LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Full schools were foreseeable

The district has effectively built a brick wall around desirable neighbourhoods, says letter writer

To the editor,

Re: Schools can’t handle out-of-catchment kids, July 3.

This is a very weak attempt at managing a very significant problem around space and resources forstudents throughout our district. There are many pressures and contributing factors, however, a large piece of the problem with space and facilities has been brought about by very poor planning. It has been known in Nanaimo for several years now, that this city is experiencing an influx of young families, thereby steadily increasing enrolment.

It is unconscionable that the burden is now being made to appear to be caused by families wanting to attend a school outside of their catchment area, specifically siblings of students already enrolled in a given school.

By halting this altogether, the school district has effectively built a brick wall around affluent or desirable neighbourhoods, and neighbourhoods with a high-functioning school or academy school. Now, unless one can afford to move, and pay the inflated real estate/rental prices for that neighbourhood, they are prevented from attending that school, even if childcare arrangements, or siblings make that clearly the best choice for that family.

The Supreme Court decision and the new language around class size and composition are being used as a scapegoat for many inadequacies showing in many school districts’ operating procedures. Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools is apparently no different in this regard. Having the communications department issue bland heartless statements around empathy for those families affected is a slap in the face to the families and children who are faced with turning their lives upside down for no reason other than an arbitrary measure put in place by a near-sighted school district.

Enough smoke screening, deal with the problem at hand of inequitable distribution of resources, poor planning, and closed schools, admit that the situation has changed rapidly in our city. Get to work finding real solutions.

Twyla Spoke, Nanaimo

To the editor,

It is truly a shame that because of the lack of foresight on the part of our current school board and trustees, the entire district is now in a moratorium on out-of-catchment placement for elementary students. The words ‘increasing enrolment’ and ‘class size and composition’ were used 100 times over in the Rutherford community in an effort to reason with this board on the implications of closing a school in this district at this time.

Despite numerous presentations, e-mails, phone conversations, and meetings, the five members who voted to close Rutherford were unable to see the effect this would have on the district, even though it was glaringly obvious to the community in general.

Now, because of the refusal to back down and listen to reason, this board has placed so many families in stressful situations.

Unfortunately, the bad decision regarding Rutherford now involves the district as a whole, and my hope is that this will encourage all families with or without school-age children to get out there and vote in the next school district trustee election. We need to have trustees available who are forward-thinking and are able to strategize to make changes that will benefit all areas of the district.

Anita Hatch, Nanaimo

The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin. If you have a different view, we encourage you to write to us or contribute to the discussion below.

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