School district launches catchment consultation process in the Comox Valley

Comox Valley Schools is commencing an important boundary catchment consultation process beginning Nov. 4 to address pressure points while aligning student placement with school capacity in the school district.

The board of education is seeking input from the community on important considerations when re-evaluating catchment boundary changes to balance registration with the space availability at specific catchment schools in the district.

Due to increasing enrolment and limited space, some schools are operating near or above capacity with no additional room or viable options to expand, while other schools have space and are not projected to grow. With enrolment projections expected to climb over the next 10 years, the board is acting now to address the growing student population in the Valley.

“A growing student population, which we have experience for three consecutive years, is good news for the District as it brings increased funding for public education. However, it does impose pressures on school capacity,” said Tom Demeo, superintendent of schools. “It’s really important for our community to understand that they play a critical role in addressing student population growth. Together, the board, staff and the community can shape final decisions on school catchments, which best reflects the needs of our students and families.”

The board began a pre-consultation process last spring. At those meetings, the community shared that in order to help the district with this decision they needed accurate enrollment numbers and a few initial ideas of how to address the overcapacity issue. A consultation process was designed with these requests in mind.

The consultation process will be conducted in two rounds of discussions with each of the school communities where enrollment pressures or concerns exist.

The purpose of the Round 1 consultations is to share information and data with the community and to explore ideas, which will address the enrollment problems in some of the district’s schools. Parents will be invited to give some of their own ideas and provide feedback on the data and information presented. All the feedback will be collected and used to formulate options for the board to consider.

Participants should be prepared to engage in table discussions. If more consultation sessions are required they will be scheduled, with ample notification given to the community to attend.

In addition to the scheduled public consultation sessions, the District has launched an online survey. The survey is available at https://bit.ly/33FxQzw

Based on input and feedback gathered from the survey, forum and the consultation process, the District senior staff will be able to develop options and recommendations, which will be presented to the Board of Education for a final decision in early 2020.

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