More portables may be needed at Crofton Elementary or older students could wind up being relocated to Chemainus Secondary School in the fall. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Two options on the table for older students at Chemainus and Crofton Elementary schools

More portables will be needed or a middle school model set up at Chemainus Secondary

Crofton Elementary School parents are concerned about what the future will hold for the older students at the school.

With both Crofton and Chemainus Elementaries at capacity, moving students to Chemainus Secondary that has space is being considered starting in the fall.

That was one of the main discussion topics during the second of three Cowichan School District 79 community conversation meetings about the North Zone long-range facilities plan last Tuesday, Jan. 29 at Crofton Elementary.

“I think honestly it’s not so much moving Grade 7s, but the Grade 6s to the high school” is the main concern, according to Crofton Elementary Parent Advisory Committee President Krista Brown. “I think we need more information.

“I think the longer we can keep our kids, the better. Some parents are all for it and think their kids are ready and others don’t.”

The population is expected to continue increasing at the elementary level in both Chemainus and Crofton, and current developments underway in both communities could make the projected numbers rise even higher.

About 80 people turned out at the meeting that followed a Jan. 12 session at Chemainus Secondary to further the discussion on the long-range plan for the North Zone.

Board of Education Chair Candace Spilsbury said there was a lot of follow-up after the first meeting to examine options presented by the community.

“At this meeting we explored some of those other options and why they may not work,” she noted. “Through our consultation and continued work, we are really focusing on two options.”

The first, Spilsbury indicated, is the continued purchase and installation of portables at Crofton and Chemainus Elementary schools. “There are already portables at those locations, but to accommodate the projected increase in student enrollment, many more will be needed.”

The second option, she explained, is to include the Grade 7, or both Grades 6 and 7 students, from those schools in a middle-school model within Chemainus Secondary.

“Staff are busy at work right now looking at both options and compiling and analyzing opportunities and concerns that parents brought forward,” Spilsbury pointed out.

A report will be brought back to the third meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13 at Chemainus Elementary. All are welcome.

“The Board is heartened to have the community so engaged with us offering informative, creative and thoughtful questions and ideas,” Spilsbury said. “Together we will accomplish our collective goal of offering the very best education for each and every student in our North Zone schools.”

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