Older students at Esther Starkman and Johnny Bright, two overcrowded elementary schools in south Edmonton, will be moved to other schools next year.

"We’ve done all we can from an infrastructure standpoint," said Edgar Schmidt, superintendent of Edmonton Public Schools. "We have simply run out of room at these two schools."

Grade 8 and 9 students at Johnny Bright School will go to D.S. MacKenzie School.

Esther Starkman students in grades 7, 8 and 9 who live in the Hodgson, Magrath Heights and MacTaggart neighbourhoods will attend Riverbend School.


Emily Martin, shown here with her father Paul, learned on Monday that she will have to switch schools this fall. (CBC)

All other grade 8 and 9 students will go to Avalon School.

Students who do not live in the attendance area or who are considered non-resident to the district can’t attend either school.

Schmidt said the decision was made to keep the youngest students at schools closest to their homes and limit enrolment to those who live nearby.  The move will affect nearly 600 students.

Schools opened in 2010

Students were upset at the news that they would have to switch schools this fall.

Grade 7 student Emily Martin started at Esther Starkman School a year and a half ago when her family moved back to Edmonton. The school principal told students the news at an assembly at the end of the day.

"Me and my friend were crying a bit and I was genuinely upset because I wasn't ready to go to a new school and be the new kid again," she said.

Her father Paul Martin said he was stunned and frustrated by the news.

"It's a great school," he said. "It's one of the reasons we chose this neghbourhood and suddenly she's being told she's not welcome to come back, that she has to go to another school quite far away."

Both schools opened in the fall of 2010.

Meetings will be held this week for parents of students affected by the move.