Trustees vote to halt Cedar school work

NANAIMO – Chairman says school board reviewing all costs in district to help save money.

Newly elected Nanaimo school district trustees will debate whether to put a moratorium on Cedar school conversion project work at their regular meeting Wednesday (Dec. 17).

The school district business committee is recommending approval of a 30-day stoppage on construction and awarding of contracts in order to allow for a thorough examination. The former Cedar Community Secondary School was closed and set to be converted to an elementary school as part of a 10-year facilities plan approved by the previous board.

Steve Rae, school board chairman, said the recommendation, if approved, is to take stock of where the project is at. No decision has been made on whether to reverse the previous board’s decision, he said.

“We want to take a tour of the school, as well as several other schools … and it’s basically, we’re going to be looking at the whole district,” said Rae. “This is just one of the things we’re going to be looking at. The reason it came to the top of the list is because it’s time sensitive.

“There are contracts out for tender right now at that school and we wanted to put a stop on that, just for 30 days, and so we can make sure that this is the right way to spend our money.”

The school district is cash strapped, Rae said, and costs, expenditures to date and student projections are among things that could be examined.

The board could also examine costs associated with membership with the B.C. School Trustees Association, according to Rae. The business committee is recommending the board approve formation of a committee to review membership.

“It’s no different than Cedar secondary and no different than anywhere in the district that we spend money,” Rae said. “These are just the first two things we’re asking questions about, that’s all.”