No end for parent camp-outs

Parents finally made it through the doors of elementary schools up and down the Okanagan valley Monday morning. It was the annual 'sign up your child for kindergarten' day.

If parents did not get in line they might not have gotten a seat for their child because there are only so many seats in a class. If there are more kids than seats in the catchment area for the school there's a problem and kids are bussed to other schools.

Even students who live right beside a school have to be signed up, there is no guarantee your child will have a spot.

At Chute Lake Elementary and various other schools, such as  Dorothea Walker and Davidson Road, parents waited outside, some overnight, for the chance to register their children for kindergarten.

Many parents told Castanet they would do anything for their children including sitting for hours in the cold, but what they couldn't understand is why they were still forced to do so in this day and age.

According to School District 23 online registration is not available.

"At this point it is still the old fashioned, first come, first served, so they have to wait in line, mostly because there is such a demand for the area of school," says SD23 Vice-Chair Deb Butler.

Butler says the district is still at the early stages of looking into online registration and anticipates parents will still be lining up for a few more years.

"One thing you have to look at with online registration is whether everyone has access and that is still in issue. So at this point we are still doing come and stand in line to register at the school."

Due to scheduling issues Butler doesn't believe there are any other options available at the moment other than the 'wait your turn in line' or the possibility of online registration.

"You have to say when we are open for registration, when we are going to close registration, when we are going to shuffle kids, everything has a date."

When it comes to Chute Lake Elementary, which was reported to have the largest line-up of parents, Butler says adding more portables is not an option.

"It is a fairly small site for the size of the school, so we are at our limit as to how much extra space we can put there."

Butler explains the District facilities plan was recently completed which examined changing the grey configuration, to allow for the possibility of a middle school in the Mission.

"That will help to alleviate some the pressure we are seeing in the elementary schools there, but it is not going to happen tomorrow, it is a long ways off," she says.

When asked if the District had planned accordingly for the potential number of students at Chute Lake elementary, Butler replied they completed some fairly accurate projections.

"Yes we knew this was coming and we have been planning for it, so it is just a matter of trying to manage it the best way we can until we can add more space."

It seems the 'predictions' will not change the need, and parents will be lining up again next year.

Click here for parent's comments from our previous story.

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