British Columbia

Plans for new catchment boundaries around Vancouver schools on hold after parents object

The Vancouver School Board has decided to review its proposed changes to the district's catchment boundaries after weeks of resistance from parents who weren't happy with the idea.

Parents raised concerns about siblings who would have been separated under new borders

The Vancouver School Board is reviewing its proposed changes to school catchment boundaries. It follows weeks of outcry from parents worried about the impact on families across the district. (CBC)

The Vancouver School Board has decided to review its proposed changes to the district's catchment boundaries after weeks of resistance from parents who weren't happy with the idea.

The board announced its plan for the borders last month, saying the new boundaries would better balance enrolment across the packed district.

Many parents, however, disagreed with the idea. Some told the district they were worried their children — young siblings — would be split up under the new boundaries.

Under that plan, new students already enrolled would be allowed to stay at their schools, but new students — like younger siblings, for example — would have to abide by the new boundaries and attend a different school.

The VSB is reviewing catchment boundaries to better balance enrollment across the Lower Mainland. (VSB)

"Life is hectic enough with multiple kids," said Shirley Anthony, who is raising two children in Yaletown. "To have to worry about taking them to two different schools would, I would say, cripple a lot of families."

On Thursday, the school board said it had taken concerns like Anthony's into account, and announced it would delay implementing the catchment plan. An emailed statement from the board said new recommendations will be put forward at a meeting next Wednesday.

Anthony, while relieved to hear the plans were on hold, said the board needs to find another way to manage demand for schools.

The plan prompted strong reaction from many parents, including Shirley Anthony who is a mother of two in Yaletown. (CBC)

"No matter how you try to change the boundaries, it's not going to alleviate the pressure on enrolment," she said.

"What it comes down to is adding new schools, expanding capacity, and finding a way to do it faster."

The new borders were expected to come into effect next year.

With files from Tanya Fletcher

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