Core School consultations gather community feedback

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A trio of core school consultation public meetings were hosted by the Chinook School Division on Oct. 28 to 30 in order to collect feedback regarding the future of Swift Current's schools.

With the opening of Ecole Centennial School as a K to 8 school as a replacement for Ecole Oman School, and the decision to turn Fairview School into a K to 8 school, the School Division is consulting with the community regarding the futures of Ashely Park, Central and O.M. Irwin Schools. The School Division is looking into grade reconfiguration options and possible renovations while considering the fact operating two schools is more cost effective than operating three.

Once Centennial opens, the projected total enrolment of the three core schools is expected to be 685 students, while the total functional capacity of the three schools is 1,200 students. Ashley Park currently has an enrolment of 260 students, with a functional capacity of 264. Central School has 304 students with a functional capacity of 336. O.M. Irwin school has a current enrolment of 279 students, with a functional capacity estimated at 600 students.

The meeting series was the first opportunity to hear back on the results from a public opinion survey conducted in September. A total of 208 people responded to the survey.

Survey results are as follows:

Question: Resources need to be focused on maintaining all three current facilities. Disagree - 44.44 per cent; Strongly Disagree - 26.26 per cent; Agree - 15.15 per cent; Strongly Agree 12.12 per cent.

Question: Resources should be concentrated in the classroom, on the learning experience of our children. Agree - 54.04 per cent; Strongly Agree - 38.89 per cent; Disagree - 5.56 per cent; Strongly Disagree - 0.51 per cent.

Question: With twice as much capacity as the projected student enrolment, it makes sense to consolidate into fewer school facilities to ensure that funds may be directed to needed maintenance and upgrades to the facilities to be used. Agree - 43.43 per cent; Strongly Agree - 33.33 per cent; Strongly Disagree - 13.64 per cent; Disagree - 9.09 per cent.

Question: In order to provide a full rang elf quality programming, a critical mass of students within appropriate facilities is needed. Currently, OM Irwin is the only facility out the three core schools with all of the dedicated spaces and capacity for these programs. How can this best be provided with limited resources?

46 per cent - Transport the children for those classes, in order to access specialized programming.

38 per cent - Spend the resources to have programming available in multiple core schools, even if it means reallocating resources from other programming areas within the city.

16 per cent - Do nothing, maintain the status quo for programming.

Question: Share what your feelings are regarding attendance boundaries.

53 per cent - Students should be free to attend the school of their choice but are responsible for transportation if the school is not in their neighbourhood.

39 per cent - Students should be required to attend neighbourhood schools unless they are in a program offered in a specific school such as French Immersion or Pre-Kindergarten.

8 per cent - Does not matter.

Parents, staff and community members are invited to continue to submit feedback as part of the Swift Current Core Schools consultation until Dec. 4. The feedback can include key considerations and questions for the Board. Please email communications@chinooksd.ca. If you are unable to email call 306-778-9200.

The board confirmed they are gathering feedback with the intention of making a final core school decision during their January School Board meeting.

Organizations: Chinook School Division

Geographic location: Swift Current

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