Parents anxious over proposed boundary changes for Victoria schools
Eric Lloyd, CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, February 7, 2019 9:16AM PST
Last Updated Thursday, February 7, 2019 4:45PM PST
The Greater Victoria School District has opened up its consultation process on proposed boundary changes that would alter catchments for a number of schools in the region.
At an open house at Spectrum Community School Wednesday night, dozens of parents from South Park Family School showed up wearing red shirts in support of their school.
They were concerned about the boundary changes that would see their school of choice turn into a neighbourhood catchment school.
A school of choice allows students to attend from outside of its neighbouring community while catchment schools are mainly populated by students from the surrounding neighbourhoods.
“So were here in numbers because we’re a pretty passionate group of folks. And we want to keep it a school of choice,” Wendy Tyrrell said. “We want to keep it a school of cooperation and collaboration."
Some of the major changes proposed by the board could see South Park Family School, Cloverdale Traditional School and Victor School switch from schools of choice to catchment schools. Students already enrolled would be phased out, but, Ivan Fletcher says others families will be missing out.
“My daughter will be able to go to South Park for the rest of her elementary education but it’s those future kids that are going to miss out on this amazing opportunity," he said.
Wednesday was the first of three open houses being put on by the school board in a consultation process that one Cloverdale parent is calling rushed.
“I think this has been a very quick turnaround that we have three weeks, or even less than three weeks basically to get our opinions out there,” Karen Grigolato said.
“It feels that there are better opportunities and better things that can be done so that we don’t have to lose our traditional status, so that we don’t have to lose our community. And I think that as a group of parents we are coming up with different proposals and hopefully the school board will listen to us.”
While Superintendent Shelly Green admits that some parents have expressed anxiety she says so far nothing has been set in stone, and input is encouraged.
“We truly are in a consultation phase. There has been no decision made, and we’re happy to hear their concerns, and hopefully share with them other opportunities that may be able to be put forward,” Green said.
“I think hearing that, they can probably sift the ideas – what’s the best thing for kids? – so we create good solid supportive spaces for those students. Not meaning to put them through an anxious time but meaning to have that full view on what’s the best thing for those kids.”
The next two open houses will be held on the following dates:
- Wednesday, Feb. 13, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Lansdowne Middle School
- Saturday, Feb. 16, 8:30-11:30 a.m. at Victoria High School