School District 69 has made catchment changes to mitigate overcrowding across the district, in particular at Springwood Elementary School.
Superintendent Peter Jory indicated a sudden surge in enrolment in one sector has led to an increase in student population at Springwood and also raised concerns about the potential for future pressures at Arrowview Elementary and Ballenas Secondary schools.
In a presentation to the school board at a special meeting held earlier this year Jory recommended Phase One of boundaries changes to reduce the Springwood catchment and shift students toward Ecole Oceanside Elementary. He also suggested realigning the boundaries between Qualicum Beach and Errington Elementary to alleviate the ongoing concerns with travel distance at the west end of the catchment.
The board eventually approved moving the boundary line on the north side of Island Highway East to Moilliet Street making the Temple Street neighbourhood part of the École Oceanside Elementary catchment on a go-forward basis.
One parent, Carmen Crampton, initially had concerns,. She has three children currently attending Springwood Elementary but they reside on Temple Street. However, she indicated they were not pressured by the district to move her children to another school.
“Yes, we are affected,” said Crampton. “The school board called me a few days after the change was made. She told my why they were moving the borders and would I be interested in moving the kids to Oceanside. I said ‘no’, that we were happy with Springwood.”
The school board intends to grandfather students already attending who have the catchment area adjusted or have been approved for cross boundary to Springwood. But for siblings planning to attend Springwood, approval would be depend on actual capacity.
The board also endorsed the realigning of the boundaries between Qualicum Beach and Errington Elementary Schools with the boundary line being west of McLean Road.
If Phase One is not sufficient enough to relieve capacity pressures, Jory presented a number of options the school board could consider at a later date. It includes: Adjust Pym Street boundary east to reduce the Springwood Elementary catchment further; Move San Pareil neighbourhood to Nanoose Bay Elementary to reduce Springwood Elementary catchment further; Adjust the Qualicum Road boundary east to reduce the Arrowview Elementary catchment; Move Columbia Beach neighbourhood to École Oceanside Elementary catchment to reduce the Arrowview Elementary catchment; and Move the secondary school boundary to reduce the Ballenas Secondary catchment.
The issue of overcrowding at Springwood Elementary School was raised by the Parents Advisory Committee.