Community asked for input on overcapacity issue

Christine Wood/Staff Writer / Staff writer
January 12, 2013 01:00 AM

School District No. 46 is looking for community input as it deals with the soon to be over-capacity issues at West Sechelt Elementary School.

West Sechelt Elementary School will soon be over capacity and School District No. 46 (SD46) has to decide what to do about it. They want the public's input before a decision is made.

That's why SD46 has scheduled five consultation meetings at schools that may be affected, as well as a regional consultation meeting for the rest of the community to attend. Each meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. and will give community members a chance to ask questions and voice concerns.

The meeting at Kinni-kinnick Elementary School will take place Jan. 15, Halfmoon Bay Elementary's meeting is Jan. 16, the Davis Bay Elementary meeting is scheduled for Jan. 17, Chatelech Secondary will have their say Jan. 18 and West Sechelt Elementary's consultation meeting is planned for Jan. 21.

The regional consultation meeting will take place at Chat, Feb. 5 at 6:30 p.m.

SD46 has already consulted with parent advisory groups, teachers and principals resulting in a handful of possible plans that could deal with the over-capacity issue at West Sechelt.

"Some of the ideas include adding portables, restructuring the Sechelt area to have the elementary schools operate as K-6 schools with the Grade 7s moving to Chatelech, having the grades 6 and 7 from West Sechelt bused out to Kinnikinnick in a similar matter to what's happening at Davis Bay currently, and then the possibility of Kinnikinnick being configured as a [grades] 3 to 7 school with West Sechelt operating as the Sechelt area's K-2 school," said SD46 secretary treasurer Nicholas Weswick.

SD46 is also open to hearing new ideas from the public and suspect some new proposals may come from the community during the consultation meetings.

"These kinds of consultation meetings are always a great way for the district and our community to have conversations about education," added superintendent of schools Patrick Bocking. "It's always exciting to talk about how to best meet the needs of our students, so that's something that I'm really excited about, frankly. It's a great opportunity to have those discussions."

SD46 hopes to have all the information gathered and compiled for discussion at the March school board meeting where trustees can discuss and modify, if they wish, the preferred plan to tackle the over-capacity issue.

"There are only a couple of options that could be implemented for the 2013/2014 school year, such as changes in catchment areas and the addition of portables," Weswick said. "The other options that we've listed would require a significant amount of planning to implement and we're not projecting those would happen until the 2014/15 school year."

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