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Efforts in the works to deal with spacing at RES

Posted on April 10, 2014 by Westwind Weekly

Following the recent information session, to hault the rumours regarding Raymond’s Parent Link Centre, the school division plans to “work collaboratively with their partners” to address the issue.

Spacing has long been a concern for children, parents and staff at Raymond Elementary School. An ideal solution in most eyes would be to oust the current occupant of the South wing, Alberta Health Services, who facilitates a Family and Community Support Services centre for residents in the surrounding area.

However when the school was granted permission to rebuild, many years ago, one of the conditions was that FCSS be granted space to operate the Parent Link Centre.

Due to an overcrowding issue detected earlier, Westwind School Division had previously chosen not to renew the partnership with the centre. However that decision was recently put on hold so community stakeholders and the provincial government could look at other options.

In the mean time, FCSS will continue to operate out of the south wing of the school.

“We are very appreciative of the support that we have been given during these last few years of tight spaces and innovative solutions as we have tried to keep all of our students, including our pre-school, under one roof,” said RES principal Marlin Hogg, in an earlier statement.

RES currently holds the highest student population in the division, with an enrollment of more than 700. And with an influx of 12 expected next year, trailers to accommodate the growing census couldn’t come sooner.

When we have insufficient space, as determined by the protocols established by Alberta Education and Alberta Infrastructure, we work to increase our space through the appropriate channels. At this point in time, that means we request additional modular classrooms,” said superintendent Ken Sommerfeldt. “We have a clear understanding of this process, and have been working for two and a half years to address the Raymond Elementary School issue. Whether in Raymond Elementary School or any other school, this process is the one that has been defined for us by the government, and it is the one we pursue diligently.”

Although it cannot be said how long it will take the ministry will take to process the application, it remains one of the division’s “highest priorities.”

The approach to overcrowding is similar to that of any other school in Alberta, enrollment data is projected for three, five and 10 years for each community within the Westwind division. The data is then folded into a Divisional Capital Plan, where areas of growth, space and utilization rates are considered.

“We will continue to develop a Divisional plan that matches those projections in growth, including but not limited to class size, utilization of space at Raymond Elementary School, Raymond Junior High School and Raymond High School and options for portables and new buildings into the next 10-15 years,” said Sommerfeldt.

Since the public meeting “many parents” have expressed their support of the division going forward, as well as their gratitude for the information received.

“My interpretation from the meeting is that some parents were not accepting of the information presented, or the explanations provided,” he said. “The action plan of the Division was presented repeatedly, and many parents expressed their support of that plan.”

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