'Why wouldn't they make our zone bigger?' St. Jean parents ask
The president of the St. Jean Home and School Association says she's perplexed by a Public School Branch move that she says will shrink the school's zone in September.
St. Jean Elementary was one of two schools saved from closure this month, when the P.E.I government announced it will keep all schools open in September.
But home and school president Janna-Lynn Durant fears that as a result of rezoning, St. Jean will become a target for closure again in the future.
"They're not going to put money into our building if they're not going to give us students to occupy it," said Durant. " It feels like they're doing this on purpose to push us out in the end."
St.Jean/West Kent dual zone turning into single zone
Right now, sections of about a dozen streets west of Spring Park Road are dual zoned for West Kent and St. Jean, meaning students living in the area can attend either school.
Starting in September, that area will be zoned only for West Kent.
"Our zone has shrunk considerably with the dual zone being gone now," said Durant.
According to the Public Schools Branch, while there are 48 elementary students living in the dual zone, just 9 are currently attending St. Jean.
In an email to CBC, PSB director Parker Grimmer explained the dual zone is one of several being eliminated to allow for, among other things, more "accurate planning of student populations."
Grimmer added that West Kent was chosen to take on the new single zone in an effort to boost its English student population.
"The impact will be that there will be at least 120 regular English program students in both West Kent and St. Jean Elementary schools in September 2017," said Grimmer in the e-mail.
"This is a number both schools require to plan for the needs of the K-6 student populations."
'We have room,' says home and school association
But Durant pointed out St. Jean will still be at roughly 25 per cent capacity in September. She questions why the branch didn't make the school's zone bigger, in an effort to increase the student population.
"We have all these schools surrounding us — West Kent, L.M. [Montgomery], Sherwood, Spring Park. A lot of these schools are over capacity, and we're under," said Durant.
"So why wouldn't they make our zone bigger, so we can help with the overpopulation of other schools, and help bring them here? We have room for them. We'd welcome them with open arms."
Grimmer said the board's zoning decisions are final. Durant's still hoping to schedule a meeting with the Public Schools Branch to make her case.
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