New schools can't guarantee kindergarten spots
Parents who want to enrol their children in kindergarten at two new schools in south Edmonton have been told that their kids may have to go elsewhere this fall.
Esther Starkman and Johnny Bright schools opened in 2010 but they are so overcapacity that even children who live across the street can’t be guaranteed a spot.
"I was completely floored because I live three doors from the school and I already have a son in Grade 2," said Megan Gage, who recently received a letter from Esther Starkman School informing her about the situation.
Gage said the family may have to move if the girl has to take a bus to another school.
"The idea of shipping away babies to another location just doesn't make sense unless maybe it's at the church across the street."
Lorne Parker, the managing director of planning, property management and student transportation with Edmonton Public Schools, says the board is looking at four solutions.
"A combination of attendance area shrinkage and maybe removing some grades, having them attend another school, shrinking just the attendance area or we look at the lottery system, the random selections," he said.
Parent Jennifer Treece believes the only solution is for the board to build new schools in the area.
"That's a partnership, a partnership between the province and the school board trustees stepping up and making some fiscally responsible decisions," she said.
Premier Alison Redford promised during last year’s election to build 50 new schools over four years, but with a provincial deficit currently projected between $3.5 billion and $4 billion, it’s not clear whether she’ll be able to honour that promise.
The Alberta budget will be released on March 7th.