Music lessons will be very different for students returning to George Jay Elementary school in September.

The Greater Victoria School district has decided to convert the school's dedicated music room into a regular classroom this coming school year. The timing of the announcement at the end of June has hit a sour note with many.

"Shock is a bit of an understatement," said George Jay parent advisory council chair Angela Carmichael. "We were definitely surprised but frustrated with it because of the timing."

The district also told parents that George Jay's StrongStart early learning drop-in program for pre-school kids would move off site in September.

Both changes are a result of catchment boundary changes that will see more students enrolled at George Jay come September.

"It is not acceptable to have an overcrowded school with no music room," said Carmichael.

"It means children don’t have that time of the day where they can express themselves musically because music is a universal language and it needs to be in schools."

In a June 26 statement, the school district addressed the catchment changes and the difficulties the district has had with its growing enrollment and limited classroom space. 

“After a lengthy consultation process and multiple proposals, the Board has landed on a solution that we feel best addresses the issue of overcrowding in our schools,” shared board chair Jordan Watters. 

“This has not been an easy decision for the Board, however, we are confident that the latest recommendations will provide a long-term solution and best accommodate the needs of families across our current 47 schools."