Citizen Letter to the Editor – School district policy dividing families

My two older children go to Peden Hill.

I also have two younger children, one of whom starts school in September.

We live about eight blocks away from Peden Hill. On the day of registration we went to Peden Hill to register my daughter, but we were told that because we lived closer to Westwood, we would have to go there and to request a transfer.

Figuring that her two older siblings go to Peden Hill it would not be a problem getting her transferred. We were wrong.

I contacted the school asking to speak to the principal and was told she was too busy to talk.

I was then told by the secretary that we would have to wait till August to find out if she got in and that there were only three spaces left. We have four children and I really don’t think its appropriate for them to go to two different schools.

Something has to be done.

D. Ross Prince George

 

DPAC had released a report in February that referred to some of the issues around kindergarten registration that would be coming up. In the recommendation section of the report, we state:

As an example, it appears that elementary school capacities are being reached or exceeded in some areas, while other areas have excess capacity…

The district policy 5119, for student registration and transfers, was recently revised. This revised policy gives more emphasis to catchment for regular schools and programs, rather than allowing children to register in whichever school they wish. This policy will be more used in the future, given the implementation of full time kindergarten, the increased numbers in the building of classes, growth in different areas of the city, and the upcoming increase in elementary school aged children across the district. Some schools will not have any room for additional children, and some schools would be faced with an inability to add more children without rebuilding classes and adding teachers.

The revised policy does not appear to give the school district any clear  responsibility to transport children to a school that they can be accommodated in, should their catchment school (or other local schools) be too full to fit them. The school district may have unwritten, customary policies as to how this issue is handled – but it is the written policy that must be followed. It is unclear if any record is kept when children are turned away from a school due to capacity issues.

DPAC is hearing of a number of parents having problems getting their children into schools, but this is only anecdotal evidence.

http://sd57dpac.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Enrolment-History-and-Projections-updated-Feb-22-2012.pdf

Additionally, DPAC had comments when policy 5119, which governs student registration and transfer was revised:

http://sd57dpac.ca/2010/12/comments-welcome-on-policy-5119/

We have heard from parents at other schools who have been informed that their application to transfer their kindergarten child to the same school their elder sibling is registered in will only be reviewed in mid-September. This is not an acceptable situation for parents to be in.

 

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