School catchment, French Immersion changes suggested in West Kelowna

Mount Boucherie Secondary continues to be over-capacity

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is expected to require a further eight portables by the 2025-26 school year to accommodate future growth while waiting for construction of the a secondary school for the Westside. (File photo)

West Kelowna parents are being presented with options from a review of school catchment changes suggested for the 2022-23 school year.

The review will impact the current English and French Immersion elementary, middle and secondary schools, as well as anticipate changes brought on by the opening of a new secondary school, which has approval in principle from the ministry of education but no confirmation of funding yet to start construction at the repurposed École George Pringle Elementary site.

A drop-in community consultation forum on the suggested changes will take place Tuesday, Nov. 23, 5 to 7 p.m. at the Mount Boucherie Secondary School gym.

The school district has already surveyed parents for feedback and will do so again after the public meeting.

A summary of the various considerations on the catchment review table include:

• Elementary French Immersion locations: one program for entire Wetside, located at Glenrosa Elementary; two programs located at Glenrosa Elementary and Hudson Road Elementary

• Secondary French Immersion locations: establish interim program at Mount Boucherie Secondary starting in 2023/24, with a permanent location to be determined when the new secondary school opens; continue to have Westside French Immersion served by Ecole Kelowna Secondary, with a permanent location to be determined when the new school opens.

• Move portion of Tallus Ridge from Mar Jok Elementary to Shannon Lake Elementary: allow students currently at Mar Jok Elementary or with siblings at Mar Jok in this area to continue at the school and Constable Neil Bruce Middle.

• When new secondary school opens, move Shannon Lake Elementary catchment from Constable Neil Bruce Middle to Glenrosa Middle: allow students currently at Constable Neil Bruce Middle or with siblings at the school to continue there and advance on to Mount Boucherie Secondary.

• For secondary catchments to match middle school catchments when the new high school opens.

• Move new development area in Smith Creek to Shannon Lake Elementary catchment.

• Move Goat’s Peak area to Peachland Elementary catchment.

The recommendations also highlight capital project priorities for the Westside beyond building the new secondary school: additions to Shannon Lake and Hudson Road elementary schools; new elementary/middle school in Smith Creek; and new elementary for Goat’s Peak.

School district staff report the Constable Neil Bruce Middle catchment area has one of the fastest-growing on the Westside, the anticipation being 270 to 300 new residential units being added annually over the next 20 years.

Meanwhile, the Glenrosa Middle catchment is not under the same enrolment pressures yet, but there are three development areas identified by the city that will generate 3,500 to 4,000 new residential units, with the impact of that residential growth not expected for another eight to 10 years.

And Mount Boucherie Secondary continues to be over-capacity, with 13 portables on-site, and projections calling for a further eight portables to accommodate future growth by the 2025-26 school year.

The school district has a bylaw variance for the current 13 portables on-site and plans to seek additional temporary accommodations from the city for the additional portables with the new secondary school coming online and the city vacating its current city hall operations from the neighbouring community centre by January 2023, which will help alleviate traffic congestion and parking concerns.

The Central Okanagan Board of Education wants to finalize Westside catchment and French Immersion program changes as well as timelines for those changes at its Jan. 26, 2022, meeting, following on recommendations submitted by the planning and facilities committee meeting.

READ MORE: Plans for new secondary school in West Kelowna approved by province

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