Red Deer public school students brace for major changes in 2017

Plenty of Red Deer Public elementary students will be swapping schools once the district’s new elementary school opens in Inglewood in September 2017.

Plenty of Red Deer Public elementary students will be swapping schools once the district’s new elementary school opens in Inglewood in September 2017.

Changes to school attendance boundaries were being presented to school board trustees on Wednesday.

The board will defer its final decision on the changes until its Jan. 27 meeting to allow for community input and response.

Apart from students living in Inglewood, Vanier and Vanier East who will attend the new kindergarten-to -Grade-5 school built for 500 students, major changes are also in store for students at Pines School that houses the Spanish bilingual program, at Grandview School and Mountview School.

“We’re going to re-purpose Grandview School to house our Spanish bilingual program. We’ve really been surprised by how successful that program is. Every year just more and more families are choosing that program so we want to give it the space to expand,” superintendent Stu Henry said on Wednesday.

The Spanish program currently has about 120 students.

Pines School will be closed and held in reserve.

“With all the construction happening in that northeast corner, by Clearview Ridge and Timberlands, we may need a release valve in the next few years so we may just reopen it to take care of some of the neighbourhoods over there. But that would also depend whether we get another school in the next few years.”

Henry said the south end of Red Deer has too many old schools in aging-out neighbourhoods all close together

By moving the Spanish bilingual program to Grandview, most English students at Grandview will be amalgamated at Mountview School.

Grandview students from Rosedale will to go Barrie Wilson School.

He said most of the changes make sense because students will live closer to their school.

“For instance, Inglewood students right now go to Mountview and they’ll be able to go to a school right in their neighbourhood. Vanier students, instead of going all the way to Barrie Wilson — which is really far — will go to Inglewood. Rosedale students will be able to go to Barrie Wilson instead of Grandview.”

He said a small number of students currently at Grandview and who live downtown will travel a little bit farther, but they will be switching to Mountview which is pretty close to Grandview.

“We’re not sending anybody across the city.”

He said it’s been a complicated, 14-month process for Red Deer Public Schools to develop school attendance boundaries and narrow it down to four possible scenarios.

“I think we had 17 in-person meetings. We did an online process and heard from 1,000 of our citizens, and I think 3,000 ideas shared. A lot of those ideas really helped shape the recommendation I’m taking to the board.”

Other elements of the school attendance boundaries plan includes:

l Mountview School continues as a dual-track English and French immersion school.

l Students living in Laredo will be redirected to Mattie McCullough School.

l French immersion students at Barrie Wilson School from Vanier and Lancaster will go to Mountview School.

l Growth at Gateway Christian School will be accommodated by maximizing existing space, request for modular classroom space and shared use of space at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School.

l Parents can still access school of choice, however restrictions will be in place at schools needing to accommodate future growth.

Details on the plan can be found online at http://www.rdpsd.ab.ca/documents/general/Agenda-2016-01-13.pdf.

The new $12.3-million school in Inglewood will alleviate the space crunch Red Deer Public is experiencing in most of its schools.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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