Central Okanagan  

Enrolment pressure in Lake Country

Elementary schools in Lake Country will begin to feel enrolment pressure beginning in September.

That's the conclusion of a recently concluded Long-Term Facility Plan conducted for the Central Okanagan School District.

The squeeze will be felt most at Davidson Road Elementary where the birth rate is 'high' within the catchment area.

In order to inform parents in Lake Country of short and long range plans within DS23 Superintendent Hugh Gloster distributed a letter Monday to all elementary school children.

The letter states in full:

The Board of Education for the Central Okanagan School District recently completed the development of a Long-Term Facility Plan to help guide future planning. A number of important conclusions were reached with regard to Lake Country as part of this process.

The evidence points to the fact that Lake Country will experience enrolment pressure at the elementary school level starting in September 2013. The most significant growth will occur at Davidson Road Elementary where the birth rate is high within the catchment area, and new residential developments are underway.

By 2020, area elementary schools are projected to be 500 students over the existing capacity. Based on this information, the Board of Education passed the following motion:

THAT: Until September 2014, manage elementary growth at existing elementary schools either through the revision of catchment areas, redirection of students and/or the placement of portables. During the next year, further discussions/focus groups should consider possible solutions to providing a “middle school” in Lake Country, including a school-­within-­a-school.

The purpose of this letter is to confirm that we anticipate approximately 30 more students to register for Davidson Road Elementary for September of 2013 than the school will have the capacity to accommodate.

Fortunately, Peter Greer Elementary will have sufficient space to handle this ‘overflow population“, so no portable classrooms will be needed for the upcoming school year.

The School District will be providing bus transportation for the students who live within the Davidson Road catchment area who are redirected to Peter Greer.

It is very important to note that the registration period for the 2013-2014 school year opens on Monday, February 4, 2013. (Refer to the link on the District’s website, www.sd23.bc.ca for more information.) This is primarily for new Kindergarten students and for other students who will be entering a new school for the first time. (Students who are already registered in a school, or are scheduled to move to George Elliot Secondary School for Grade 8, do not need to re­-register.)

The Board of Education has an established Policy that includes a set of priorities that govern the placement of students, and these are outlined in Policy 405R.

This information is available under the Board of Education link on the School District’s Website.

It is critical to note that if multiple new students all fall within the same priority of acceptance according to Policy, then acceptance is granted based on who are the first to register. ln the past, at other schools in our District, this has resulted in parents lining up well in advance of school-­opening on the first day of the registration period.

Parents of new students and those entering Kindergarten for the first time, are advised to consider this information as they plan for the 2013-2014 school year.

The Board of Education has asked that staff convene a focus group of parent representatives from all four of the schools in Lake Country in the near future.

This group will begin planning for the accommodation of the additional students who are projected to arrive in the 2014-2015 school year and beyond.

More detail on this process will be sent out through school principals and PAC presidents in the near future.

During the 2013-2014 school year, a catchment area review will also be conducted in Lake Country to determine if there is a more suitable configuration for elementary school boundaries.

On behalf of the Board of Education and School District staff, I want to thank the members of the Lake Country community for their engagement in our consultation process to date.

Hugh Gloster Superintendent

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