K-9 Replacement school proposed for Lawton neighbourhood

The superintendent of Edmonton Public Schools has recommended a new mega-school be built in the Lawton neighbourhood to replace three older school buildings.
Under the new proposal, a new K to 9 school would be built in the current location of Rundle Elementary School in east Edmonton. (CBC)

The superintendent of Edmonton Public Schools has recommended a new mega-school be built in the Lawton neighbourhood to replace three older school buildings.

Earlier this year, the province gave the district $20 million to build a replacement school in a mature neighbourhood. Three Edmonton neighbourhoods were in the running: Greater Highlands, Greater Lawton and Greater Westmount.

The board of trustees was given until the end of June to choose how the money would be spent.

Lorne Parker, director of planning with Edmonton Public Schools, says parents in the Lawton neighbourhood wanted the new replacement school. (CBC )

Supt. Darrel Robertson wants to see the money spent on a K-9 mega-school to be built on the current site of the Rundle School at 11005 34th Street, replacing Lawton, R.J. Scott and Rundle schools.

The board of trustees will vote on the recommendation June 24.

If trustees approve the superintendent’s choice, the schools in the Lawton neighbourhood will remain open until construction on the new school is complete.

Parents reacts to news

"These decisions are never easy," said Lorne Parker, the school board's planning director.

Parker said the three older schools facing closure are under-used, and parents in the community supported the idea.

"We heard a very strong voice from the community supporting the construction of a replacement school," he said.

Parent Jim Davison worries his son will receive less attention at a larger K to 9 school compared to his current school. (CBC)

However, when letters about the decision were sent home to parents Tuesday afternoon, some parents reacted with concern and anger.

"I think it's disgusting honestly,” said father Jim Davison, who is worried about the level of care and attention his son who has special needs will receive after his school is shut down.

"We've all seen from the past that K to 9 doesn't work. K to 6 is enough of a problem to keep kids from picking on other kids.”

Other parents, however, say they’re happy with the plan.

"I love it. I can't wait for a new school. Especially all the new upgrades," said Adeana Tonnes. “They need a new school.”

According to Ali Mahdi, who works with immigrants at the Mennonite Centre, parents in the east Edmonton Somali community are also pleased with the decision.

The board will meet with some parents Wednesday night to continue discussions. If the decision goes ahead, the new school will open in Sept. 2016.

Listen to Mahdi's full interview with CBC's Portia Clark ​


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