Middle school option could be short sighted

It’s hard to say if there were winners or losers at the Trustee’s All Candidates Forum.

Editor:It’s hard to say if there were winners or losers at the Trustee’s All Candidates Forum, other than “Best Dressed” went to Jim Richie and “Voice of Reason” went to Dr. Doug Neufeld.

Hopefuls, Rob Zacharias, Jim Ritchie and Sheila Boehm are running on the reconfiguration platform. Mrs. Boehm stated, “It’s quite simple, I want a middle school.” (I think she attended a middle school.) And it’s no secret, Mr. Ritchie and Mr. Zacharias have been jonesin’ for a middle school for the past five years or so.

But maybe they’re right.

Maybe it is time for change. I only hope that it is for sound educational reasons.

Mr. Zacharias stated, “Eight to 12 is not working,” and Mr. Ritchie said, “We are short changing our high school student’s core courses and electives.”

Admittedly, I have a passionate case of tunnel vision. However, at Williams Lake Secondary School we have full enrolment in Math 12, Chem 12, Bio 12, Physics 12, Calculus 12, Geography 12, Com Civ 12 and French 12. What’s missing?

Williams Lake Secondary School has a rich culture of electives: musical theatre, band, jazz, guitar, drama, ceramics, drawing, painting, foods, PE, TV video, design, animation, five blocks of woodwork, the electrical program, welding, residential construction and auto mechanics.

In WL GROW blocks: Japanese, Spanish, Russian. Where are we short changing? In 2010/11 WLSS enrolled 550. This year, 592.

Last year $70,000 in post secondary bursaries and scholarships went to WLSS students. What’s not working?

I asked the question of how our city’s economy and industrial projections will tie into the long term plan for SD 27.

Only Dr. Neufeld provided a contemplative response. Prosperity, Black Dome, Spanish Mountain, alone, are factors that require monitoring. In terms of projected enrolment, let’s not be short sighted.

Suppose we railroad Mr. Ritchie, Mr. Zacharias and Mrs. Boehm’s ‘middle school love child.’ Two, three, five years down the road, how long will it be before populations open up and we step back and say … “oops”?

Williams Lake Secondary School extended an invitation to Mr. Zacharias and Dr. Neufeld (Zone 6, City of Williams Lake) to educate the students by explaining the role of a trustee, and by presenting their individual platforms. Mr. Zacharias declined.

I can’t blame him. How tough would it be to tell a gym full of students that their school as they know it will be no more?

For your last years, your senior years, you’re going somewhere else.Mike Levitt (31 years with SD 27), Williams Lake