Waverley West parents unhappy with school options
Winnipeg City Coun. Justin Swandel wants new school built for Waverley West students
Families in Winnipeg's Waverley West area say they're struggling to find good schools close to home.
Rachel Ramberran and her husband moved to Waverley West a few years ago and have been frustrated with their options for schooling.
"We didn’t realize that by moving three blocks over we had changed what kind of catchment we were in," said Ramberran.
Ramberran said there is no elementary school in Waverley West for her child Krishanna.
"Our school options involved being bused really close to the U of M, which is across Pembina, to a school that wasn’t recommended for what her needs were," said Ramberran.
The trip to Ryerson Elementary School is about five kilometres.
The city councillor for her area, Justin Swandel, said Ramberran isn't alone, and he's urging residents to voice their concerns to the province.
Number of schools reduced
The Pembina Trails School Division, where Waverley West is located, has reduced the number of new schools to be built in the subdivision from six to four and has planned to divert a number of students to schools in Waverley Heights.
Swandel is critical of the decision and said families should come ahead of budgetary concerns.
"We’ve really got to get the right people engaged at the same table at the same time so that we’re delivering good policy here, rather than just budget thinking," he said.
Superintendent Lawrence Lussier said the division’s decision didn’t have to do with budgeting, but instead was based on the number of students in the area.
Lussier said not as many students moved into the new developments as originally projected.
"The rate at which students were showing up in the new neighbourhoods indicated to us we had over-projected the number of students that will come eventually in Waverley West," he said.
Lussier said the province is recommending students go to schools in neighbouring areas instead.
"We have instructions from our funding partner, the public schools finance board, to use available spaces in the surrounding area schools before we build schools," said Lussier.
One of the schools with space is the French-immersion-based Bonnycastle School in Waverley Heights.
It’s currently being expanded to accommodate eight additional classes and to offer daycare space.
But Ramberran said Waverley Heights is too far to travel, and the lack of options is forcing parents to look elsewhere.
"Everyone has either gone for private schools or applied out of catchment," she said.
Councillor urges residents to attend meeting
Swandel said the decision also isn’t fair to Waverley Heights residents, who will face increased traffic congestion and larger school sizes.
Swandel wants residents of both Waverley West and Waverley Heights to show up to an upcoming open house to demand the plans be changed.
Pembina Trails School Division has scheduled the open house on Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.