Thanks to everyone who took the time to attend our town hall on Microsoft TEAMS. If you missed the event, the presentation is available here.
As you are aware, we are proposing changes to the catchment area for École South Pointe School for the 2022-23 school year. This means that Richmond West will no longer be part of the South Pointe catchment area. Our plan for the 2021-22 school year involves:
- The 66 students currently living in Richmond West area will be allowed to remain at South Pointe for a final year.
- There will be no grandfathering of these students’ younger pre-school siblings.
- Families choosing to move to École St. Avila or École Viscount Alexander for 2021-22 do not need to apply through School of Choice, as these schools fall within the current Richmond West catchment area.
As promised, we have compiled a collection of frequently-asked questions from the town hall, and have provided the answers below.
Q: What is the current population at École South Pointe School?
A: The school was built for 850 students. The current population (2020-21) is roughly 975 students. We are expecting an additional 50 or more in 2021-22, and we project a need for 39 classroom spaces to accommodate this population, depending on Kindergarten enrolment. The school currently has 35 classrooms.
Q: What were the other options you considered?
A: Our leadership and trustees explored many options such as moving Grade 7 and 8 programming to other locations or changing the school’s northern boundary. The town hall presentation goes into more detail. It can be viewed here.
Q: Can you reduce the school by one grade, perhaps Grade 8?
A: We did carefully look into this option. An important consideration was the investment of millions of dollars into middle years facilities at École South Pointe School when it was built, including applied arts and labs as well as art and band rooms. Moving the older grades would mean these spaces would be under-utilized.
Q: What if you move the northern section of the catchment?
A: The downside to this approach is that children who currently walk to school would have to ride the bus.
Q: What are the enrolment projections for École St. Avila for 2022-23?
A: The enrolment projection for 2022-23 is approximately 360. It should be noted that the St. Avila catchment has already been redrawn to include Richmond West and Fairfield Park in this and future projections.
Q: Is there a ratio of French Immersion to English programming that the school must uphold?
A: There is no set ratio. The ratio of French Immersion to English programming in any dual track school is determined by the choices made by families.
Q: How will you support additional daycare spaces?
A: We are sympathetic to daycare challenges and continue to advocate for our families through our conversations with elected provincial officials.
Q: Can you assure parents in Richmond West that this is the final change and that no changes will follow when new schools are built?
A: With the growth and development in Waverley West and in the ever-changing landscape of education, we are not in a position to make long-term promises at this time.
Q: If enrolment slows, will these changes still come into effect for 2022-23?
A: Our current projections predict increased enrolment for 2022-23. As per our presentation at the town hall, we are closely monitoring enrolment pressures and responding accordingly.
Q: What is the enrolment and capacity of schools in the area?
A: Other schools in the southernmost part of Pembina Trails include:
- Acadia Junior High which has an enrolment of 642 and capacity of 550
- Fort Richmond Collegiate which has an enrolment of 1352 and capacity of 1200
- Dalhousie which has an enrolment of 529 which is at capacity
- Bairdmore which has enrolment of 418 and capacity of 500
- Ryerson which has enrolment of 254 and capacity of 460
Q: What do your enrolment projections show with regard to the École St. Avila catchment and the pending new apartment towers being built on Pembina?
A: The new apartment complexes are not yet included in our projections. New builds are always a challenge and the resulting enrolment changes are very difficult to predict.
Q: Would the division consider offering bus options to families in South Pointe and Richmond West to get to St. Avila?
A: Under our policy, transportation is made available to St. Avila for K-6 students. Our board may consider transportation to Viscount Alexander out of Richmond West for Grades 5 and 6 to provide this option. The board will carefully review policy and fiscal implications of this question.
Q: Will you bus the future Grade 7-8 students that will be attending Viscount Alexander?
A: Seat sales were suspended during COVID-19. We will review this practice once Manitoba Public Health amends the bus protocol.
Q: Where are the portables going to go?
A: Two portables will be in place at South Pointe for the 2021-22 school year. They will be placed in the courtyard just outside the northwest entrance to the school.
Q: What is the status on the additional two portables?
A: We anticipate that they will be ready for our use in September 2021.
Q: Can you shrink the catchment, not allow any more registrations outside of the catchment and let the Richmond West kids age out?
A: We considered this option and have decided to follow through on our plan to remove Richmond West from the South Pointe catchment for all students effective with the 2022-23 school year.
Q: How many spaces will be realized by removing Richmond West French Immersion students from South Pointe for the 2022-23 school year? The presentation indicates 66, but some of those will be students now in Grade 7 or 8 that would have left the school by 2022-23.
A: The majority of students are between Grades 2 and 5 presently. Some families have decided to move their children next year, so a precise number cannot be stated. However, we anticipate the creation of more than 50 spaces at South Pointe as a result of this change.