DPAC recently wrote a letter to the District, with concerns around the notice of motions, the wording of the Duchess Park motion, and concerns around the method and numbers used in their analysis.
Duchess Park motion:
“that the Board direct the Superintendent to enforce the existing catchment area for Duchess Park Secondary school, regular program, on a graduated basis as indicated in the Appendix, beginning with new enrolment for the 2017-18 school year, until such time as Duchess Park Secondary, regular program, enrolls catchment area students only.”
The intent of the Duchess Park motion seems to be to limit enrolment of non-catchment students, so as to have room for students at the school. An example given at the board meeting was that 135 students attended Duchess Park last year, who live in the DP Todd catchment.
However, it was unclear if students enrolled at a feeder elementary school would still be entitled to transition to Duchess Park for grade 8, if they did not live in the Duchess Park catchment. As an example, Spruceland Elementary is a feeder school for Duchess Park, and that school is physically located in the DP Todd catchment. According to policy, a student is entitled to attend either the “secondary school serving the catchment area in which the student resides”, “or the secondary school to which his or her current [elementary] school is linked”. Also according to policy, students may register at a choice elementary school no matter what catchment they live in, and may enrol at a regular school in a different catchment if there is space in that school.
We have received clarification from the district that the motion does not attempt to override policy 5119, which allows for transition to grade 8 from feeder schools. Some examples:
- a family living in Kelly Road catchment but was granted out-of-catchment admission to Edgewood and is attending Edgewood in Grade 7- Will the Grade 7 student be entitled to attend Duchess Park for Grade 8? Yes, Duchess Park is the designated secondary school for Edgewood.
- family living in DP Todd catchment but was attending the school-of-choice Spruceland in Grade 7- Will the Grade 7 student be entitled to attend Duchess Park for Grade 8? Yes, Duchess Park is the designated secondary school for Spruceland Traditional. This student would also be entitled to attend DP Todd because of home address.
- family living in Duchess Park catchment but was attending school-of-choice Polaris Montessori in Grade 7- Will the Grade 7 student be entitled to attend Duchess Park for Grade 8? Yes, entitled because of home address. This student is also entitled to attend PGSS as the designated Montessori Secondary School.
The district has indicated that they will have the company that provided them with the enrolment projection data respond regarding the assumptions that were made, to see if the analysis took into consideration all aspects of current SD57 policy on catchment and registration – that students living in a non-Duchess Park catchment may be entitled to attend Duchess Park.
DPAC has concerns around capacity for students in different schools in this district. As a district, we will all need to respond to these challenges. We need to ensure that those affected have an opportunity to provide input, that that input is used in the decision making process, the data used is accurate, and that decision making process is transparent.