The gymnasium of Okotoks Dr. Morris Gibson school was filled last night as parents gathered to discuss the proposed school boundary change.
The Foothills School Division released their proposed boundary revision late last year, and it was received with a fair bit of concern from parents.
The meeting was held in order to provide concerned parents with a forum to discuss the boundary and possible alternatives.
After a brief presentation, parents were left to discuss the pros and cons of the boundary, as well as some alternatives.
The FSD's Board of Trustees were all present at the meeting, and moved from table to table to talk directly with parents.
Representatives from each table then stood and and voiced their concerns and ideas in front of the entire crowd.
Dave Kissel, a local parent whose two children are to be moved from Westmount to Big Rock under the proposed boundary, says the Cimarron area seemed to be a common point of contention with parents.
"I think there's a general consensus that on the South end of town, the Cimarron proposal was very common in all the groups. I want to consider redrawing that boundary along the boulevard. Our concern with the Westmount school particularly on the North end; geographically they're closer to Big Rock. We feel that the boundary perhaps was drawn to encompass that due to the name of the school being called "Westmount." By chance that's the only public school that reflects the neighbourhood name."
Kissel says another concern is that the criteria used to redraw the boundary didn't seem to be reflected in some areas which would require students to walk to a school farther away than the one they are already attending.
Local parent Joy Grills, who created a petition in opposition of the proposed change, says though she thought the meeting was productive, she wishes it had occurred much earlier.
"This kind of meeting should've been started when the shovels first hit the ground over a year and a half ago. It felt very rushed. I think we should've had more of this type of meeting to give other parents who were unable to attend this meeting a chance to say their piece."
Though disgruntled with the timing, Grills says the meeting was good overall, particularly because the Board of Trustees were there for it.
"I think it was a good meeting overall. We got to hear from other parents in all the other districts about their thoughts and concerns. It was really great to meet the Board of Trustees and the other members of the Foothills School Division. It kind of grounded it a little bit; these are the mythical people that are making these decisions, and it was nice to finally meet them."
From here, the board will meet to discuss any changes they wish to make, with their final decision to be made during their March meeting.
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