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As Manor Park school gets set to pave greenspace to make way for a teacher’s parking lot and more portables, other area schools sit half empty.

Under a plan set to go to the school board in November, Manor Park’s population is set to rise to 120% of capacity, while other area schools in the same area continue to have empty classrooms and chronic problems attracting area students.

Parents say part of the problem is the scarcity of early French immersion programs in the Ottawa public school board. Manor Park’s program is extremely popular. Some children are bused more than 40 minutes to the school, as other schools within walking distance sit half full.

Queen Elizabeth School is just 2.3 kilometres away from Manor Park. Recent board statistics show it is at just 54% capacity.

There is even more space at nearby Queen Mary school. Queen Mary is just 3.5 kilometres from Manor Park, and currently the school is less than half full, at 49.85% capacity.  

“This is a drastic change for Manor Park school" said local parent and business owner Natalie Belovic.

"How can you think that paving green space as your first course of action makes any sense in 2019? It makes no sense to not open another early French immersion program in another school". 

Board officials have called the Manor Park plan a “temporary” solution to a growth in school population. But the board will not look at expanding early French immersion programs for several years.

Monday night there will be a community meeting at the school that is expected to be tense.  Last week kids organized a protest, writing to the school board and Mayor Jim Watson, asking them to change the plan and “save the greenspace”.