The newly-elected Myrtle Philip community school Parent Advisory Council has identified the structure and composition of the new elementary school at Spring Creek as one of its priorities for the coming year.
At the annual general meeting of the MPCS PAC last Tuesday, June 12, parents elected the four-member executive comprising Kris Shoup as chairperson, Manj Thind as vice-chair, Cathy Jewett as secretary and Gary Pringle retaining his position as treasurer. Outgoing chair Don Brett did not stand for re-election.
Shoup says she can only take on one 12-month term because after the next school year her children will all be attending high school.
A total of 14 parents signed up for the MPCS PAC Board for 2001-2002 well above the required minimum of eight.
Also attending the meeting was the new Spring Creek school principal and current School District 48 Administrator of Technology, Ron Albertin.
The new school is scheduled to open in January 2003 or September 2003 and will draw pupils from a yet-to-be-announced catchment area.
Albertin acknowledged parents concerns over potential school boundaries but appealed for their support over the coming months.
"A lot of people have ties to the school (Myrtle Philip) and want to stay with what they know," he said.
"But the split between the schools must be equitable and fair, otherwise you will see 50 pupils at one school and 400 at the other."
Albertin said from his own personal experience with a similar situation in Surrey, if parents boycott a school it can take years before it has the chance to grow.
Albertin encouraged parents to set up a PAC for the new facility to provide input on establishing the school and for activities such as fundraising. "Spring Creek is not going to have the resources of Myrtle Philip because it takes time to build up facilities," he explained.
"I have a capital budget of $367,000 but it costs around $100,000 to start a library and if you add computers into the mix you are looking at additional $150,000, and thats not including desks or textbooks."
One parent expressed concern that opening the school in January could be disruptive for students and asked if the school board could delay the opening until the new school year in September 2003.
However other parents explained that Kindergarten level children at Myrtle Philip would be split into two classes to make the transition easier when the Spring Creek opens, with one group heading off to the new school.
Albertin says he plans to be heavily involved with the MPCS PAC in the lead-up to the new school opening at Spring Creek.