The Greater Victoria School District is conducting a catchment boundary review. Due to increasing enrolment and limited space, the District needs to consider revising catchment boundaries to alleviate capacity constraints in some of its schools.
Since the 2015-16 school year, the District has seen more than 1,000 new students enter our schools. This is a growth pattern that is projected to continue in years to come.
Some schools are already operating at full capacity with the most recent class size changes and long-term projections indicate an additional 1,800 students will enroll in the District over the next ten years. The District must re-evaluate catchment boundaries in order to align a growing student population with each schools’ capacity.
There are many factors that the District needs to take into consideration while reviewing school boundaries, such as:
Age of current infrastructure
Capacity of Schools
Future Housing Starts
Safe Routes to School
Student Enrolment Priorities
Current Students Enrolment
Programs of Choice (French Immersion, Sports Academies, etc.)
Schools of Choice (Cloverdale, South Park)
For many years, there was a decrease in enrolment across the District giving students more flexibility to transfer from one catchment to another. Through declining enrolment, some schools were even closed. Most recently, the District has seen an increase in student registration.
History of enrolment increase/decrease over the past 8 years:
2011/12 – (164) decrease of 0.88%
2012/13 – (34.5) decrease of 0.18%
2013/14 – (211.3) decrease of 1.13%
2014/15 – 24.9 increase of 0.13%
2015/16 – 249.5 increase of 1.35%
2016/17 – 176.9 increase of 0.94%
2017/18 – 243.4 increase of 1.29%
2018/19 – 382.1 increase of 2.0%
The increase in student enrolment combined with limited space in some schools led to the District’s student enrolment priorities. In 2017, a consultation process on priorities took place to help determine the order in which students are placed in a school when space is limited. During that time, the District heard from the community the importance of students being able to attend their neighbourhood school – also known as their catchment boundary school. As well as the importance of keeping siblings together.
The feedback received from the public helped inform the District’s priorities. The Board of Education approved the student enrolment priorities in Spring 2017, to apply to all new registrations, transfer requests, elementary to middle and middle to secondary transitions. They were put in effect for the 2018-2019 school year to help alleviate space pressures at some school sites.
*Please note that student enrolment priorities will not change due to the catchment boundary review. Student enrolment priorities will apply to all new proposed catchment boundaries.
In addition to the growing student population, the Supreme Court of Canada reinstated contractual language that called for smaller class sizes. The smaller class legislation came into effect for the 2017-18 school year.
Boundary Review Consultation
As stated above, there are many factors contributing to the Catchment Boundary Review and even more considerations when creating new proposed boundaries. To increase awareness and greater understanding, a public consultation process will commence. The District will be seeking community input to understand the community’s perspective, which will help inform the decision-making of the Board of Education.
BOUNDARY REVIEW TIMELINE:
Survey Results presented to the Board of Education
December 10, 2018 – Operations Policy and Planning Committee Meeting
The District draws proposed catchment boundary borders
December – January
Revised maps presented to the Board of Education
January 14, 2019 – Operations Policy and Planning Committee Meeting
Consultation on proposed boundaries – Open Houses
January – February
Collect feedback on proposed boundaries and report back to the Board of Education
February – March
Board of Education determines new catchment boundaries
Implementation of new catchment boundaries
*The survey will be available here come mid-November.