The Greater Victoria School District is throwing its support behind a controversial proposal to turn a local school of choice into a catchment school, despite outcry from parents.
South Park Family School is a Kindergarten to Grade 5 school in Victoria's James Bay neighbourhood focusing on fine arts, environmental awareness, and encourages parent participation.
Parents have expressed concern over the proposed boundary changes that would alter catchments for a number of schools in the region, including South Park.
Schools of choice like South Park allow families to send kids from outside of the school's neighbouring community, while catchment schools are mainly populated by students from surrounding neighbourhoods.
Parents turned out in force at open house consultations on the proposed changes earlier this year, with many saying the process felt rushed.
However, the district said in a recent report that it plans on pushing ahead with the catchment change.
"It is clear from the feedback that the current South Park Community overwhelmingly desires the District wide catchment of the school," the district concluded in a summary of the consultation phase. "Nevertheless, given the alternatives either create an extremely large catchment in a dense urban area or alternatively, may take a significant amount of time to implement (e.g. an expansion of James Bay), we continue to recommend a catchment that in effect makes South Park a neighbourhood school."
The district noted that even under the changed catchment, students would still be able to transfer to South Park in the short term.
The district said it will continue to consult with those affected by the changes by visiting each school or local area impacted.
A final decision will be rendered by the board by May 23, according to the district.
Read the full report below: