Sunday, 27 April 2014

On Sunday, April 27, 2014 by PWSParents
On the second day of criticism my community shared with me.......

Link to Community Complaints Regarding Park West Boundary Review
Link - Best Possible Learning Environment Overlooked

2.       Failure to recognize school boundaries or cap enrolment

Staff have allowed students to attend the school without regard to where they live or enrolment. There are policies to reduce enrolment. By not implementing the policies to reduce enrolment, it is reasonable to conclude that enrolment is not viewed by staff as a problem.
The current enrolment of 783 includes an estimated 100 out of area students, most of whom are without permission. Staff do not follow the Student Registration Policy that requires the recognition of school boundaries. Thus, they are permitting the enrolment to be inflated by the 100 students from other communities. Recognition of the existing school boundary by staff would cause an estimated immediate enrolment reduction to 683 (783-100).
Additionally, enrolment is projected to decrease by 30 students per year for each of the next three years, which provides for the following projected enrolments:
September 2014                           653  (783 – 100 – 30)
September 2015                           623  (783 – 100 – {30 + 30})
September 2016                           593  (783 – 100 – {30 + 30 + 30})        
All of the above enrolment numbers, including the current enrolment, are within or less than the “functional capacity” of the school (recently acknowledged by staff to be in the range of 730-810).
Recognition of existing catchment areas is required by policy. It is the least disruptive means to reduce enrolment. It does not require any special steps by staff or involvement of the Board or volunteer committees. Staff have refused to follow the policy. They have not taken any steps to reduce enrolment.
In response to the Board and staff initiating the review, numerous community members, including the school PTA, called upon staff to enforce the school boundaries. The PTA’s request:
To the HRSB Superintendent and Elected Board,
The motion below was unanimously passed at the February 19, 2014 meeting of the Park West School Parent Teacher Association:
‘A motion was made by Christa Brothers during the February 19 PTA meeting that the HRSB be required to enforce the boundaries of Park West School and have parents show proof of residency in the area.  The motion was seconded by Kelly Greenwood and a vote taken showing that this request was unanimous among those present at the meeting.’

In light of the overwhelming support from the large number of Park West PTA members at this regularly scheduled meeting, we ask that the Elected Board instruct the HRSB Superintendent and the HRSB Superintendent subsequently instruct the appropriate HRSB staff members to take steps to require the Principal of Park West School to take immediate steps to verify the place of residence of students at the school as required by HRSB Policy B.028.  Without verification of residency of all the students currently enrolled at Park West School, it is difficult for concerned parents of students at the school to contemplate any changes to the boundaries or configuration of the school catchment area or to assess whether any particular change would be effective.  If parents from the community face those challenges, those challenges must be magnified for Elected Board members some of whom may not be familiar with the Park West School neighbourhood.
With the boundary review that is currently underway by the HRSB involving Park West School, your urgent attention to this matter is requested.  On behalf of the PTA I ask that the HRSB Superintendent and the Chair of the Elected Board each acknowledge receipt of this correspondence by reply email to me upon receipt, and that you each respond to the substance of the request on or before March 7, 2014 and advise what action the Elected Board will take as a result of this request.
Board members did not acknowledge the request. Staff have refused to take any steps.[1] On March 12th, the Superintendent stated that he refuses to determine the accurate student population in the Park West area by requiring proof of address, despite knowing that it could impact on the boundary review. He was also asked to provide the boundary review committee with accurate information on the functional capacity for the school (namely, that functional capacity includes portables); which he refuses to do.
Another least disruptive means to reduce enrolment is to cap it. It does not require any special steps by staff or involvement of the Board or volunteer committees. Staff have refused to implement this means to reduce enrolment.
Board members and staff initiated the boundary review claiming there was a need to reduce enrolment in this school. In fact, they are pursuing a closure of the junior high portion of the school under the guise of a boundary review. It is unconscionable for the Board and staff to misuse the boundary review process and pursue a knowingly flawed, burdensome and upsetting process. It is inconceivable that they would even consider such a process without having first pursued less disruptive means to reduce enrolment, namely to follow their own policies and reduce enrolment by recognizing the school catchment area and capping enrolment. With knowledge of significant underutilization of schools in Fairview and Clayton Park, the Board should be examining whether the best possible learning environments would be achieved by closing one or more of those schools.

[1] In March, school staff circulated a registration form for students/parents to complete. School staff, on their own initiative or by direction, did not request or obtain proof of address. Any representation that this initiative provided proof of address or that it was a genuine attempt to identify out of area students would be misleading.