Yarrow kids heading to Mount Slesse middle

A 27-signature petition wasn't enough to sway trustees to vote against a motion to change school boundaries for Yarrow students.

A 27-signature petition wasn’t enough to sway trustees to vote against a motion to change school boundaries for Yarrow students.Nor was verbal opposition expressed from several parents attending Tuesday night’s board meeting.Starting in September, middle school students living in Yarrow will be attending Mount Slesse middle school instead of Vedder middle.However, a one-time amendment was passed that would allow students going into Grade 7 next year with siblings already attending Vedder middle to attend VMS if they so desired.The amendment affects four students.Parent Ingrid Schoolkate, who’s youngest child will be going into middle school next year, had great concerns going into the meeting and was adamant she did not want her son attending Mount Slesse. She was satisfied with the amendment.”My son, from what I understand, has a choice because he has siblings [attending VMS],” she said following the meeting. “Ultimately it would have been good if all students were given a choice, but this is the next step.”Some parents expressed concerns regarding the short process, given they were only notified three weeks ago.”The appearance is that it’s been done in haste,” said parent Dan Davis.Superintendent Corinne McCabe said that while there were suspicions of Mount Slesse’s enrollment continuing to decline, accurate projections weren’t available until early December.Without Yarrow, Mount Slesse’s enrollment was expected to drop below 500 students next year, which would result in staffing and program reductions. The school’s capacity is for 650 students; 750 with portables. With the addition of the approximate 35 Yarrow students, Slesse’s enrollment would stay above 500 students.Trustee Heather Maahs, the only trustee who voted against the change, said that she didn’t believe all options had been explored.”I regret that this has become somewhat of a pitting one middle school against another,” she said. “However, I don’t believe this should be done in haste and I don’t believe a long enough process has taken place.”It’s not in the best interest of the students,” she said.Trustee Louise Piper disagreed. She said that as a board they needed to look at the needs of all students in the district, and while she sympathized that change is difficult, it’s still several months away, which would give students and parents ample time to adjust.”I get the concern, but this is the best thing for our district,” said Piper. “We have to consider 13,000 students and what the whole district will look like.”The boundary change is effective September 2011.

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