Splitting French immersion students not the solution to overcrowding: parents
Ericka Caissie has 2 children in French Immersion at Spring Street Academy, shes afraid her children might be forced to change schools because of overcrowding. Colin MacLean - Transcontinental Media
Moving French immersion students from Spring Street Academy to another school is not the way to solve the school's overcrowding problem, say parents.
A group of five parents attended a Chignecto-Central regional education services committee meeting last night to voice their concerns about the overflow of students in their school.
They were there representing a larger group of parents who believe moving several classes worth of French students to Cumberland North Academy is only a temporary solution. The problem of overcrowding is not going to go away.
"A lot of parents are discouraged and scared," said presenter Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin.
There has been so much negativity surrounding the program that some parents have threatened to either pull their kids from it or not sign them up all together. Either way it's bad for the strength of the overall program.
We are here tonight to ask the school bored to keep the program together in the same building and to ask they look at other options, she said.
"We don't want to believe it's a done deal but that's the impression we're getting," said parent Debbie Boudreau.
Nothing has been decided for sure yet, but splitting the class remains an option being discussed, said Noel Hurley, superintendent of Chignecto-Central Regional School Board.
"We want to have a long-term solution to the overcrowding problem, but we want to have one that's consistent with educational options."
"We don't want to just take students and put them here and there because we have empty spaces," he said.
When the program started seven years ago, there weren't enough resources for teachers or students. So the school looked to parents to help out. They raised the money that was needed and continue to support the program in any way they can, said parent Ericka Caissie.
"We have made sacrifices and will continue to do so," said Caissie.
The best solution for everybody might be to build a new West Highlands School with a 400 to 425 student capacity. The parents agree, they want to see the immersion program stay together even if it's at a new school, said Hurley.
"That's one encouraging thing about it, they are willing to look at options the same as we are," he said.