By Rhonda Massad
Last week parents of Sherwood Forest Elementary School and St. Paul’s Elementary School found themselves petitioning against Lester B. Pearson School Board’s move to merge the two schools and up the program to Français Plus. This weeks petition to the LBPSB with regards to the merging of zones 15-and-16 last December will have more than 33 students moved from their current schools.
Accroding to father Matthew Tam his children along with the 31 others will either go to a school that has no tie with our community, or cross two highways to a school that is far from home while their own schools have more than 30% empty seats waiting to be filled in next year.
Merging zones 15 and 16, will mean for some families, no more bus service to their current school. See below for zone descriptions.
“We are presently at St. Pauls because that is where we are zoned for by the school board,” parent Kirsten Brues explained, “even though Margaret Manson is closer. We would have gone to Margaret Manson had we been zoned for there when my first son started school 8yrs ago.”
According to Brues, her children will be moved under the new zoning to St. Charles Elementary School in Pierrefonds from Beaconsfield. She claims LBPSB is suggesting they ask for a voluntary transfer to their school of choice.
“Then we would have no bus and would need to make that request every year. Also, it does not solve the bigger issue — our zones have been given unacceptable/illogical school choices,” She continued.
According to LBPSB Chairperson, Suanne Stein Day, this is once again reflective of never being able to please everyone.
“Capacity is certainly not the only consideration we took into account for our zoning changes. We have to look at many factors such as programs, future demographics, transportation issues, etc,” she explained.
“We understand the concerns that some of the parents are expressing and have already responded to them that they should register at their zoned school and then request a transfer to the school they prefer (we are getting transfer requests to St. Paul, St. Edmunds, Sherwood Forest and Margaret Manson),” she went on. “There should be no issues with these families getting their children into the school of their choice. Our transportation planning process will begin once our registration numbers are in. We can then look at options for transportation, but at this stage we cannot make guarantees. These zones are much closer to St. Charles school than to St. Paul for instance. If the numbers warrant, we can look at transportation options”
“We have successfully collected signatures from parents of all 33 students in both schools,” parent Matthew Tam said. “With a brief prepared by Kristen, we delivered the petition to the school board on February 4. We request a resolution in the coming meeting of Council of commissioners on February 22 We hope the board can hear the voice of these families and make their decision wisely.”
Zone 15 :
St-Charles (W) from Highway 40 to Brunswick – Brunswick from St-Charles to Houde – Houde from Brunswick to Highway 40 – Highway 40 from Houde to St-Charles
St. Paul Sherwood Forest St-Charles (W) from Brunswick to Kirkland / Pierrefonds boundary Kirkland / Pierrefonds boundary from St-Charles to Houde – Houde from Kirkland / Pierrefonds boundary to Brunswick from Houde to St-Charles