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Victory school parents not happy with ‘workable alternative’

Parents of French immersion students at Victory school aren’t satisfied with a compromise proposed by the school board that would reduce the number of Victory students moved to King George school in 2014, one of them says.
“I think it’s disappointing,” said Aaron Blair, who has spoken to the school board as a delegation representing French immersion parents opposed to the board’s plan. “It is an improvement, but it doesn’t really address the core issues,” he said in an interview Friday.
Victory is caught up in a boundary review for the rebuilt King George school, which opened this fall. The review is determining what King George’s boundaries will be in September 2014, when it becomes a junior kindergarten to Grade 8 French immersion centre.
A report this fall from Upper Grand District School Board staff said their preferred scenario would see all of Victory’s Grade 4 to Grade 6 French immersion students moved to King George in 2014. JK-6 students in the regular English track at Victory would remain at the school located next to Exhibition Park. Staff’s final report, released Friday, says a “workable alternative” would be to keep Grade 4 French Immersion students at Victory for the 2014-15 school year, while sending its Grade 5 and 6 FI students to King George starting that year.
Under this option, Victory would keep its FI students in Grade 4 “subject to annual monitoring,” the report says. Grade 4 FI students would continue going to Victory only so long as this doesn’t push enrolment past the point where three portables are needed on the small school site, says the new report, which goes to the board’s business operations committee this evening (Dec. 11).
The report says enrolment pressures will hit Victory in September 2014, because that’s when full-day kindergarten comes to the school. The increasing popularity of French immersion is also a factor in enrolment pressures at the school, it says.
Currently, Victory has 200 FI students and 84 students in the regular English track.
The compromise being proposed by staff for consideration by trustees would see 20 to 30 fewer students moved from Victory to King George in 2014, the report says.
The core issues of parents that aren’t addressed by the compromise proposal, Blair said, include difficulties faced by families who’d have young children at two different schools – Victory and King George.
Another core issue the new option doesn’t address, he said, are the effects on Victory of having so few older students if many of them are sent instead to King George.
“The senior students do a lot, whether it be reading buddies or safety patrols or lunchtime helpers,” he said.
With the school board scheduled to make a final decision on Dec. 18, French immersion parents plan to keep up the fight against the board’s proposals, Blair said.
“The response I’ve had so far has been fairly consistent that this isn’t the plan we are looking for,” he said of the board’s compromise proposal.

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