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School board makes popular choice on boudary



Option #1 has won.

But only for the time being.

At a standing room only meeting of the school board held at Whistler Secondary on Wednesday night, trustees passed a motion to adopt boundary Option #1 for the new Spring Creek Elementary School, due to open in Sept. 2003.

But part of the motion stipulates that in January of 2003 the board at its regular meeting will review the boundary options again and make a decision which will make both schools viable in terms of the number of students attending each one.

Parents in the audience, several of whom made passionate presentations to the board on why they should adopt Option #1, heaved a collective sigh of relief when trustee Judy Bourhis put forward the motion. It was seconded by Andree Janyk.

Under Option #1 all children living south of Blueberry, including those in Brio, Alta Vista, and Westside Road, would go to the new school. That will 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.

This option leaves children living in the northern subdivisions of Whistler attending Myrtle Philip.

"I am very happy," said Suzanne Thomas, an Alpine Meadows resident who made a presentation to the board on why kids in her neighbourhood should go to Myrtle Philip.

"I went in thinking Option #1 was not viable and now they are telling us it is."

Thomas vowed to stay involved and take part in the discussions leading up to the January 2003 meeting at which the final boundary line will be drawn.

Other parents who spoke included Carmen Laslett of Emerald. She believes sending Emerald kids to Spring Creek would affect the quality of educational as it would hinder parents’ ability to volunteer and help the school and its pupils.

"Sending our children from the most northern subdivision to the most southern subdivision is unrealistic, unfair, environmentally unsound and not community minded," Laslett told the board.

"Voting for Options #3 and #4 (which sends Emerald kids to Spring Creek) would impose an excessive unequal burden on Emerald Estate parents and their children."

Trustee Andree Janyk, in seconding the motion to adopt Option #1, said she was influenced by the parent’s belief that more young families would move into the south end of town as new employee housing units are built and that shift in numbers would keep kids living at the north end of Whistler at Myrtle Philip.

"I do in my heart feel there will be more residents who will move (south), " said Janyk.

"But I don’t think it will be as drastic as you think," she told the audience.

There has been a push on to settle the boundary line so that a new Parent Advisory Council can be formed to start fund-raising for Spring Creek. It is estimated that $100,00 is needed for the library and $70,000 to $80,000 is needed for the playgrounds.

Chair of the school board Amy Shoup voted against the motion saying it was "just postponing the inevitable."

She said the January 2003 meeting will be facing the same hard decisions and Option #1 will likely still not be viable.