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UPDATED: Proposed boundary change for Yarrow students

Students living in Yarrow may soon be switching middle schools.

Chilliwack school district is holding a public meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 8 to discuss a proposed boundary change that would have Yarrow students attending Mt. Slesse middle school instead of Vedder middle, where they currently are.

The proposed change is meant to alleviate the pressures of increased enrollment and overcrowding at Vedder middle, as well as to keep Mt. Slesse middle viable.

Currently Vedder middle has 652 students with a capacity for 600, while Mt. Slesse has 501 students and a capacity for 650.

Mt. Slesse's population is expected to decline over the next five years as the school didn't get the boost in enrollment that was projected with the Garrison Crossing and Webster's Landing developments.

"The growth pattern was that it would grow and in fact it hasn't," said district superintendent Corinne McCabe.

"We're looking at how we can maintain the Mt. Slesse population and Vedder population at a more equal balance, and also at how we can create a better natural connection for the kids at Yarrow."

Approximately 35 to 40 students would be affected by the change.

"It's not a huge number but it's enough to keep Mt. Slesse at that critical number of 500 students ... until the growth comes in," said McCabe.

Projections show that even with the students from Yarrow, Mt. Slesse would still stay under its total capacity for at least 10 to 15 more years.

If passed, the boundary change would be effective starting September 2011.

Inge Friedenstab, president of the Yarrow elementary Parent Advisory Council, said that while she's not concerned with the proposed change as her oldest child will just be entering middle school next year, she has heard some parental concerns.

"Some parents are concerned, especially those who already have kids in the other school that would be uprooted," said Friedenstab.

"I'm hoping [Tuesday's presentation] will provide lots of information for parents."

Anyone affected by the proposed boundary change is encouraged to attend the information meeting, which is being held at Yarrow elementary on Feb. 8 at 7 p.m.

Superintendent Corinne McCabe will be presenting, as will Mt. Slesse middle school principal Dan Heisler and Yarrow elementary principal Kirk Savage.

For more information, call Yarrow elementary at 604-823-4408.

kbartel@theprogress.com

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