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Parents petition district to preserve boundary

A petition opposing the proposed boundary change for Yarrow students attending middle school was started in the name of students, said the organizer.

Ingrid Schoolkate, whose youngest child will be affected by the proposed change next year, started the petition as a way of giving her child and all others a voice.

"Kids don't have a voice here," she said. "As a parent, I'm their voice."

Chilliwack school district is proposing a boundary change for Yarrow students where instead of going to Vedder middle they will be redirected to Mt. Slesse middle.

The change is meant to balance enrollments at both schools, as well as to ensure Mt. Slesse stays viable.

Mt. Slesse's enrollment is expected to drop next year to 472 students, but has a capacity for 650. With Yarrow, its enrollment would increase to 509 students.

Chilliwack board of education will be voting on the proposal at the Feb. 22 meeting.

If approved the change would be effective September 2011 for students going into Grade 7. Students already attending Vedder middle could stay at Vedder middle.

Schoolkate feels the decision is being rushed, as parents were only notified of the proposed change a week and a half ago.

"To spring this on us just two weeks before the board votes on it, that's not right," she said.

Schoolkate attended the public information meeting last week, and also toured Mt. Slesse middle school, but still was not satisfied.

"I don't feel they've addressed the specific concerns of our kids and parents," she said.

Some of those concerns include the separation of Yarrow's support network with older students attending Vedder middle and younger ones at Mt. Slesse, as well as the "limited" sports opportunities available at Mt. Slesse compared to Vedder middle.

"These are the things that really need to be addressed," said Schoolkate.

She hopes the petition will give the Yarrow community a voice and cause trustees to really think about how their decision will affect the community.

So far the petition has approximately 50 signatures.

"I want to get as many as I can," said Schoolkate.

The petition is available at Yarrow Rainbow Food and Gas.

kbartel@theprogress.com

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