The Greater Victoria School District is sharing new proposed catchment boundaries after collecting input from the community and is inviting final input, particularly on specific issues related to individual school changes, in a third phase of community consultation.
It has been almost 20 years since the Greater Victoria School District last reviewed school catchments. The District is undertaking this review and proposing new catchment boundaries due to increasing student enrolment and limited space in some of its schools.
“The Board of Education has heard from hundreds of parents and guardians, some who are supportive of the proposed changes and others who have requested alternative solutions to solve the overcrowding problem,” shared Board Chair Jordan Watters. “There are many factors for the Board of Education to consider and these decisions are never easy. It can be very challenging trying to find an optimal solution when you have 47 different schools, many voices and specific requests you need to listen to and consider. We understand that we will not be able to make everyone happy; however, we’ve made a number of changes since reviewing the input from the community—and we are proud that the District has been able to accommodate so many of the specific neighbourhood requests we’ve received.”
“We are one of the fastest growing school districts in the province this year. The District’s student population continues to grow significantly and legislation requiring smaller class sizes has impacted the availability of space in our schools,” noted Superintendent Shelley Green. “We must adjust boundaries to ensure there is adequate space in each school to provide the most optimal learning environments for all our students.”
The Catchment Boundary Review started in Spring 2018. The District engaged its community in the Thetis Vale area of the District to help address capacity issues. While this consultation showed strong preferences in this specific community, it was clear that due to class size and composition requirements as well as increased enrolment, that the process needed to be broader.
In November of 2018, the District launched phase one of a district-wide consultation process including a survey that collected responses from more than 5,100 members of the community, which included students and parents and guardians of current and future students. The feedback identified the most important considerations for families and students when reviewing the school boundaries, as well as specific neighbourhood needs. All information gathered help to inform the boundary proposals shared in phase two of the review.
In January, the District proposed changes to school boundaries for the public to review and launched phase two of the consultation process. The District hosted three open houses and gathered input online to ensure parents, guardians, staff and members of the public had the opportunity to participate and provide input, including at the school level. During the phase two consultation, more than 400 community members attended the open houses and over 1,000 people submitted input online about the proposed changes. For the full survey results, input collected at the open houses, and the Phase Two Summary Report visit: www.sd61.bc.ca/news-events/community/catchment-boundary-review/
After sharing the input from phase two with the Board of Education, the District has made additional changes to the school boundaries and is providing new updated recommendations and launching a phase three consultation program, focused on school-based input.
“We are pleased to see additional revisions in this second proposal. Each time we have revised the plan or recommendations we’ve come to a better outcome,” noted Board Chair, Jordan Watters. “We are very appreciative of all the staff’s hard work and all those in the public who took time to provide feedback and help shape this process.”
“The District is trying to accommodate the needs of all of our students, families and staff, which is why we are going back to the school communities in phase three to get their input” added Superintendent Green. “The District has tried to be thoughtful when considering all of the potential options and outcomes. Unfortunately, remaining as we have been is not an option, so we are trying to find the best solution that works best for our learning community as a whole.”
Review the Phase Three Catchment Boundary Review Brochure for an overview of the new proposed boundary changes. Please find it attached.
To review the new proposed catchment boundary changes in detail, use the District’s Interactive Digital Map at: www.sd61.bc.ca/schools/school-catchment-boundaries/
The District will be hosting meetings to consult with the schools directly impacted by the proposals. The proposed recommendations will come back to the Board of Education on Thursday, May 23, 2019, for final deliberations.
Catchment Boundary Review School Meetings
Cloverdale May 7, 2019, from 7:00—8:00 p.m.
South Park May 7, 2019, from 7:00—8:00 p.m.
Margaret Jenkins May 8, 2019, from 7:00—8:00 p.m.
Richmond May 8, 2019, from 7:00—8:00 p.m.
Quadra May 9, 2019, from 7:00—8:00 p.m.
McKenzie May 9, 2019, from 7:00—8:00 p.m.
*Each meeting will be tailored to the school communities involved. Invitations will be sent out from the schools that could be affected.
For additional information about the catchment boundary review process: www.sd61.bc.ca/catchment-boundary-review