The Newsleader’s Michal McQuillan writes a great summary of Wednesday’s meeting to brainstorm solutions to build a west side middle school. Those ideas will be narrowed down to two or three options today [Saturday].
Many of the same questions kept cropping up.
• Why doesn’t the provincial government buy or expropriate land for the school?
• What impact would it have on programs of choice?
• How could the school affect other schools?
• And why can’t the middle school be built on the former cemetery site?
After participants returned from a brief break, workshop moderator Jeff Malmgren summed up the middle school debate this way:
“We need to realize 80 per cent of the people who came here tonight had a great solution to the problem we face. Unfortunately those people don’t all agree. For the most part they all have different solutions.”
Many parents were surprised Wednesday to hear that no vacant land exists for the middle school, and there’s no plan to buy or expropriate property. The provincial government made it clear “there was no money for land acquisition,” said Jim Alkins, the school district’s director of capital projects.
This points to a likely scenario that a west side elementary school—Tweedsmuir, Kelvin, Robson or Connaught—would be converted into a middle school. The students from the former elementary would have to find a new home at one of the remaining three.
Another shock: none of the options will solve the overcrowding at schools such as Lord Tweedsmuir, which has a complex of 11 portable classrooms.