British Columbia

Parents fear siblings will be split between schools as Vancouver re-draws catchment boundaries

The Vancouver School Board is reviewing school catchment boundaries this spring in an effort to better balance school enrolment across the district.

Vancouver School Board is reviewing boundaries as it tries to better balance enrolment across district

The VSB is reviewing catchment boundaries to better balance enrolment across the district. (VSB)

The Vancouver School Board is reviewing school catchment boundaries this spring in an effort to better balance school enrolment across the district.

School board staff have been holding open houses this month and soliciting feedback on the proposed changes, but some parents are concerned that when the changes take effect in 2019 some siblings could be split up.

Younger siblings won't get priority to go to their older sibling's school because waiting lists are preventing children living in the proper catchment area from attending the nearest school, according to Jim Meschino, director for planning and facilities with the VSB.

"Kids who may live across the street from their local school are currently having to attend schools maybe one catchment over, or two catchments over, because they can't get into that school," Meschino told The Early Edition's Stephen Quinn.

Some parents, however, are speaking up about the effects on their schedules if their kids are forced to attend different schools.

Arno Apeldoorn is a father of two who has a son with special needs in kindergarten at General Gordon Elementary School. 

"To abandon the sibling priority is a real hardship on families in untold ways of stress and transportation and safety," he said.

The family has established a support network at the school already, with counsellors and a support worker seeking a ministry designation for Apeldoorn's son.

He's worried they'll lose the progress they've made if his son has to move schools, among other concerns.

"We have a lot going on at General Gordon. If my daughter is forced to go to Carnarvon, I don't even know how I'll deliver the children because they're so young, they need to be supervised, and I currently ride my bike to bring my child to school …I don't know how it will work."

Meschino said the VSB is taking into consideration all the feedback they get from parents living in the areas affected by the changes. The next public meeting will be held at King George Secondary School on May 22.

For a detailed map and more information on the changes being considered visit the VSB website.

With files from The Early Edition

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