Update on the New School Controversy

If you haven’t read my first post on the new school controversy, you can find it here: http://colincarmichael.ca/a-new-school/

Earlier this week we attended a public meeting that we hoped would shed some light on the new school boundary situation. I honestly hoped that in talking to the school board planners that some previously unknown bit of info would surface that would make it all logical.

Didn’t happen that way. In fact, when I pointed out my concerns, the response I got from the planner was “you’re right, it’s not ideal.” Wow. Unfortunately, despite that acknowledgment of the non-sensical boundaries, there was a definite “nothing we can do” attitude. No invitation for alternative solutions or offers to be accommodating to certain neighbourhoods.

I’ve always felt that one should never complain about a problem without being willing to proffer a solution. I do not claim to be a “planner” or to take into account all of the intricacies of urban planning but here is how I would approach the situation…

Below is a map of southeast Galt with Stewart Ave school and the new school marked. I’ve overlaid a 1km radius on each school – which I think is a reasonable distance to expect kids to walk.

click for larger version

You can see that most of the kids in southeast Galt fall into one or the other of these 1km walking zones. There are, of course, those which fall out of the radius, and those within the radius but whose actual walk is too far. These children could easily be picked up by the buses bringing the rural kids into town from North Dumfries township.

Can it really be that easy? I doubt it. If it were that easy, the school board would have just done this in the first place. There must be, however, some middle ground – some way to ensure that kids aren’t being bused to one school when they could be walking to another.

if you’re interested in seeing the current boundaries compared to the board’s proposed ones, I’ve uploaded them here: http://colincarmichael.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/newandoldboundaries1.jpg

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3 Responses to “Update on the New School Controversy”

  1. Andrew says:

    Civil Engineering is never quite this easy. The biggest concern that they have with how the catchments work is how many children there are now in each catchment, and how many there is likely to be. Right now your 1km radius around New School will probably have less than a third as many kids as there are in the 1km radius around the other school.

  2. Hey Andrew, I realize it’s not as simple as that, but policies like this do have to pass a certain “common sense” threshold – and this one doesn’t. This became even more evident during a conversation with a trustee on Friday – she mentioned that there is a group of parents in the south end angry that they will be bused to Stewart Ave when they could easily walk to the New School. Again, it’s not as simple as a straight swap, but it is indicative of the Board’s tendency to solve problems by shunting kids onto buses.

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