The Regina Public School Division held an open house at the Harbour Landing School to hear feedback from parents regarding a boundary change before the school board makes its final decision.
Earlier this month, the school board announced a proposed boundary change affecting around 200 students at the Harbour Landing School.
The change will see affected students transferred to the Ethel Milliken School for the 2023-2024 school year.
Around 50 parents attended the open house issuing various concerns and frustration with the proposed changes.
One of them was Calvin Ford, who had two kids that could be affected by the change.
“It’s extremely hard on the children to leave all their friends behind and go to a different school,” he said. “It’s not like one grade is being specified that they are going to move one there. It’s random kids throughout the school according to their addresses.”
Ford added that following the pandemic, the move would be hard on children not being able to communicate with their friends once again.
As for solutions to the problem, Ford said that the school should not take any new enrollment.
“I think the solution is not to enroll more students in Grade One or Kindergarten unless they have a sibling here,” he said. “We are over capacity already. Why would we be enrolling new students and kicking out students that already have enrollment here.”
Adam Hicks, a trustee with Regina Public Schools, said that he understands parents’ frustration, as they are also frustrated.
“In my seven years on the school board, this is one of the most frustrating situations that we’ve had because it has been predictable. We knew that this was going to be an issue,” he said. “We had hopes that the province, especially the City, would help us and step up, and unfortunately, the land has really become an issue.”
Two years ago, the province committed to funding a new elementary school in Harbour Landing. However, there have been difficulties finding land for the school.
“We still don’t have a deal in place, and so unfortunately, we are at a critical spot where we have no choice but to move 200 students from this Harbour Landing school to some of our other schools that have a little bit of flexibility.”
Hicks said ideally, they would keep the boundaries the way they are, but a change is needed to keep in line with safety regulations.
“The issue is we are getting close to the legal safety limits of this building, and we believe, based on the projections right now, that we can’t wait,” he stated. “We had hoped that we could wait for a new school to be built, but we’ve now hit that point where we know the decision has to be made. The school will not be built for at least two to three years, and so to meet the legal capacity of this building, we have to make that change.
“No matter how we dice it, this is going to be tough for students and for families, and the good thing is we know that our teachers are going to be there to support the students no matter what happens, Hicks continued.
He said while he can’t make any promises, they will try to keep families together.
“As much as we can, we will try to keep families together, but it will be tricky because some larger families have children starting out in kindergarten, and some might be graduating, so we are changing the high school boundaries as well, that’s where it can get a little complicated.”
Harbour Landing School was built for approximately 650 students, with a current enrolment of over 1,000.
The school board is expected to discuss the proposed changes and public feedback at its meeting on March 21; however, the division noted that it might delay its decision based on feedback and recommendations.