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Nancy, I read your comments printed yesterday in the Nanaimo Daily News article Decisions have already been

made (Mar 27) with disbelief and dismay. As another one of the PAC parents on the Cedar Secondary conversion School Construction Committee (SCC), I know first-hand that $2 million dollars wont cover even half of the funding required to create the 21st Century mega elementary school proposed in the visioning committee report, the school Bill Bard and other trustees said will be the envy of the District and the entire island. Not providing Stephanie Higginson (a fellow SCC member) the courtesy of a response to her first two emails is disappointing, but typical of the manner with which our entire community has been treated since this fiasco began. But sending only a succinct, polite platitude in an effort to mollify her third attempt to set up a face-toface meeting, is unacceptable for any elected School trustee, but especially so from our own Zone trustee. Your claim in the article that you dont represent Cedar at the board is as inaccurate as it is telling. You are the Cedar zone trustee. If you do not champion the needs and concerns of our area and represent us on the Board, we are left without representation. Save Cedar Schools has nearly 6,000 signatures on a petition and has mounted a huge, sustained push-back to the plans you and other trustees have said for months are a done deal. Believe it or not, the 7,500 citizens in the Cedar area ARE part of this school district and yet your comments imply differently. Certainly we are not happy about the plan. You would be too, if you lived in Cedar area. But you dont. In fact, none of the current trustees live in the south end (Cedar or Ladysmith). Knowing this provides some insight and possible motivation why trustees are targeting the south for the brunt of school closures and cutbacks. Unhappiness, however, is not our sole motivation. Certainly, it was in the beginning, but now that were armed with far more information than we were at the outset, we are now motivated by the understanding that the June 26th plan is bad for the entire district, not just Cedar. Thats why Stephanie Higginson wants to meet with you, to share this information, so that our zone trustee you - will take our concerns to the Board and offer solutions that are both a better fit for the community of Cedar and which will also be better for the District. The envious mega-elementary that was planned for Cedar will not happen. This school is now destined to be only 50% enrolled. Underfunding the conversion of Cedar Secondary using AFG (Annual Facility Grant) money is both a folly and a complete contravention of the spirit (if not the policy) of how that money is supposed to be used.

BC Education AFG policy The Annual Facility Grant is intended for annual facility projects required to maintain facility assets through their anticipated economic life and to prevent premature deterioration of these assets.
Those monies are meant to be used for maintenance of ALL schools across the district, not to be plowed into a major capital project for one school (the newest school, in the best condition, which doesnt require nearly as much maintenance as other, older schools). Funneling the lions share of AFG funding for two years running, creates a 2-year district-wide deferred-maintenance problem and puts the conversion project at risk should AFG funding levels shift significantly. All of Nanaimo should be outraged that their schools maintenance money is being diverted in this underhanded way. Major capital projects funding requests should be with a Project Identification Report (PIR) and examined by the Ministry prior to embarking on the project, to assess its priority, need and viability. The

District didnt conduct a PIR because the Board is barreling forward with the June 26th plan, in an effort in Jamie Brennans words to get it done before the silly election season. Cedar residents are outraged because they understand that the new mega elementary school wont be the envy of anyone. Instead, it will be a half-converted high school with muddy, condemned playing fields (see attached photos) and without road safety enhancements like sidewalks, curbing, traffic calming, crosswalks or lighting. It wont have an outdoor covered play area. It wont have bathrooms adjacent to, or in kindergarten classrooms. It will, however, have a lot of wasted space. Rooms for non-existent counselors and administrators. It will also have a nicely named Da Vinci art room, but without the benefit of a dedicated art instructor or adequately supplied with art materials. It will be a community art facility, but wont have an exterior door. In fact, none of the ground-level classrooms will have exterior doors, which is yet another hazard for small children in the event of an earthquake or fire. The school will have a wood-shop though, which is completely inappropriate for young children, so it will be mothballed, locked and off limits, even to the community. That was certainly the most amazing new enhancement that Pete Sabo presented at the last building committee meeting. Really, a mothballed, locked & off-limits wood shop is listed as one of the enhancements for the new mega Cedar Elementary School? That is preposterous. This wont be an enhancement for elementary students, nor will it be an enhancement for Cedar Secondary students attending John Barsby, because they will no longer have access to this equipment. The District had promised that shop equipment would be moved to Barsby because, in the Districts words, Barsby has an inferior woodshop to Cedar. The March 13th SCC meeting was the first meeting we had attended in over 3 months. We didnt pick up where we left off on December 10th. Instead, District staff told us that they would be presenting new a new, final, scaled-back plan to the Business Committee that very evening (this scaled-back plan was created without input from the School Construction Committee. We didnt even have time to fully discuss or understand the plan, but it was clear that District staff had ignored much of the committees input). In short, the SCC was ambushed. The plans presented to the Business committee came from District staff, working behind the School Construction Committees back, not the School Construction Committee. Given newer, far more accurate enrollment projections and more accurate cost estimates, it would be prudent for the Board to re-evaluate the June 26th decision to convert Cedar Secondary into a 21st-Century mega Elementary school. There are better, more cost-effective solutions that are also more educationally sound. Solutions that the community will support and which will save the District money. I implore you to meet with Save Cedar Schools and champion our alternatives. The Board should try to work with our community instead of continuing to ignore us and shove a plan one thats bad for the entire district down our collective throats. An extended consultation for Cedar would provide the community an opportunity to help shape the future of public education for our young children. Stop sticking it to Cedar and let us help you make better decisions for our community and all of the communities in School District 68. - Scott Kimler

One of the many things that the Vancouver-based consultant, Doug Player, got wrong, was the portrayal of Cedar Secondary having excellent grounds. (The fact is that 75% of the outdoor grounds are boggy and condemned for use by secondary students and completely inappropriate and greater hazard for elementary-aged children.) From D. Players presentation at April 11th Special Board Mtg

A closer look at those same fields Dr. Doug Player showed as excellent (slightly different angle) shows what they are like from Nov-May (most of the school year) swampy, wet, rutted (condemned and unusable). Note proximity of the grow-op?

A closer look at a young child standing in a puddle on the condemned playing field. While it may be fun to pose for pictures in your rubber boots, it is unacceptable for a community to have an enhanced elementary school whose playing fields are dangerous and unusable (compared to the fields we already have). What is enhanced or even SAFE - about this?