Hastings School parents decry planned school swap
The parents of Hastings School students blasted the Louis Riel School Division's proposal to relocate students due to enrolment pressures at the French immersion school nearby.
More than 100 parents attended a meeting on Wednesday about a proposed school swap that would see students from Hastings — an English-language school — swap buildings with École Marie-Anne-Gaboury.
The current student enrolment at Hastings School is 251, which is below its capacity of 565.
ÉcoleMarie-Anne-Gaboury currently has 373 students, which exceeds the building's capacity of 340.
"This would be the most sustainable solution that we can see on a move-forward basis," said Duane Brothers, the school division's superintendent.
But the parents of Hastings School students were quick to disagree at Wednesday evening's meeting.
"My nine-year-old daughter was crying," said Dennis Grainger, who argued that the swap would crush school spirit.
Some parents said the plan would create bad blood between French-language and English-language students, while others argued that the swap is an unfair trade because Hastings has better and more accessible facilities.
"English-speaking schools these days are now being second-class citizens," said Orelund Montogomery.
But Carlene Rummery, a École Marie-Anne-Gaboury parent, said she's in favour of the school swap because of the space issue.
"I hope that the parents here tonight can consider if the shoe was on the other foot, what would they want for their children?" she said.
Division officials said building a new school is out of the question in this case because the provincial government won't fund the construction of new schools if space is available in existing facilities.
There is no timeline for the school board to make its decision, but many parents at the meeting said they feel the school swap is a foregone conclusion.
With files from the CBC's Jill Coubrough