Simons: Exploding Edmonton population presents impossible dilemma for suburban schools
By Paula Simons, Edmonton Journal March 6, 2013
EDMONTON – It’s a bitter no-win scenario.
The Edmonton Public School District’s almost-brand-new schools in southwest Edmonton, Johnny Bright and Esther Starkman, are full to overflowing. Despite the fact that they are huge campuses, especially designed to be expanded with modular classrooms, they’re just not large enough to serve all the new families who’ve moved into their suburban catchments. The district faced an impossible dilemma. How do you choose between denying access to a neighbourhood school to tiny kindergarten kids, and uprooting older children, already comfortably established in a school community?
There’s no right answer. And so, this week, the district announced a decision that has enraged hundreds of families. Next year, all Grade 8 and 9 students will be moved out of the new schools, sent instead to three south-side junior highs in mature neighbourhoods, all with excess capacity: Riverbend, Avalon, and D.S. MacKenzie. And all current students at Bright and Starkman who live outside the school boundaries or are officially registered as Catholic students, regardless of age, will have to leave.
“The rate of growth in those neighbourhoods has been unprecedented, and we’ve had to take unprecedented measures,” said Edmonton Public’s superintendent, Edgar Schmidt.
“One of the principles that guided me was to ensure that our youngest students were able to attend the school closest to where they live. Our older students do have the resilience and the capacity to use other modes of transportation.”
Kids being forced out of the beautiful new schools they’d come to love are understandably upset. Parents are furious. They have every right to be.
Yet, it’s hard to know what other choice the district could have made.
To read the full article, please click here: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/edmonton/Simons+Exploding+Edmonton+population+presents+impossible/8059463/story.html
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