Montreal parents camp out, miss work for spots at English schools

Registration day for elementary schools in the English Montreal School Board has led to long lineups for some parents trying to snag a spot for their children.

Royal Vale School only has 25 registrations for kindergarten classes for 2016-2017

Some parents camped out day and night to snag a registration spot. (CBC)

Feb. 1 is registration day for elementary schools in the English Montreal School Board – and, as always, it led to long lineups for parents trying to snag a spot for their children at the EMSB's most popular schools.

Royal Vale School in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce only has space for 25 children in its kindergarten for the next academic year.

It is first-come, first-served at the English-language French immersion school, which offers a special focus on math and science.

"If education is a priority for your child, you put your money where your mouth is," said Yosi Grunberg, who sat outside the school for a full day to secure a spot for his daughter.

"These are small prices to pay for long-term benefit of your children."

'It's not fun'

Some parents showed up as early as 5 a.m. Sunday, camping out for a day and a night in hopes of snagging a spot for their child.

Myrianne Bessette was left frustrated after she wasn't able to register her child for kindergarten despite showing up Sunday afternoon.

"It disrupted our weekend with our kids," Bessette said. "I had to miss work, so we lost some money. It's not fun."

Parents set up camp Sunday night to secure their children a place at Royal Vale School. (CBC)

Bessette wants the school to adopt a lottery system to replace the current registration process, which she says is unfair.

Board spokesman Michael Cohen said it was up to each individual school to decide the best way to handle enrolment.

"They haven't looked at any alternatives because in the end it all seems to work out quite well," Cohen said. 
The parents who really want to get in, they get their kids in."

Parents also lined up at Gardenview Elementary School in Saint-Laurent and East Hill in Rivière-des-Prairies, Cohen said.


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