Vancouver School Board delays kindergarten entry draws by at least 1 month

Superintendent of Vancouver schools announces resignation

Some Vancouver parents who have registered their children for kindergarten will have to wait at least another month to know which school their kids will attend this fall.

Kindergarten enrolment draws for full elementary schools were set to happen on March 1. But according to a statement from the Vancouver School Board, those draws have been delayed until at least April.

The school board says the delay is due to ongoing talks between the province and the BC Teachers' Federation regarding class size and composition following a Supreme Court of Canada decision in November 2016.

"The number of spaces available in each school varies across the district and the exact number will not become clear until more information is available from the provincial talks," reads the statement from the Vancouver School board.

18 schools in Vancouver affected

The board said 18 schools will be affected by the delay: Carnarvon, Emily Carr, Cavell, Dickens, Dickens Annex, Elsie Roy, False Creek, Fraser, Gordon, Hudson, Livingstone, Nelson, Norma Rose Point, Strathcona, Roberts, Roberts Annex, Weir and McBride Annex. 

The board said it will begin confirming enrolment now for children who already have a sibling attending a particular school. It will also begin confirming enrolment in kindergarten choice programs, which includes language immersion and fine arts programs.

All other hopeful registrants will have to wait until April, when the board anticipates enrolment draws will take place.

In the meantime, the board says it is working to determine which schools can accommodate students that end up on a wait list for their catchment school.

The school board says all children registered for kindergarten in September will have a space at a school.

Government won't comment on BCTF negotiations 

The issue of kindergarten spaces was also brought up in the legislature on Thursday, as Coquitlam-Burke Mountain MLA Jodie Wickens told the house that two parents in her constituency don't know whether their children will get a space in the school closest to them.

"Burke Mountain is bursting at the seams because this government failed to plan for growth, leaving it until election time, until they suddenly take interest in it," she said. 

"Schools have been closing across this province, and many of the remaining schools that are open are bursting at the seams ... The failure to plan is this government's fault."

Education Minister Mike Bernier says while he can respect the Vancouver School Board is waiting to see what happens at the negotiation table, decisions around enrolment are still made by the school districts.

"I can respect the fact they're waiting to see what happens at the negotiating table and our goal is to wrap those up as soon as possible." 

Bernier says negotiations with the BCTF are going very well, but it's premature to say when they will conclude. The BCTF has expressed optimism in the talks, but says an agreement ideally needs to be made this month in order to ensure school boards and parents can adequately plan for the 2017-2018 school year.