Nanaimo school district is drawing some fire from the public for spending $24,000 to develop a new graphic identity for the district.
At the beginning of the school year, the district announced that it will work with Vancouver-based Ion Branding + Design on replacing the current logo, which was developed in 1980 and was only designed to represent Nanaimo because Ladysmith was not yet a part of the district’s name.
The contract with Ion is worth $24,233.
The school board wants to begin using the name Nanaimo-Lady-smith Public Schools as opposed to School District 68.
“That number really doesn’t mean anything,” said Donna Reimer, school district spokeswoman, adding that with the new direction the board is setting, including a new strategic plan in the development stage, officials feel it is a good time to revamp the district’s graphic identity.
But some Nanaimo parents feel differently.
Parent Jennifer King said she found it disappointing that she knew nothing about the contract until after the announcement went in the newspaper and would have liked the district to put this idea out to the public.
Alexandria Stuart, a parent with one special needs child in the district, is concerned with the cost of the project, given the cuts that have happened in the district in recent years.
“I can buy the logo is 32 years old and the name change creates clarity,” she said. “I can’t buy it takes $25,000 to do that. That $25,000 is significant on the front line.”
Stuart also questions the request for proposal process and why a local company wasn’t picked.
The district put the RFP out on its website, on B.C. Bid, through the B.C. Association of Graphic Designers and also sent it to firms the district was aware of locally and in the Lower Mainland.
The district received 13 responses, one of which was from Nanaimo.
District policy is to give local suppliers preference where quality, service and price are competitive.
Reimer said Ion was picked because they met the criteria set out in the RFP the best.
“Something that was important to us was a good, strong consultative process,” she said, adding that consultants are meeting with trustees, senior staff, support staff, teachers, parents and students to get their input on the new look.
Jamie Brennan, school board chairman, said the $24,233 is just what it costs to hire a professional company.
“We’re going for quality,” he said. “I expected some criticism of this, but sometimes we have to make decisions that aren’t going to be popular.”
Brennan said the new graphic identity is about moving forward.
“By and large, people are anxious for change in the district,” he said. “We want to have a new face. Certainly it’s not going to be the answer to all of our issues and dilemmas, but it’s a start.”
Reimer said school officials are working to focus the entire district on improving student learning and success for all students and the new graphic identity is one small way to signal to stakeholders and the public the importance of that vision.