How do you maximize space in the Sooke School District without overcrowding one school and under-utilizing another?
Answering that question and others is the rationale behind the next stage of a catchment boundary review consultation that includes a virtual town hall at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28. The town hall will outline proposals and provide parents with the opportunity to provide feedback on proposed changes, said Scott Stinson, superintendent of SD 62.
The review was necessary because the new catchment areas for Pexsisen Elementary and Centre Mountain Lellum Middle schools, which will open in September 2022, means the lines for some of the existing catchment boundaries need to be redrawn.
A Catchment Working Group has been studying areas of potential changes and gathering enrolment projections for existing catchments since spring. A ThoughtExchange will be open online from Oct. 28 to Nov. 13 to gather feedback.
The guiding principles for catchment boundaries include proximity to feeder schools, maximizing space in all existing schools, long-term sustainability and a host of other considerations, including student safety and minimizing disruption to students.
Some of the proposals include a reduction in the student population at David Cameron Elementary because of the larger number of students who live in west Langford near Pexsisen Elementary. Boundary lines would expand into Ruth King and Colwood elementary schools to balance the population at David Cameron.
Colwood Elementary’s population would decrease to create space so English program students in Belmont Park can attend a school closer to home. Those students are currently included in the catchment area for Crystal View Elementary.
The French Immersion program at Millstream Elementary would move to Crystal View. The new French Immersion catchment outside of Ecole John Stubbs would include the Millstream, Lakewood, Crystal View and Savory elementary schools’ boundaries.
The French Immersion program at Belmont Secondary would move to Royal Bay Secondary by gradually transitioning students from Belmont. French Immersion students currently enrolled at Belmont would complete their dual Dogwood at Belmont.
Grade 8 students from John Stubbs would begin attending Royal Bay in September 2021.
Stinson emphasized that the changes are only proposals at this time, and underlined the importance of participating in the virtual town hall and providing feedback through the ThoughtExchange before Nov. 13. The feedback will be presented to the Board of Education by the middle of December.
Visit sd62.bc.ca/ourdistrict/district-growth/catchment-review/ and sd62.bc.ca/our-district/district-growth/catchment-review/faq for more information.
SD 62, the fastest-growing school district in the province per capita, currently has 11,279 students enrolled. There are 5,193 students in elementary schools, 2,525 in middle schools, and 3,561 in secondary schools.