Sooke School District No. 62 superintendent Scott Stinson explains that most block classes at Belmont Secondary will be halved. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Sooke School District opens conversation on catchment boundary changes

Feedback solicited at virtual town hall Oct. 28

How do you maximize space in the Sooke School District without overcrowding one school and under-utilizing another?

Answering that question and others is the rationale behind the next stage of a catchment boundary review consultation that includes a virtual town hall at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28. The town hall will outline proposals and provide parents with the opportunity to provide feedback on proposed changes, said Scott Stinson, superintendent of SD 62.

The review was necessary because the new catchment areas for Pexsisen Elementary and Centre Mountain Lellum Middle schools, which will open in September 2022, means the lines for some of the existing catchment boundaries need to be redrawn.

“We are reaching out to the community with a proposal on how we can balance enrolment throughout the district with these two schools,” Stinson said.

READ ALSO: An inside look at one of SD62’s schools before students welcomed back

A Catchment Working Group has been studying areas of potential changes and gathering enrolment projections for existing catchments since spring. The group, made up of administration from various schools with input from district departments and senior executive, identified study areas and developed potential options for the board to consider. That information will be presented to staff and Parent Advisory Councils at each school in the district, the Sooke Parents Advisory Council, the French Advisory Committee, and parents and guardians through the virtual town hall. A ThoughtExchange will be open online from Oct. 28 to Nov. 13 to gather feedback.

The guiding principles for catchment boundaries include proximity to feeder schools, maximizing space in all existing schools, long-term sustainability and a host of other considerations, including student safety and minimizing disruption to students.

Some of the proposals include a reduction in the student population at David Cameron Elementary because of the larger number of students who live in west Langford near Pexsisen Elementary. Boundary lines would expand into Ruth King and Colwood elementary schools to balance the population at David Cameron.

Colwood Elementary’s population would decrease to create space so English program students in Belmont Park can attend a school closer to home. Those students are currently included in the catchment area for Crystal View Elementary.

The French Immersion program at Millstream Elementary would move to Crystal View. The new French Immersion catchment outside of Ecole John Stubbs would include the Millstream, Lakewood, Crystal View and Savory elementary schools’ boundaries.

READ ALSO: Sooke School District announces contractor for two new Langford schools

The French Immersion program at Belmont Secondary would move to Royal Bay Secondary by gradually transitioning students from Belmont. French Immersion students currently enrolled at Belmont would complete their dual Dogwood at Belmont.

Grade 8 students from John Stubbs would begin attending Royal Bay in September 2021.

Stinson emphasized that the changes are only proposals at this time, and underlined the importance of participating in the virtual town hall and providing feedback through the ThoughtExchange before Nov. 13. The feedback will be presented to the Board of Education by the middle of December.

Visit sd62.bc.ca/ourdistrict/district-growth/catchment-review/ and sd62.bc.ca/our-district/district-growth/catchment-review/faq for more information.

Billi-Jo Cavanaugh, president of the Sooke District Chapter of Canadian Parents for French, said in an email to the Gazette that they are looking forward to the consultation with the district to find out more, and are awaiting the guidance of the District’s French Advisory Committee, where all French programming decisions will be vetted to ensure changes are in the best interests of the students, families, staff and program.

“We look forward to hearing more from affected parents and encourage them to email us at cpfsooke@hotmail.com so that we can include their perspective in our advocacy on this matter, and join their voice to ours,” Cavanaugh said.

SD 62, the fastest-growing school district in the province per capita, currently has 11,279 students enrolled. There are 5,193 students in elementary schools, 2,525 in middle schools, and 3,561 in secondary schools.

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com

SD62

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kathy MacNeil, president and chief executive officer of Island Health, Dawn Thomas, acting deputy health minister and Island Health’s vice president, Indigenous health and diversity and Chief Don Tom of Tsartlip First Nation, stand out Saanich Peninsula Hospital Tuesday morning, when they also answered questions about a new report that “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in the provincial health care system. (Island Health/Submitted)
Head of Island Health says Saanich Peninsula Hospital not part of racist guessing game

Tsartlip First Nations Chief Don Tom welcomes changes following report but promises future scrutiny

Caroline Sousa, Bela Spick and her son Mateo marched along Prospect Lake Road in November 2019 to bring attention to the unsafe conditions on the road. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich reduces Prospect Lake Road speed limit to 30 km/h

New speed limit in effect as of Dec. 1 from Goward Road to Estelline Road

Royal Bay Secondary’s leadership class, comprised of Grade 9 through 12 students, is part of the student team organizing this year’s 10,000 Tonight event that shifts entirely online for 2020. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
West Shore student food drive shifts entirely online

Drive-thru option removed from 10,000 Tonight in light of COVID-19 restrictions

Colwood resident, Geoffrey Irwin, has been missing since Sep. 27. His vehicle was found in Vancouver on Nov. 25. (Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
Police search for Colwood man last seen in September

Geoffrey Irwin’s vehicle was found in Vancouver Nov. 25

BC Transit confirmed on Dec. 1 that a Langford employee has tested positive for COVID-19. (Courtesy of BC Transit)
Langford transit worker tests positive for COVID-19

Island Health is conducting contact tracing for the case

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
B.C. baseball community mourns death of legendary Vancouver Island coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Most Read