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Ferry cuts will hit school district hard: Superintendent Wilson

Cuts to ferry service will have serious consequences for the school district, superintendent Angus Wilson said at the Nov. 26 school board meeting in Port Clements.Mr. Wilson said he is most concerned about the reduced schedule between Graham and Moresby Islands, which will further isolate the Sandspit school.The cancellation of the 7 am and 7:30 am crossings will make it impossible for the Sandspit school principal, who lives on Graham Island and also works at Sk'aadgaa Naay, to arrive in time for the start of school. It will also make it impossible for substitute teachers who live in Sandspit but are available to work on Graham Island to accept these jobs, he said, or for substitute teachers from Graham Island to work in Sandspit.The school board holds its regular monthly meeting in Sandspit at least once a year, but the lack of evening sailings will mean that the meeting scheduled for March 2014 will likely be the last one held there. Once cuts take effect on April 1, "it will be impossible to conduct a meeting there unless you plan to stay overnight," Mr. Wilson told trustees.Trustees voted to send a letter to Transportation Minister Todd Stone, outlining their concerns. The effect on Sandspit will be particularly severe, said chair Elizabeth Condrotte."It could very well contribute to the death of the community and in so doing, to the closure of the school altogether," she said.The cuts to the Skidegate-Prince Rupert route will make it much more difficult for school groups to travel to the mainland for opportunities like university tours, cultural visits and sports tournaments, Mr. Wilson added.