Prioritize the Building of a West Calgary Catholic High School

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West Calgary is currently facing a crisis in access to Catholic education at the secondary level. Lacking a high school in their own communities, Catholic students are forced to commute well over sixty minutes to St Mary’s High School in the downtown community of Mission. This commute can involve walking, one or more busses, and two C-trains that take students through the heart of the city’s growing opioid crisis. The situation is now at a breaking point with the Calgary Board of Education high school, Ernest Manning High School, forced to redraw its borders due to untenable overcrowding and unacceptable class sizes. For Catholic students unwilling to make the unreasonable commute to St. Mary’s, Ernest Manning has become a closer alternative resulting in a mass exodus of students from from the Catholic system after grade 9. Ward 6 currently has the second largest youth population in the city of Calgary, with close to 15,000 young people. These children deserve access to a high school in their neighbourhood that compliments the K-9 system already in place. It is unacceptable that the CCSD has a site-ready location sitting vacant in the community of Aspen and has prioritized a West Calgary Catholic High School as priority ten of ten on the first year of its capital plan. While we respect the work of our board and trustees, we humbly ask that this school be reprioritized as a top-3 priority. It is imperative that a West Calgary Catholic High School be built as soon as possible to give students equitable access to education and alleviate pressure on overburdened schools that can no longer cope with the student population crisis currently unfolding in West Calgary. Build that school!