Both Red Deer Public and Red Deer Catholic School divisions will begin to review boundaries as both are set to get new schools in the coming years.
The Catholic School division will discuss school boundaries in anticipation of the St. Francis of Assisi Middle School addition and the construction of Blackfalds Kindergarten to Grade 9 school and St. Joseph’s High School, while the Red Deer Public School division will discuss school boundaries in anticipation of the new elementary school approved in Inglewood which is slated to open in the fall of 2017.
“We are wanting public input at the front end of things to hear the priorities of what our community and our parents are,” said Piet Langstraat, superintendent of Red Deer Public Schools.
“From there we will build some possible elementary school boundaries scenarios. We’ll be putting that back out online for people to comment on those. We will bring a recommendation on the board hopefully before the end of June.
“I think the important thing is that we have no preconceived notions about anything – this is true consultation. We very much want to hear what people value about where their kids go to school and as much as possible we want to be able to work in their priorities.”
He added the school boundary change will not take place for a couple of years, but officials want to get an early start on the project.
“The boundaries will take effect in September 2017 with the opening of our new Inglewood school.”
He said on March 3rd school officials will meet and speak directly with people in the Vanier East community. They were recently affected when the Red Deer Public School district undertook a school boundary review before Barrie Wilson Elementary School opened last fall.
“Students were moved from Mattie McCullough to Barrie Wilson. Now we have this school that will be closer to them, so I want to talk to them about that,” he said. “Logically it would make sense for them to go to the new school that will be closer to them, but it means another move. It’s never a straightforward process. It comes with its complications.”
Paul Mason, superintendent of the Red Deer Catholic School division said they are looking forward to hearing from the community.
“We feel it’s important to engage our community in those conversations because it enhances the consultation process and increases community participation in our schools,” he said.
Mason said the hope is by mid-spring that recommendations will be presented to the Catholic board.
“The recommendations will stem from the public feedback but also from our guiding principles.”
Upcoming open houses for the Red Deer Public School District include Feb. 26th at Central Services District Office from 1 to 3 p.m.; March 3rd at Hunting Hills High School from 7 to 9 p.m. (with a Vanier Woods focus); March 10th at Mountview Elementary School from 7 to 9 p.m. (City-wide school council) and March 18th at GH Dawe School from 7 to 9 p.m. (with a northwest Red Deer focus).
Upcoming open houses for the Red Deer Catholic School District include March 3rd at École Camille J. Lerouge School from 7 to 9 p.m. (middle school boundaries); March 5th at École Secondaire Notre Dame High School from 7 to 9 p.m. (high school boundaries) and March 10th at St. Teresa of Avila School from 7 to 9 p.m. (Blackfalds Kindergarten to Grade 9 school boundaries).