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School boundary decision will disappoint some

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Any parents interested in discussing the boundary issue for the new elementary school at Spring Creek are welcome to attend the Myrtle Philip Parent Advisory Council meeting March 5 at 7 p.m.

"We would be happy to discuss it," said Chairwoman Kris Shoup.

But the important thing now, said Shoup, is to get on with organizing for the new school.

"We need a new PAC," she said.

"We need that PAC to get working on a playground and a library and things the new school is going to need."

The PAC meeting at Myrtle Philip School this Tuesday comes just a week before the Howe Sound School Board has its public meeting in Whistler to outline the boundary.

It’s likely many will be disappointed by whatever decision is made.

But, said Shoup, "It is all by the numbers. We need numbers for that school and we are really sorry if you are in Emerald... but the numbers have to come from somewhere.

"You may not be happy with what they decide but we have to get on with this."

The board meeting will be at Whistler’s high school at 6 p.m. on March 13. All are welcome.

Anyone interested in making a presentation to the board must contact the board office at 604-892-5228 by March 12.

Previously the board outlined five options for the new boundary.

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.

Option 2 : The village, the Benchlands, White Gold, and Spruce Grove would go to the new school along with everything south of Blueberry.

The new school would have 213 students in Grades 1-7 and 30 in kindergarten. Myrtle Philip would have 254 in Grades 1-7 and 33 in kindergarten.

Option 3 : South of Blueberry, Village, Alpine Meadows, Nicklaus North, and Emerald would go to the new school. White Gold and Spruce Grove would go to Myrtle Philip. The new school would have 295 in Grades 1-7 and 33 students in kindergarten. Myrtle Philip would have 172 in Grades 1-7 and 30 in kindergarten.

Option 4 : The new school would get kids from south of Blueberry, Nicklaus North, Alpine Meadows, and Emerald. But Brio, Alta Vista, the Village, Spruce Grove, White Gold, and the Benchlands would go to Myrtle Philip. Enrolment at the new school would be 282 in Grades 1-7 and 33 in kindergarten. Myrtle Philip would have 185 in Grades 1-7 and 30 in kindergarten.

Option 5 : The same as option 4 except Emerald and Alta Vista would go to Myrtle Philip and Brio would go to the new school. Enrolment at the new school would be 236 in Grades 1-7 and 25 in kindergarten. Myrtle Philip would have 231 students in Grades 1-7 and 38 in kindergarten.

Students attending the Francophone school will be kept together but it has yet to be determined which school they will be placed in. Overall enrolment will determine where they are located.

Grade 7 students will also return to elementary school. So Grade 8 at Whistler Secondary can finally come in from the cold – they have been in portables for some time.

The new Spring Creek school is expected to open in September of 2003.

Since the options were outlined the board has received several dozen letters, forms, and petitions from Whistler residents about the options.

Twenty-one of those who responded favoured option 1, 20 favoured option 2, one favoured option 1 or 2, one favoured option 3, three favoured option 4, three favoured option 5, six wanted a middle school or a new location for the school, and all the letters from those interested in the Francophone school wished to remain at Myrtle Philip.

In choosing the boundary the board looked at the capacity of the school and enrolment, sought to minimize bussing, used the main highway arteries as boundaries, considered environmental issues, and sought to limit cross boundary to ensure both schools are viable.

It’s likely the Board will make a decision on the boundary at the end of the March 13 meeting, unless new information is brought forward which the district would have to consider.

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