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Proposed elementary school boundaries draw criticism



School board inviting input from parents

The Howe Sound School Board has released five possible options for the boundary between Myrtle Philip elementary and the new elementary school in Spring Creek, now due to open in the fall of 2003.

The options were revealed at a meeting packed with parents and residents Tuesday night at Whistler Secondary.

Many of the parents living north of the village voiced concerns about how their kids were going to get to the new school if an option was chosen which placed their homes in the catchment area for the new school at Spring Creek, just north of Function Junction.

"To have us come from one end of the community to the other is ridiculous," said Carmen Laslett, who lives in Emerald.

"To ask our young children to sit on a bus for that length time is ridiculous."

Laslett?s Grade 1 daughter Madalyn currently gets on the bus at 7:55 a.m. and gets to Myrtle Philip school at 8:25 a.m.

And Laslett is also concerned that a move to Spring Creek will end her daughter?s access to after-school programs at the community centre in Myrtle Philip.

"For me it would be totally ludicrous to have her go to the new school and then travel to the community programs," said Laslett.

"She would never be able to be involved in any of those programs because I would not be able to get to them as I work until 5 or 6 p.m.

"My beef with this community is that they don?t take into consideration working parents."

There was some suggestion at the meeting that kids from the north end of Whistler might be bussed along Westside Road. Many parents voiced concerns about safety on that road, especially as school buses still don?t come equipped with seatbelts.

A survey conducted a couple of years ago showed that 50 per cent of kids are driven to school. Safety was one reason parents don?t put their kids on buses.

The options were also chosen with environmental issues in mind said board chair Amy Shoup.

But, said Laslett, enrolling kids form the north end of town in the new school would put more cars on the road.

The five options were roughly described as follows:

Option 1 : Everything south of Blueberry, including Brio, Alta Vista, and Westside Road, would go to the new school. That would place 152 Grade 1-7 students in the new school, with 18 in the kindergarten. Myrtle Philip would have 315 students in Grades 1-7 and 45 in the kindergarten.

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