About 100 people attended the public meeting with the SD6 board and staff last Thursday at McKim School. The purpose of the meeting was to seek input on the plans to reconfigure schools across the District to a K to 7, 8 to 12 model. Meetings were also held in Invermere and Golden.
In Kimberley, the plan is to have three K to 7 schools, McKim, Lindsay Park and Marysville. The middle school would be no more and students would attend their neighbourhood school. This is all the result of the new Long Term Facility Plan, which is a requirement of the Ministry of Education.
SD6 Superintendent Paul Carriere says that after all the meetings, the board and staff have a lot of input to consider.
Board Chair Amber Byklum chaired the meeting and told those attending that after going through the key points of the report, there would be an opportunity for questions and feedback and that notes would be taken in order that all input can be reviewed.
“It was conveyed that the draft recommendations are aimed at setting up the zone to be able to best manage programs and enrolments, reduce the amount of bussing by having more children attend their neighborhood school for longer, and reduce the number of transitions students go through, in the long term,” Carriere said. “People understand that there is a problem with balancing numbers at the elementary schools at the present time, with Lindsay Park over capacity and the other schools slightly under.”
This doesn’t mean there weren’t concerns with what is proposed.
“There were concerns expressed about the timeline of 2017-18 being too ambitious, about building modifications, about dividing intermediate students between schools making the peer groups smaller, and about perceived inequity of opportunity between students attending McKim vs the smaller schools if the change goes ahead,” Carriere said. “There were a significant number of comments that people prefer the status quo, i.e. “if it ain’t broke…” However, there was also some support for more students being able to attend their neighborhood school for longer instead of having to ride the bus.”