Posts Tagged ‘wrdsb’

Another New School Update

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

The first two posts about this issue are here: here and here.

A very quick update to report that two WRDSB Trustees got in touch with on Friday and asked me on Friday to form a delegation to the Board to see if we can restore some common sense to the boundaries. If your family attends Chalmers and you would rather walk to Stewart Avenue than bus to Myers Road, please get in touch!

During one of those conversations, I was told that there is another group of parents who are upset about being bused to Stewart Avenue when they could be walking to Myers Road! Someone seriously dropped the ball on this accommodation review!

Update: The Cambridge Times published a guest column that I submitted last week: http://www.cambridgetimes.ca/opinion/columns/article/963483–boundaries-needs-to-be-revisited

Update on the New School Controversy

Friday, March 4th, 2011

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

A New School in the Neighbourhood

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Having kids changes your life. Duh. Just a few years ago, the building of a new school (and all of the bureaucratic wrangling that goes with that) was a mildly interesting civic event to someone like me who has an interest in local politics. Now, as our second child prepares for kindergarten in the fall (just as our oldest is leaving) the prospect of a new school in the neighbourhood has ramifications that will profoundly impact our family’s daily life.

My wife sits on the ‘School Council‘ at our kids’ school. The new school planned for southeast Galt (the part of Cambridge that I live in) and the boundary implication were mentioned at a recent meeting. This isn’t news but I hadn’t thought about it for a while and I was curious how the existing school boundaries would be affected.

A quick Google search brought me to the Waterloo Region District School Board’s Accommodation Review for southeast Galt elementary schools. There is a LOT of information here, and I will admit that I have not read it all. I did, however, spend a little time poring over the maps provided in Appendices C&D. (I love maps)

Appendix C: JK-6 boundaries:

click image for full-size

Appendix D: 7-8 boundaries:

click image for full-size

There are a couple of weird things I noticed:

  • our kids will go to the new school for 7-8 even though Stewart Ave is closer. This is even more problematic for us since we’ll have kids going in two directions (Chalmers and Glenview to the west and ‘NewSchool’ to the east even though Stewart Ave is situated between Chalmers and Glenview.
  • kids who live on Dudhope (a block away from Stewart Ave) will now be bussed the 1.9 kilometres to ‘New School’?
  • Based on my reading of the busing rules (here), it would seem that our kids will be bussed to ‘NewSchool’ (1.85 kms) when they could easily walk to Stewart Ave. (1.1 km). It’s ridiculous to bus kids within city limits when there’s a school within walking distance!

I realize that these are pretty complex things to figure out (especially with the Jr/Sr split) but I will maintain my position from my trustee campaign last fall that if we had smaller schools in more neighbourhoods we could probably eliminate all intra-city busing.

If you live in southeast Galt – or even if you don’t – what do you think of the plan for the new school? Leave a comment below…

Welcome Back!

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

The hiatus is over!

With the election now over, it’s back to semi-regular blogging here at home. I’ve committed myself to keeping up the conversations I’ve started about public education in Cambridge and to that end I’ve agreed to be the “Education Columnist” over at the Cambridge Citizen. The Citizen is a new(ish) digital community newspaper that has its roots in my Reporter/Voice adventures of 2008. Keep an eye out over there for my musings about the WRDSB in Cambridge.

I’m going to try to find some focus for this here blog – mostly to help me stay inspired to write. Any suggestions?