EDITORIAL: Don’t shoot the SD62 messengers

Addressing school district budget deficit an unenviable task

The times, they are a-changing for the Sooke School District.

We are on the edge of a new era for West Shore students, who will see where and how they make their way through their school careers change drastically over the next couple of years.

Two new high schools opening in 2015 will make the biggest difference to the system, but there is also the restructuring of the grade placement for elementary and middle schools, and the combination of kindergarten and Grade 1 classes in six schools.

The Sooke School Board faced a pair of tough decisions at this week’s meeting and is taking some sidelong glances from the community for the outcomes.

As a result of one of those votes, Ecole John Stubbs Memorial is to become a French immersion-only elementary and middle school beginning in 2015. The English-track students in mid-stream at the Colwood school? They’ll have to be bused to different locations or in many cases, their parents will need to drive them further to get to school.

Naturally, parents in that situation take issue with the situation and not without cause. Having to uproot a child from their school and move them somewhere else is not enviable, no matter what the child’s age.

A decision that will likely affect as many people is the approval of this year’s overall budget, initial calculations for which produced a deficit of more than $3 million. Parents and school staff are also upset over how the resulting cuts, and they are significant, will negatively affect education in the district.

School trustees seem to genuinely understand this and have expressed disappointment they were put in this position in the first place. They say the provincial government needs to pony up more money for education and we agree.

It’s important that the public not shoot the local messengers, especially when they’re doing the best they can with what they’ve been given.

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