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For Immediate Release December 8, 2013 Contact: Steve Rae Phone: 250 729 1246 Email: msrae@shaw.


Save Cedar Schools Support Snuneymuxw First Nation Lawsuit.

The Save Cedar Schools Coalition would like to express its overwhelming support for the Snuneymuxw First Nation in the filing of their judicial review of School District 68s decision to close schools in the Cedar area. Steve Rae, Spokesperson of the SCSC: SD68 is going to claim they will need to use monies otherwise spent on education to fight this lawsuit. This is not true. The district doesnt need to spend that money, they just need to stop and have a meaningful consultation with the important stakeholders in this process. Since April 11, 2013 the community of Cedar has sought to engage with the district in meaningful and constructive dialogue. We participated fully in their official consultation process, contributing hundreds of unreturned emails and phone calls outlining numerous community based compromises to the district plan. Then, on June 26th the Board voted to close Cedar Secondary, and consolidate all the elementary schools in the area into one giant elementary school to be housed in the repurposed high school. Since June 26th Save Cedar Schools has sent numerous emails, made in depth presentations and gathered over 4700 signatures of support on a petition, all in an effort to engage the district and trustees in a meaningful community based discussion regarding the Enhanced Facilities for Learning Plan. Steve Rae states, All we wanted was a chance to sit down and talk. We have been flatly refused time and time again. Throughout our own struggle with this school district and its trustees, it has become apparent that this is a district that would rather bully objecting communities into submission than work with them to solve the problems. The district staff and trustees would rather fight the people of this community than listen to, and work with them. With this being the primary method of conflict resolution utilized by this district, they have left the Snuneymuxw people very little choice but to turn to the courts to try to solve this problem. As a result of the treatment by the district and trustees throughout this process, the Save Cedar Schools Coalition has conferred with legal council and is also exploring its own legal options. Save Cedar Schools 100% supports the Snuneymuxw efforts to protect their children as it seems the only way to stop the madness of trustee inertia that has taken hold in our board. If

this district and trustees are still unclear about the importance of meaningful engagement and the danger that a lack of engagement poses, then it is the district that has forced this lawsuit on us all and we should all be profoundly angry about that, states Steve Rae. Some Facts about Cedar Area Schools: Cedar Secondary School is operating at 107% capacity and has the third highest graduation rate in the district. It will cost $280 000 per year in perpetuity to bus high school aged students out of their community. The proposed Cedar Elementary was supposed to have a student population of 475 students. The retrofit of Cedar Secondary into Cedar Elementary will cost over $2 million. Due to poor preparation in the formulation of this plan, the student enrolment will now be 340 students resulting in Cedar Elementary being 70% full. All 340 of these students can be housed in existing facilities within the area. Any cost savings proposed in this plan will not be realised for 23.5 years due to capital costs associated with the plan.