barsby, busing was never promised.

“The majority of the board decided that they were going to stick to the original decision. Transportation is organized in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. We have our transportation policy to define who qualifies for transportation and under that policy, generally students are only entitled to transportation to the catchment school,” Neary said.

While busing was provided to Chase River Elementary after the closure of South Wellington Elementary School last June, even though it wasn’t the catchment school, school district spokeswoman Donna Reimer said it was more feasible in that situation.

“That is actually, simply an extension of an already existing route and so the cost was very low,” Reimer said, adding that the cost was about $7,000.

The board asked school district staff to examine bus options with the Regional District of Nanaimo and carpool software for parents with students attending Ladysmith Secondary in the fall.

In a January report, the school district said startup costs for busing to John Barsby and Ladysmith were estimated at approximately $869,000 while first-year costs for John Barsby alone, which will be provided, was about $456,000.

Soon-to-be displaced students of Cedar Community Secondary School will not have bus service to Ladysmith Secondary School for the 2014-15 school year.

In a school selection process, a majority of students (162 of 310) chose the Ladysmith high school over catchment school John Barsby Secondary, but a motion to provide busing was narrowly defeated by a 5-4 margin at a special meeting on Thursday night, citing costs.

School trustees TerryLynn Saunders, Bill Robinson, Kim Howland and Sharon Welch voted for and Dot Neary, Donna Allen, Jamie Brennan, Bill Bard and Nancy Curley against.

Steve Rae, a parent and spokesman for the Save Cedar Schools Coalition, was not surprised, but expressed anger at the decision.

“Over half the students chose Ladysmith and more would have if they had made it clear that there was busing. This isn’t about better educational opportunities for the kids; they claim it is, but it’s not. This is about filling John Barsby,” he said.

Neary, school board chairwoman, said although the Ladysmith high school was added as an option for Cedar students in addition to Barsby, busing was never promised.

“The majority of the board decided that they were going to stick to the original decision. Transportation is organized in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. We have our transportation policy to define who qualifies for transportation and under that policy, generally students are only entitled to transportation to the catchment school,” Neary said.

While busing was provided to Chase River Elementary after the closure of South Wellington Elementary School last June, even though it wasn’t the catchment school, school district spokeswoman Donna Reimer said it was more feasible in that situation.

“That is actually, simply an extension of an already existing route and so the cost was very low,” Reimer said, adding that the cost was about $7,000.

The board asked school district staff to examine bus options with the Regional District of Nanaimo and carpool software for parents with students attending Ladysmith Secondary in the fall.

In a January report, the school district said startup costs for busing to John Barsby and Ladysmith were estimated at approximately $869,000 while first-year costs for John Barsby alone, which will be provided, was about $456,000.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Nanaimo RCMP ask for help locating 17-year-old girl believed to be with 36-year-old man

Mary Cyprich, missing since Thurday, might be in company of Force Forsythe

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Nanaimo hospital staff say lives depend on stopping spread of COVID-19

President of medical staff association, chief of staff at NRGH asking for community’s best efforts

Nanaimo couple caught aboard cruise ship with four dead and COVID-19 present

Four ‘older guests’ have died on Holland America’s Zaandam, cruise line confirms two COVID-19 cases

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach youngster gets car parade for his sixth birthday

Friends get creative after party cancelled due to ongoing pandemic

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

Most Read