The school district would like nothing more than to reopen now-closed schools, school board chair Lyn Hall said Thursday in response to concerns about overcrowding raise during trustees’ monthly meeting earlier this week.
“Whether that be in Mackenzie, whether that be the Hart, College Heights area, we’d love to be able to do that,” Hall said in an interview Thursday.
During trustees’ meeting Tuesday night in Mackenzie, district parent advisory council chairman Don Sabo told trustees Heritage elementary school is at 136 per cent of its working capacity, Glenview elementary is at 122 per cent and College Heights is at 112 per cent.
“A lot of the crowding in the schools is the result of closing seven schools in this district,” Sabo said.
However, enrollment is expected to decline by a further 200 students next year, and Hall said that puts the thought of reopening closed schools out of the question for the time being.
“Our projections are status quo, we’re not seeing increases,” Hall said. “We’re going to lose a tremendous amount of kids out of Heather Park, we’re not seeing huge issues as far as enrollment increases at Glenview and then if we move to the western part of the city and up to the College Heights area, it’s kind of the same situation.
“We’ve been asked ‘why don’t you open Gladstone?’ Well, at this point, financially it’s just not viable.”
All that said, school district officials admit they were caught off guard by the revival in Mackenzie where an additional 30 students have been added to Morfee elementary’s enrollment since the beginning of the year.
“Mackenzie is a bit of an anomaly because it is seeing a resurgence,” Hall said. “We go with our projections and if something happens, we’ve told the community we will act as quickly as possible to facilitate making more room for kids.
“Now that’s a decision the board will have to make – what that more room for more kids means. Can we do it at Morfee? Do we have to look at a modular? Do we have to look at [reopening] Mackenzie elementary?
“That’s the decision the board will have to make.”