The catchment plan for Winkler's new elementary school, and the intended ripple effects throughout Garden Valley School Division, has been decided.
Despite a push by some parents to make the new Pine Ridge School a feeder for Garden Valley Collegiate, and a petition circulated for the change, the GVSD board approved the plan originally outlined by the catchment committee. The community petition notes students in the Pine Ridge School could more easily walk or bike to Garden Valley Collegiate rather than Northlands Parkway Collegiate north of the city.
Board Chair Laurie Dyck says after reviewing the community feedback, and the implications of the many options, students completing grade 8 at Pine Ridge will attend Northlands Parkway Collegiate. According to GVSD the plan would minimize increased transportation costs and balance high school enrolments.
"If everyone could wave their magic wands I think we'd all pick what best suits our own family," Dyck says. "But what's great is there seems to be a general understanding that... this seems to be the best option when you look at the whole division, not just each individual family."
However, Dyck says flexibility remains for parents with school of choice forms, available to anyone in the division at any time. "It still has to create a balance within our schools, doesn't matter if we're building new or not, it's always a balance of can we add those students, do we have a negative impact on staffing in other schools... there's numerous factors."
In the approved plan, J.R Walkof will be converted to a K-3 school, while Emerado Centennial School will become a grade 4-8 school.
Students living in the Pine Ridge Development area will attend Pine Ridge School. Students living north of PTH 14, in the Gemstone, Redhawk and Rosebrook areas, will attend Pine Ridge School. New students moving into these areas will be assigned to any school in Winkler depending on capacity.
Families living in the Village of Reinfeld whose students are currently attending Parkland School will continue to attend Parkland. Students currently attending, Winkler Elementary, J.R Walkof or Emerado will have two options; approximately 100 students can choose to attend Prairie Dale School or Southwood. The remainder will attend Pine Ridge.
Southwood and Prairie Dale Schools will become catchment placements for students in the Village of Reinfeld.
The new Pine Ridge School opening fall 2019 will bring the total community of schools within GVSD to 14.