The dream of walking your child to a neighbourhood school is no longer ideal for many.
Hundreds of families want their children to attend schools out of their catchment area, most to attend a special program such as French Immersion, or other program of choice.
And parents not happy with school catchment decisions won’t be able to lobby the school superintendent to get their children into a preferred school, after School District 43 policy was altered Tuesday night.
In what was described as a house-keeping change to ensure procedures are followed, trustees approved the removal of a line that gave the superintendent power to assign a student to a school outside their catchment area.
Trustees were told the measure had to be removed because parents were using it to contact the superintendent directly to get their child in a specific school.
“We don’t want people lobbying her directly, it would undermine the whole process,” assistant superintendent Reno Ciolfi told trustees.
Under Policy 19, Student Attendance Areas, the district reviews school boundaries every year and can make adjustments. In spring, parents can apply to have their children attend school outside their catchment and depending on space, permission may be granted.
According to SD43, there were 1,100 cross-catchment requests this past spring and a few boundary changes affecting French Immersion at Westwood, Nestor elementary and Banting and Maillard middle schools.
“We are happy to say we have been able to accommodate 850 of those requests which is a significant amount. All of those involved were notified before spring break,” spokesperson Ken Hoff noted in an email.