I live in a neighbourhood close to Qualicum Beach Elementary School. The school has been the hub of this community for many years and attracted young families to move to this area. I often see mothers with young children walking to the school, playground and the grocery store, and in the summer the activities at TOSH spill children and families over into the playground and fields.
Talking to some of those parents recently, I found out they are dismayed about the plans to close QBES, but that they have been told the school is in dire condition and that the matter has been all but finalized. I immediately visited the School District 69 website to find out more. The board members had posted an online survey with the apparent intent of requesting parent feedback.
To my surprise, the wording of the survey left few options open and painted a very different picture of the opinions of parents in our community. There were only four options to choose from and each one involved closing QBES. Furthermore, the survey claimed that the four options were an average representation of 23 scenarios created by parents and community members. Now, unless the original data was presented in a skewed or limited manner, or the four options were not an accurate cross section of the original 23, how is it that no one in the community supported keeping QBES open nor came up with any plausible plans to take care of the shortfall in order to do so?
To claim that the information gleaned from this hardly-publicized and greatly-skewed survey represents the choices and ideas of the parents and families in our resilient and creative community is misleading to say the least. The board members owe us a proper explanation and should make public the original 23 scenarios (eight partial and 15 complete) they refer to.
Not accurately represented in the survey are several viable alternatives for making up the shortfall including expanding the (very lucrative) international student program at KSS, taking a serious look at the busing program, or carefully considering the effectiveness of the current middle school location.
Let’s make this decision based on what’s good for our children and community, not on which piece of the heart of Qualicum we will sell to the highest bidder.