News / Calgary

CBE seeking further public input in final stages of planning school program changes

The CBE is asking parents and community members to fill out another survey and offer feedback before the final decision is made for March 2017

Carrie Edwards, CBE director of transportation and planning spoke to media Thursday and the CBE education centre about impacted schools and feedback.

Lucie Edwardson / Metro

Carrie Edwards, CBE director of transportation and planning spoke to media Thursday and the CBE education centre about impacted schools and feedback.

The Calgary Board of Education is asking for public feedback once again as they head into the final phases of planning for future use of learning space at areas one, two and five schools.

Carrie Edwards, director of planning and transportation for the CBE, said despite opening many new schools this year — allowing for thousands of kids to attend school closer to home — some CBE schools are still too full, while others have too few students to offer robust programming.

In areas one and two, which covers the north half of the city) there are 11 schools impacted by proposed changes and in area five (covering the southwest part of the city) there are 16 schools impacted by proposed changes (a full list of schools are available on the CBE website).

“Decision making will also be guided by our planning principals which include minimizing disruptions for students, allowing students to attend school as close to home as possible, providing long term sustainability and using space and resources effectively,” said Edwards, who added that final decisions will be presented in March 2017 and come into effect in the 2017-2018 school year.

Edwards said community participation and feedback has helped guide the CBE’s future plans and that over two sets of engagement sessions more than 1,540 people attended, and in two online surveys they received more than 4,130 responses.

“Generally speaking, feedback from the public indicated how important it is for students to be able to attend a school close to home,” she said. “So, our plans reflect that.”

Edwards said the CBE has maintained existing regular programs at affected schools as a result of the feedback, but she also said there were a number of varying responses they continue to work through including grade configurations, with parents expressing apprehension about the middle school model.

“This feedback indicates to us the need to increase communication and build awareness,” she said. “Highlights of the changes include keeping regular community program students close to home and allowing for growth in some of our alternative programs by moving them to a larger school facility.”

Those wishing to offer feedback can do so by visiting the CBE website.

“These were not easy decisions to make. The perspectives shared with use were carefully considered in our decision making process,” said Edwards. “We have taken all of the information and we are trying to do what is right. Right for our students, our teachers, our schools and our communities."

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