WATCH: Drummondville English School needs new building, Gov. not answering
It's not often you hear about an English school in Quebec trying to deal with overcrowding, but that's the case at Drummondville Elementary.
The school is packed to the gills as more and more Francophone parents who went to school in English are choosing to send their children to the Anglophone school.
Staff at the school and the Eastern Townships School Board have put in a call to the education ministry asking for a new building, but so far it's been radio silence.
"One of the real challenges is that there are people who want to come here despite the fact that there are far better schools that have been built for the French school board," Michael Murray, chairman of the Eastern Townships School Board told CTV Montreal. "We feel we're not being treated on an equitable basis by the government."
Right now the school is doing what it can to maximize the little space it has: A French room is also the supply closet, the janitor's closet was turned into an elevator for students with disabilities, and the only bathroom for the entire school is in the gym.
"I was very surprised to see that my students had drawn up a list at recess of things they'd like to see in their school," said Grade 6 teacher Kathy Napier. "It made me really sad to think one of the things a 12-year-old dreamed of having in his school is a janitor's closet."
"The bathroom being in the gym too is difficult because kids are interrupting gym class all the time. We don't have a library," said principal Dany Grenon.
Lunch and recess had to be split in two because there's not enough space in the halls for all the children to get ready. The playground is also too small for everyone to be out at once.
Going into this school year there was one empty space left, but that is now gone.
"Before, we used to have a cafeteria and eat at the same time, but now the school keeps growing and growing and we need to eat in our class," said Grade 6 student Heidi Boivert-Dionne.
As the school waits for the government to help it will continue to find creative solutions to the overcrowding, which will only get worse as enrollment is still on the rise for next year.