A shift of the Shannon Lake Elementary catchment to École Glenrosa Middle has drawn the largest response from parents in the second phase of the catchment review consultation process for Westside schools.
The move is proposed to help ease the unmanageable capacity issue facing Constable Neil Bruce Middle, where Shannon Lake school students would normally graduate to, while École Glenrosa Middle can accommodate more capacity once the new secondary school opens.
The new Westside Secondary opening is targeted for 2025-26, which will be able to absorb the Grade 9s at Ecole Glenrosa Middle creating the added space to accommodate the Shannon Lake Elementary students.
However, while the new secondary has been approved in principle by the ministry of education, no funding announcement for the new school has been made yet. The school of education has opted to repurpose the École George Pringle Elementary site for the new school.
In the survey responses, parents cited concerns about the additional distance Shannon Lake Elementary students and parents will need to travel to attend their middle school.
School district staff acknowledges that issue, but notes the catchment change will provide certainty moving forward and allow students in the same neighbourhood to attend school together. And all students in the Shannon Lake catchment would be eligible for school bus transportation to École Glenrosa Middle.
The other proviso to the recommendation is it will only occur when the new secondary school opens, and students attending Constable Neil Bruce Middle would not be displaced when the switchover occurs.
Further, the school district suggests providing catchment area priority to students whose catchment school has changed and a sibling is currently attending Constable Neil Bruce Middle.
Meanwhile, a similar catchment review for Okanagan Mission schools has drawn attention to the future use of Bellevue Creek Elementary, which was closed as as school and leased out by the school district to a private childcare service.
It has the space inventory to house 12 classrooms and can accommodate more than 270 students.
School district staff have developed three options that would enable the existing childcare program to operate for one additional year, with expanded school district childcare programs expected to come on stream at Ann McClymont Elementary and Okanagan Mission Secondary by the summer/fall 2023.
The options are:
• The catchment of Bellevue Creek for the 2022-23 school year remains the same as the current English catchment for École Dorothea Walker Elementary and the recommended catchment changes take place in the 2023-24 school year.
• Temporary reduction to the proposed catchment of Bellevue Creek in the 2022-23 school year, with full implementation in the 2023-24 school year.
• Bellevue Creek reopens as a K-1 dual track program (English and French Immersion) in the 2022-23 school year and moves to a K-2 program the next year.
Besides Bellevue Creek, other overriding concerns are redrawing catchment areas comes from three Mission elementary schools at 129 per cent utilization this year and already equipped with nine portables; Canyon Falls Middle School is currently at 96 per cent utilization and has limited expansion options due to site constraints.
Final staff catchment along with French Immersion programming recommendations for Okanagan Mission and Westside schools will be presented to the planning and facilities committee meeting Jan. 5.
They will be subjected to a further public survey response from Jan. 6-13, followed by recommendations advanced to the Central Okanagan trustees for final consideration at the Jan. 26 board of education meeting.