Traditional program finds home at Hillside school

Trustees vote Monday on designating two elementary schools as ones of choice

School trustees will vote Monday whether Edwin S. Richards and Hillside elementary will become schools of choice, which would see the traditional program housed at the latter.

A public meeting was held April 29 at Hillside school to explain the scope and definition of the traditional model.

Trustees decided in mid-April to place the program at Hillside, and after staff and the PAC were informed, a parent meeting was held April 25, said board vice-chair Jim Taylor.

Chair Edie Heinrichs said according to numbers gathered by Hillside administrative staff, 97 out of about 241 students would remain if a traditional model was instituted throughout the school. But if a shared campus system was put in place — where the traditional program would be run alongside the regular school — 53 would leave, 72 have not responded, and 19 were undecided.

The board has committed to a kindergarten to Grade 2 program to start this September, but it is expected that higher grades will be phased in, said Taylor.

If this doesn’t pass, trustee Carol Hamilton said it could be “back to square one” for the traditional program.

Heinrichs said she has heard from several parents who are angered by what they view as a decision made without consultation.

“This is not a school closure,” she said, which would require a longer, formal process. Senior administrative staff can recommend that a program be placed in a school.

But parent Leanne Karatsikis said she feels the school wasn’t given a choice.

“I may not have a problem with a traditional school, but the discussion should be had. Why was no one asked?”

The board will also consider making ESR an arts-based school of choice. This program has been running there for a few years, but a board approval will see boundaries removed, and waiting lists created if there is an abundance of interest.

The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. May 6 at Fraserview Elementary School, located at 32444 Seventh Ave.