Greater Victoria School District 61 has released a survey for public consultation ahead of a review of scholl catchment boundaries. File photo

Greater Victoria School Board to consider reopening schools with new boundaries

Public survey released ahead of boundary review

With too many schools at capacity and others with room to spare, the Greater Victoria School Board is seeking a balance.

This week SD61 launched a survey as part of its official catchment boundary review that will revisit all school boundaries. This comes as an additional 1,800 students in SD61 are projected over the next 10 years. However, the review is not just about balancing out the number of students across each school. In addition to considering travel distances to schools, SD61 is also reviewing student access to programs of choice.

“For many years, the district saw a decrease in student enrolment that gave students greater flexibility to transfer across catchment boundaries and attend any school of their choice in our district,” said superintendent Shelley Green.

These programs of choice include French immersion and sports academies as well as returning the two schools of choice, Cloverdale Traditional and South Park Family schools, as catchment schools. As it stands, Cloverdale and South Park are open to anyone in the district through an application process.

Read More: School board puts student siblings first

Ironically, the former Richmond elementary building will need seismic upgrading despite having already undergone seismic upgrades once before, as the provincial standards have since changed.

Read More: Richmond, Uplands will need seismic upgrades to reopen

However, before any of the above decisions can be made, the district’s 25-question survey will measure the values of the community to help inform their decisions. The survey seeks to understand if school location affects where families will live and asks whether portables at some schools are an accepted solution to make programs of choice available there and at other schools.

Read More: Cloverdale celebrates history in the making

This comes as the second step in the district’s long-term facilities plan that followed a change in student enrolment priorities last year. A draft summary is planned for public review in the Spring of 2019 with a goal of implementing the new boundaries for September 2020.

The survey is available in print and in five different languages (Spanish, Filipino, Arabic, Mandarin and Punjabi) from the District Board Office (556 Boleskine Rd.) until Friday, Nov. 30 at 4 p.m.

reporter@saanichnews.com


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