Greater Victoria school district to seek parents’ input on new boundaries

The Greater Victoria school district will start asking parents for comments next month on plans to redraw school boundaries as part of a review prompted by climbing enrolment and steady population growth.

The school district, the region’s largest with 44 schools and about 20,000 students, is expected to grow by about 2,000 students in the next decade.

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District superintendent Shelley Green said parents will be asked how they feel about boundary changes affecting where their children attend classes.

Information will be provided online and through newsletters, and surveys will be conducted.

The review will look at balancing enrolment across schools, transportation issues and the capacity of “families” of schools — groupings of elementary, middle and secondary schools attended by students from a particular area.

It could be a precursor to re-opening schools that have been closed. The district closed seven elementary schools from 2003 to 2007 in a time of declining enrolment.

The school board’s operations, policy and planning committee will look at survey results in December, followed by proposed boundaries being drawn.

Open houses will be held in January and February.

The review is already underway and student numbers are being analyzed around the district, said Green, noting that it will continue until spring.

“We wanted to give everybody a heads-up right now that it’s coming, so no one is surprised,” said Green. “And give them a really good outline of what the process is going to be.”

She said that any changes will not come into effect until September 2020.

Green said she recently exchanged emails with a concerned parent who was worried that the review could mean a move from the school where her child is enrolled.

“I’m very clear,” she said. “We’re not shifting any kids out of those buildings. If the boundaries change and they’re already in there, they will finish their time in that school.”

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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