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touched upon a number of topics. Maintaining some kind of middle school configuration; the need for a change in the funding formula with the provincial government for school districts, and concern about an appointed trustee s making school closure decisions emerged as key points.
"I've also heard people say we need some things in some of our secondary schools to attract people back. I'm not just talking about a robust set of program options, but some Academy opportunities.
"You need to have elected trustees and you need to have a democratic process of dealing with the funding formula and I believe that can only be done with pressure from our professionals. Those professionals will be our superintendents, those professionals will be our elected officials, but most importantly, those professionals will be the parents who put the children in the schools.''
Previous consultations led McKay to some other conclusions.
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The Canadian Union of Public Employees, Cowichan District Teachers' Association, United Steel Workers and the umbrella Nanaimo, Duncan District Labour Council made it be known members will be adversely affected by the cuts.
In addition, "we have great hope the funding formula will be revisited,'' he said.
"I know there's one proposal on the table to revert back to a K 7, 8 12 model. I strongly believe the middle school philosophy, the middle school options provide the opportunity for children that have those options to explore. They explore during courses. They bridge the high school. I think it should be built upon.
"I think the middle school option gives more options for kids who aren't academic,'' said Julie Vliet.
"The scale and the scope of facilities at George Bonner are the best in the zone,'' he said. "To restructure schools solely on the basis of costs, it's not in the best interests of students or the community.''
"I've also heard that your kids in secondary schools need a range of programs that are going to give them every advantage that they can have as they move forward into post secondary and to trades and careers.
"In making transition from a three tier school system that we have now will be anything short of dangerous,'' said Ian McLean, who has put four children through the Cowichan Valley school system. "I think we have a very successful system to this point that is not one we want to start making drastic changes to in a very short time based on budgetary issues.''
"You've also said that we have some vulnerable students, not limited to but certainly including a disproportionate number Guess Leather Wallet With Coin Compartment of our Aboriginal community. And what you've said about that is, and I've heard you clearly, we need to do something about that. A 42% graduation rate for our Aboriginal students is not acceptable. You know that and I know that.
Front and centre during Tuesday's forum was a strong showing of support from labour.
Several messages came through loud and clear Tuesday night at Cowichan Secondary School.
"I think to step out of that and step back to the K 7, 8 12 model really doesn't make a lot of sense educationally.''
Kimberly Hill spoke passionately about what Alex Aitken, one of the schools on the list for potential closure, has meant for her autistic son.
"You also said, and fundamentally, I hope you hear this, because I certainly did from you. What you said is we cannot continue to be on the edge. We have to get to a place where we can move forward with some sense of confidence that the structure in place is the structure that will stay in place for an extended period of time. Now, what I heard from many school communities is we can't keep living from year to year being on the cutting block. So the purpose of the work that is being done by staff and by me is to ensure we land somewhere that is sustainable over time.''
Many pegged a funding formula with the provincial government as unworkable, continually putting school districts into cutback mode.
"You can't have a funding formula that is based on a per head ratio of child,'' said McLean. "You need to have a funding formula that recognizes the buildings that we have in our district. Because when a child leaves the district or leaves the school, the building doesn't. It still requires the cost of operating that building.
In his preamble to the meeting, McKay said, "I'm not saying for one second close some schools and change some transportation routes and everything will be solved.''
Unions concerned with job cuts
Speakers at the forum which attracted about 200 people Balenciaga Handbags Blue
applaud our middle school teachers and administrators for the work that they've done, I think, moving forward with education progressively,'' said Cathal Walsh.
"Here's what I've so far heard you say. Children in our schools, in the Cowichan Valley, need the programs and services to give them the very best head start and early start that they can have around literacy and around social and emotional learning, around all of the other parts that give them the start they need and deserve.'
People made their voices heard during the final public Bottega Veneta Roma Bag Review
"What happens if we have a secondary school that has some additional resources to provide a fine arts option in a deep and meaningful way, what happens if we have a science theme, what happens if there's something around a hockey Academy which has been raised in some communities. All of those things should be available to students in the Cowichan Valley, just as they are to students in other school districts.
Middle schools receive kudos during final public forum
Tom Baxter of Shawnigan Lake spoke about the specifics that make the middle school concept the best option to him for the south zone.
forum before School District 79's official trustee Mike McKay announces the selected restructuring option May 15 and what schools will be closed as a result.
Sally Hart also made strong statements about the need to keep middle schools in place.
"Alex Aitken is the school that he remembers as more like family,'' she said. "It was always the school that he felt most comfortable at transitioning him into middle school. That's gone very well but Alex Aitken school is our family away from home.''
"The activities, the emotion, the way the amazing staff deals with the student population of certain age groups is unique from area to area,'' she said.
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