École Davis Road Elementary’s Parent Advisory Council made a further plea for help and continued assistance last Monday night at City Hall.
The PAC are fighting the closure of the school, proposed by School District 68 (SD68), and made a presentation to council regarding further evidence of why the school should remain open.
Under SD68’s Proposed 10-Year Enhanced Facilities for Learning Plan, Davis Road may close at the end of June 2014, leaving just one elementary school remaining in Ladysmith.
“It’s very important that our school remains open,” Tara Hawes from the PAC told council. “This is about investing in the community’s future.”
A petition was created online by the PAC back on Oct. 10. The petition presented to council had more than 1,155 signatures, and the online petition is still active.
“It’s growing daily,” said PAC member Carrie Segreto, who was joined in her rallying cry at city hall by younger daughters Ally and Michaela. “We’ve targeted Davis Road families, businesses and residents.”
Hawes outlined the reasons for Davis Road’s plea.
“Why close one of the top academic schools in the district? Why close one of the best athletic schools? Why close a school that is bursting at the seams with Ladysmith’s population growing? I’m sick and tired of our kids suffering so Nanaimo can have [International Baccalaureate] programs,” she said.
“We should join Cowichan’s school board where success is celebrated, not muffled. We’ve spent four years building a playground.”
Segreto echoed Hawes’ claims.
“The closure of a popular, successful school is just plain wrong,” said Segreto. “We urge mayor and councillors to work with the school district for a new plan to keep our community vibrant.”
Mayor Rob Hutchins, who has three grandchildren at Davis Road, confirmed further dialogue with the school district will likely take place following a set of public meetings.
At the meetings being held Nov. 25 and 26, a working group evaluating the closure of Davis Road will discuss with the public further ideas to prevent the closure. Hutchins is part of that working group.
Back in June, council sent a letter, written by the mayor, to SD68 stating “its strong objections to the closure of a south Ladysmith neighbourhood school, École Davis Road, with no plans to replace it in the same vicinity.”
Both public meetings will be held at Ladysmith Secondary School between 7 and 9 p.m.