To the Editor,
Re: School plan might destroy neighbourhood, Letters, Aug. 27.
I would like to start by clearly stating that I speak only for myself and not for any group or body.
I want to set a few things right regarding Jeff Solomon’s recent letter. I have never advocated for any single community. We have seen only too well the results of a board reacting to the loud shouts of one or two groups instead of doing what is best for all. Political pressure from one group or another have led to the dire financial and educational crisis that I see we are now in. A close to $5 million shortfall and the inability for a child to get all the courses he or she needs to continue at a post-secondary institution absolutely had to be addressed.
Mr. Solomon claims that the city, and the board “… make a plan, don’t include those that will be affected, and even if everyone disagrees with it, keep to it at all costs.”
All stakeholders were included in an invitation to take part. This means parents, staff, students, Snuneymuxw First Nation, the Regional District of Nanaimo, and unions. Most of whom accepted, and contributed.
Mr. Solomon also is under the impression that “everyone” disagrees with this plan. Wrong again. Many people understand the need to put this house in order if it is going to, once again, offer excellent facilities for learning.
Reinforcing the myth that “ youth will always be considered outsiders and never feel this is their place” is absolutely false. Cedar students were previously bused to Barsby and felt very much a part of the school family, and will again. There is no good time to move to another school, but we must, whether it be from Grades 7 to 8 or public to post-secondary schools.
While there are advantages to smaller schools, multiple grade-split classes are not ideal, and children going to a larger school have different benefits and allow children to continue to go to school with all their friends and neighbours within their own community.
Mr. Solomon seems to interpret not doing as some wish as being ignored. I have read every single piece of correspondence sent to me. I have spoken to Cedar residents personally, and over the phone. I have ignored no one.
I must give credit to the Cedar group. They are fighting for what they feel is the best thing for their children. We all do what is in our children’s best interest without favouring one over the other. I campaigned on the issues and now must do what I feel is best for all 13,000 of my children.