EDITORIAL: Seismic shift

North Shore News

January 16, 2018 05:49 PM

Compare and contrast: Argyle and Handsworth. Both secondary schools are on the road to a full seismically sound rebuild, although the two followed very different trajectories to get there.

The province announced Monday $62.3 million to fully replace the 57-year-old Handsworth Secondary.

In Argyle’s case, the province required the North Vancouver school district to kick in $11.4 million towards total costs of about $49 million. This meant the school district had to go through the painful and, many would argue, regrettable process of selling off school lands. Getting everything approved took years, and the funding arrived only when there was an election looming.

So why does one school’s seismic replacement reach graduation so quickly while the other one gets held back?

It probably has a lot to do with a seismic shift that happened in Victoria last summer.

The NDP campaigned on making public education a priority. The Liberals made much of how they could hold the line on costs.

We can imagine the envy that parents and students in the Argyle area are feeling. But safe kids are safe kids and that’s what counts.

Only Mountainside Secondary is still awaiting a replacement in North Vancouver. Other communities in B.C. haven’t been so lucky.

Building a school is one thing, however. Filling it with the furnishings it needs is another. Argyle’s PAC has been grappling with how parents will raise the cash needed to outfit their new school.

We’ll remind the NDP they also promised in their platform to “properly fund classrooms and school equipment so parents don’t have to fundraise for classroom essentials.”

After years of frustration, that’s a contrast Argyle parents would surely welcome.