The Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools Board of Education (School District 68) has announced it will hold a special meeting in Ladysmith in early February solely relating to the future of Ladysmith schools.
The meeting will take place Thursday, Feb. 6 at Ladysmith Secondary School at 6 p.m.
“The board has particularly scheduled that meeting in February for Ladysmith so that people in Ladysmith will be able to attend,” said SD68 director of communications Donna Reimer.
Although a regular school board meeting is scheduled for later this month on Wednesday, Jan. 29, Ladysmith school reconfiguration will not be on the agenda.
“Our January meeting will be held in Nanaimo [at the school board headquarters],” said Reimer. “It’s a regular meeting so we will have other business on the agenda that night. The Ladysmith schools topic will be spoken to at the February meeting.”
Despite the Ladysmith schools debate set to be all-quiet at the January meeting, one thing that will be discussed that night is the prospect of busing from Cedar to Ladysmith Secondary School (LSS).
With Cedar Community Secondary set to close this June, more than half of the soon-to-be disarrayed students there have chosen to attend LSS rather than John Barsby Community School in Nanaimo.
The school board originally stated that buses from Cedar would not be put on but then requested a report following the popularity of a move to Ladysmith.
That report came at the Jan. 8 regular meeting from trustee TerryLynn Saunders, who is set to put forward a motion regarding busing Jan. 29.
Saunders outlined that when South Wellington Elementary closed last year, buses were put on for the students there to now attend Chase River Elementary.
The report perceives that four new bus routes would need to be created for busing to John Barsby and LSS and would cost over $850,000 initially.
In other Cedar-related school news, Cedar Secondary School’s fate could be decided in the courtroom, not the boardroom.
The high school’s impending closure will go before the courts, as SD68 submitted its response on Wednesday, Jan. 15 after the Snuneymuxw First Nation filed for a judicial review.
“They file theirs first and then we respond to them and we have just completed that process …” said Reimer. “I believe they have an opportunity to respond to what we have filed.”
Steve Rae, spokesman for Save Cedar Schools, said the closure process didn’t include proper consultation.
“The whole thing is a rush,” he said. “All we’ve ever asked, all the Snuneymuxw has ever asked, is to take a step back, sit down, go through all the different options, see what the costing is on each of them and involve the community.”
A hearing is expected in early March.
— with files from Karl Yu and Greg Sakaki