Lack Of Yaletown Kindergarten Space Leaves Huge Disapointment0
I’ve got a case of the kindergarten blues and it’s not the usual case of, ‘I can’t believe my baby is old enough to go to school’. Instead, it’s more, ‘I can’t believe my baby can’t get a kindergarten spot at our neighbourhood school’ kind of blues. Last week we learned that Ben did not get a spot at our neighbourhood school due to excess enrolment coupled with a severe lack of actual space for kindergarten students. While over enrolment has been a known issue with this school for years, and has been in the news since 2008, I was still feeling all verklempt and very annoyed when I got the email saying we were on the wait list. I am also feeling frustrated at the lack of support given to parents from the school as well as the Vancouver school board.
While most children in BC apply at the school within their neighbourhood, we are currently having to suss out other options of where to send Benjamin for the new school year in September. The numbers for Ben’s neighbourhood school look like this: 82 children applied for 37 spots, 20 siblings of older students had priority placement. Which left a measly 17 spots for new kindergarten families to enrol and 45 families disappointed.
An issue with this school is that last year the school accepted all of the 88 or so children that applied for kindergarten due to a new addition that had been built. So, we go from 88 enrolled students in 2012 to 37 enrolled students for 2013. Of course, the current kindergarten students have to move up in the school and thus the space is just not available for new students.
Another issue I have is the families who live outside of the catchment area who use fake addresses to apply to this over populated school. How do I know this happens for sure? Last month I had a mom in our Jr K class openly tell me how she is using her friends in catchment address to get her daughter into the school. So, I have to think that if one babbling fool is openly telling me this information there are probably other people who have kept their lies at bay as well. Which is maddening when it’s a numbers crunch like this.
When you choose to grow your family in the city you embrace the ability of being able to walk everywhere and part of that is walking your children to school. In fact, we were totally carless until last Spring and we use our car very minimally. Being able to walk to school was really important to us as a young family. Since Ben has been doing a Jr K program at the on site school child care centre, we have grown accustomed to our walk from our home to the school. We’ve also fit right into the community around the school and it is definitely sad thinking that we have to give that up. So, now we fill out cross boundary applications and cross our fingers that we can get a spot at an elementary school that is not too far away and also is a strong school that will support my child.
Despite knowing that this situation could occur, I can’t help but feel let down by this scenario and the overall lack of support given to parents in this situation from the school and the Vancouver school board. Today I talked to another parent who didn’t get a spot either and we commiserated in our kindergarten blues together. She feels a bit more blue as she literally lives right next door to the school that we both didn’t get a spot in.
Reading books while having lunch. This boy is getting ready for kindergarten.
Did this school situation happen to your children? What do you think should be done with the over population of schools? Eventually a brand new school will open up downtown but that doesn’t help with this situation right now.