By Dean Midyette
Like governments, school districts are mandated to provide detailed five year plans and to update these plans every year. Trustees and administration consider demographics, funding allotments, bussing issues and infrastructure deficits and balance this information against their guiding philosophical principles. To use the resources efficiently is no small task.
Rocky Mountain School District Six has released its long term facility draft plan with an invitation to the public for input.
Contained in the document are specifics in terms of the upgrades that the schools need and a proposal to use both Eileen Madson and JA Laird as K-Grade 7 schools instead of the current use where Madson educates students from Grades K-3 and Laird from Grades 4-7. Currently Eileen Madson is over capacity by 81 students while JA Laird is under capacity and has two vacant classrooms. There are also infrastructure deficits at the schools in Edgewater, Windermere and Canal Flats that need to be considered.
Until capital upgrades are finished, the plan suggests an interim plan whereby Eileen Madson would educate K-2 students with Grade 3 students transitioning to JA Laird. The plan is clear that converting both Invermere elementary schools to a K-7 student body will not take place until Eileen Madson has received the necessary upgrades which includes a proposed addition.
There is also a proposal for school boundaries within the District of Invermere. These new catchment areas would dictate which elementary school students would attend once both Invermere elementary schools offer K-7 classrooms. The proposed boundaries are likely to cause some consternation among parents but lets remind ourselves that this is a draft proposal only, open to input, and will not be implemented until Eileen Madson is upgraded.
Finally, there is a call to recruit more international students to attend David Thompson Secondary School as it is currently being utilized at 57% capacity.
An information meeting on the plan will be held on Wednesday, October 5th at 7 p.m. at David Thompson Secondary School. You can read the specifics of the proposal at http://www.sd6.bc.ca/docs/governance/FINAL_DRAFT_LTFP_SEP_8_2016.pdf on pages 58-71.