A group of Coldstream Elementary parents made an emotional plea to Vernon School District trustees Wednesday, asking to keep their children in the same school rather than having them transfer to Kidston.
“We are here to discuss the board amending the decision made on April 26 to not grandfather the siblings of children who attend Coldstream but have now been changed to the Kidston elementary catchment,” said Trinity Smith, whose daughter is in Grade 1 at Coldstream and has two younger children not yet in school. “We are hoping that under careful review and by including specific criteria of younger siblings, the board will alter their decision and grandfather siblings.”
Earlier this year, the school district changed the boundaries affecting the lower Middleton and Creekside areas, removing them from the Coldstream catchment and placing them in the Kidston catchment in an effort to balance out the over-capacity Coldstream school with the under-utilized Kidston.
“When the decision came out not to grandfather siblings other than the siblings of this coming kindergarten class, we repeatedly heard the reasoning for not doing so was based on the high projected number of children,” said Smith.
“The number that we heard would be 60 that would need to be grandfathered and this would greatly affect the numbers of Coldstream for years to come. We thought this number seemed abnormally high, so we wanted to be certain this number made sense. The boundary review spreadsheet failed to break down the in-catchment and out-of-catchment numbers. In the case of Coldstream, in the 2016/17 school year, out of 409 students, 78 of those students are out of catchment. I urge you to base this change on logical and accurate data in order to create a fair transition plan.”
Nicole Shortt has two children at Coldstream, with her two-year-old son starting kindergarten in 2020.
“Kidston is a fine school and I would have been happy to enroll my children there when we bought our house in the catchment area in 2013. However, it was not and I enrolled my children in our catchment school as I was supposed to,” she said.
“We have been a part of the Coldstream school community for four years and we love it; I volunteer with the PAC, my children are in sports and they are thriving. We both work full-time and rely on the network of parents and friends in our community to help with rides, supervision and support. It isn’t only the children that start over at a new school.”
According to Coldstream trustee Robert Lee, there are 69 children attending Coldstream who live in the new Kidston catchment. Coldstream has a capacity of 372 students, with a projected enrolment for 2017/18 of 402 students.
Parents are proposing a transition plan that includes closing the school to any new out-of-catchment children; that siblings of children currently attending Coldstream who live within the new Kidston catchment will be grandfathered into Coldstream as long as the following criteria are met: that families live in the new Kidston catchment as of April 11, 2017; children in that family are enrolled in Coldstream as of April 11; those families have siblings aged newborn to under four years of age as of April 11.
Board chairperson Kelly Smith said all of the information presented will be forwarded to the district’s boundary review committee, which meets Monday.