Parents pan plan to move students from Waverley West school: ‘Things are getting disrupted’

Overcrowding in the Pembina Trails School Division is causing uncertainty for local families.

Increased enrollment at South Pointe School means 91 students at the K-8 school may be moved this fall, the division said.

Pembina Trails School Division superintendent Ted Fransen told 680 CJOB the affected students live in Richmond West and Fairfield Park, and will join students in that community.

Catchments are sometimes fluid, he said, and the South Pointe School catchment for the English program right now is just the community of South Pointe.

He said the French Immersion catchment for South Pointe School had a grandfather provision, but now that has too change to make room.

“There are some students who live in Richmond West and Fairfield Park — which is not part of South Pointe — who have been allowed to go to South Pointe so that French Immersion could be a little closer to their home,” said Fransen.

“In hindsight, we realize there’s not enough room at South Pointe for that to be sustained. We have informed the parents that the board will consider a motion to align the catchment so that South Pointe School is just serving the kids who live in South Pointe.”

He said enrollment projections aren’t a hard, fast science, which is why they’re called projections.

Provincial policy

Fransen also said the division has twice asked for portable classrooms, but the provincial policy is to fill up nearby schools before bringing in portables.

“They have told us and they’ve told all other school divisions in the province that before they spend money on new portable classrooms, they are directing school divisions to fully utilize all available empty seats in neighbouring schools.”

Area parent Jim Smith told 680 CJOB his daughters attend South Pointe School, after already being shifted from Bonnycastle School — and one of them may now be heading to École Viscount Alexander.

“We’ve lived in the same house for 10 years, ever since our children started school, yet for some reason our children have had to change schools twice,” he said.

“You know, you do your best to provide a stable home for your children and here things are getting disrupted without any real consultation.”

Another parent, Susan, said it’s more than a one-school problem.

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