Nanaimo students surveyed for Cedar interest

NANAIMO – Just 202 students so far plan to attend reopened secondary school.

Two-hundred and two students are currently expressing interest in attending Cedar Community Secondary School when it re-opens in September.

Nanaimo school district’s board of trustees voted to revert Cedar back to a high school in April, after it had been slated to be converted to an elementary school under a previous school district plan.

Functional capacity for the school is 425 students.

The school district sent a letter to potential students in the Cedar and Cinnabar Valley catchment area in September and 44 John Barsby Secondary School students selected Cedar, while 109 wanted to remain at Barsby.

Seventy-seven Ladysmith Secondary students chose Cedar, while 34 wished to remain.

Thirteen from Nanaimo District Secondary School expressed interest, while 14 want to stay and one Woodlands student stated intention to attend Cedar.

Thirty-nine Grade 7 students from North Cedar Intermediate and 28 from Cinnabar Valley Elementary schools were automatically added into the equation, as they are catchment schools.

John Blain, district superintendent, said numbers are preliminary and could change as a course plan is developed.

Blain said Margaret Olsen, Cedar principal, will examine numbers and create basic programming. Cedar students will choose courses along with their counterparts. Blain said the first phase of course selection will end in late February.

“There may be some students at that time that may make a decision – that are Cedar catchment students, but chose to go to Barsby – are changing their minds because they’re seeing their friends now signing up for Cedar. There’ll be some transition work for students in there.

“So I’m predicting that there will be some students changing their minds either to attend Cedar or not, during that time period,” said Blain.

Steve Rae, school board chairman, said the Cedar community has a right to have kindergarten to Grade 12, just like everybody else. Based on enrolment projection software, the school will exceed capacity over the next several years, he said.

The projected Cedar school enrolment for 2016 is 358, according to school district information.

“We fully expected that in the first couple of years that the enrolment may be down a little bit, but we didn’t do this for next year, we did it for the next 20 years,” said Rae. “So I’m encouraged, I have absolutely no doubt that in a short period of time, that school will be full again.”

Rae said the school will open in September, even if it’s under capacity.