Monday, June 22, 2009

Boundary hopping killed

The Free Press' Kelly Pedro had a story over the weekend, published in print Monday (with an awesome photo by Derek Ruttan), regarding a clamping down on out-of-area students by the Thames Valley District School Board.
The primary class size cap is the main reason for the clampdown on out-of-area students, particularly in the JK-3 classes. The board has no flexibility when it comes to its primary ratios, as most of its leeway for classes over 20 is used due to facility issues (ie: no room to create a second class or add a portable).
(Angela) Forster said she's disheartened by the board's decision.
"Kids should not be forced away from what they know," she said. "They're getting kicked out of school not because they did anything wrong, but because someone who never met them made a financial decision."
This story has been coming down the pipe for several years now, since the primary class size initiative reached full implementation two years ago. At the time, the Ministry of Education told boards they could not exceed their board cap-- 90 per cent of JK-3 at 20, with only 10 per cent allowed over 20 but still under 23. If a school received a late registration in the fall, it could bump the student to the next nearest school with space available, or bump an existing student out.
So while the parents here are claiming their kids are suffering as a result of full enforcement of an existing board policy, would it be any better to tell a neighbourhood (within attendance boundaries) family their seven-year-old can't attend the school because two spots are being taken by out-of-area students? I would flip a lid if that ever happened to me.
Unfortunately, Forster's child will have to deal with change this fall because she took a chance and, on exemption, registered her child in the school she wanted, not her own neighbourhood school.


SQE said...

This situation is not surprising. We predicted this on Ontario election night in 2003 in response to the promise to class size caps.

California went through the same problems when they reduced class sizes and have since altered that decision.

See SQE's March 2007 Media Release "Class Size Caps, We hate to say we told you so, but..." (