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Parents talk attendance areas with RVS

By: Joel Dryden

  |  Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2013 04:38 pm

Mark Collins, a Chestermere parent, presented concerns to the board of trustees of RVS schools at the RVS Education Centre on May 28. Collins said of getting his voice heard, "this was my final opportunity to voice my opinion. If you don't speak up when you have the opportunity, you don't have the right to complain."
Mark Collins, a Chestermere parent, presented concerns to the board of trustees of RVS schools at the RVS Education Centre on May 28. Collins said of getting his voice heard, "this was my final opportunity to voice my opinion. If you don't speak up when you have the opportunity, you don't have the right to complain."
Joel Dryden/Rocky View Publishing

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Parents unsatisfied with proposed attendance areas for new Airdrie and Chestermere schools attended a special meeting on May 28 to present alternative proposals for board consideration.

Around 20 parents from the school district attended the meeting at the Rocky View Schools Education Centre in Airdrie.

“For clarification, tonight is not to serve as a debate. This is for special considerations,” said Bruce Pettigrew, chair of the board of trustees.

“We’ll take (these considerations) to the public board meeting on June 20.”

The meeting, which saw community members outline positions in 15-minute presentations, is part of an ongoing consultation by Rocky View Schools (RVS).

RVS plans on changing attendance areas in advance of the completion of two new Airdrie schools and a new K-9 school in Chestermere, all set to open in 2014.

Four presentations were heard by the board, which had to be submitted in advance by May 21. Three Airdrie parents, Stacy Kowal, Meghan Lanneville and Becky Harper prepared a presentation together outlining their concerns.

Kowal, who has a child in Grade 1 at Nose Creek Elementary and another about to begin kindergarten, said she was concerned the proposed plans would be detrimental to her child.

“My youngest son may have to change schools three times,” Kowal said.

“If (the new Windsong school) was to come in 2017, my son would have to change schools in grade four. I don’t want that for my kids. That’s why I moved here.”

Kowal, who had to change schools six times growing up, was concerned the presented attendance area options would make it difficult for her son to develop friendships.

“It was hard (growing up). I was always the new kid,” she said. “That’s why we’re so adamant and fighting so hard for our kids to stay in Nose Creek.”

The group of parents from Airdrie suggested Nose Creek Elementary restrict enrollment, accepting only new registrations from residents of Windsong and Prairie Springs for the 2014 to 2015 school year.

Following that, the parents suggested only siblings of enrolled students be accepted.

Kowal said she could only voice her concerns and hope the board implemented her solutions.

“At least we did something, at least we tried,” Kowal said. “Instead of sitting back, we did something.”

The board also heard presentations from Chestermere parents Jennifer Massig, Mark Collins and Tammy Lipsett.

Collins was concerned about losing the French Immersion program at Prairie Waters Elementary School.

“I wanted to talk about the importance that community may trump programming,” Collins said.

“Learning French Immersion can be very valuable later in life. (These schools) bring about the next members of our societies.”

The 15-minute presentations will now be reviewed and discussed by administration to determine feasibility, and recommendations will be brought to the board of trustees for a June 20 board meeting, also open to the public.

“It’s a difficult situation. People will perceive themselves negatively impacted,” Pettigrew said.

“We have to ... suit the best interests of all students in all the schools.”


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