Kids First! Say No To Proposed Catchment Changes for Juniper and Marion Schilling Schools.

Kids First! Say No To Proposed Catchment Changes for Juniper and Marion Schilling Schools.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!
At 1,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!
Residents Opposed to SD73 Proposed Catchment Changes started this petition to Dr. Terry Sullivan (School Superintendent - SD73) and

The Kamloops-Thomson School District (SD73) is proposing to change the catchment boundaries for Juniper Ridge Elementary School (JRES) and Marion Schilling Elementary School. As part of this proposed change school age children in Juniper West would be removed from JRES and diverted to Ralph Bell Elementary in Valleyview. Children from Kindergarten to Grade 7 and as young as 4 years old would be transported out of their neighbourhood and away from their beloved community school, peers and teachers. We, the undersigned are firmly opposed to this proposed change for many reasons:

1. The proposed changes would impose a huge divide in our close-knit neighbourhood and remove access to a local community school for many children. One of the main reasons parents chose to live and raise our families in this community was to have our children attend JRES. The benefits of attending a community school are well studied and documented.

2. The proposed change would have major impacts on our children’s well-being, social development, health, and community connection, which have already suffered through the covid-19 global pandemic.

3. The marginal effect of spreading overcrowding to more schools by reopening Ralph Bell is overshadowed by the impacts and complete absence of benefits to affected families in Juniper Ridge. Our children would make up the majority of those impacted and would be paying too high a price if SD73 approves the proposed change in catchment. Affected Juniper Ridge children would lose their community school, be forced to commute, and would attend the most overcrowded school (Ralph Bell) according to SD73 projections.

4. The proposed changes would have immense negative impacts on access to daycare and before and after school care. The changes would displace approximately 8% of all licensed childcare spaces in Kamloops comprising three licensed facilities that currently occupy the Ralph Bell location and serve the broader community. This would worsen an existing crisis for many families desperate for limited childcare spaces.

5. There are real safety concerns about our younger children attending school in the proposed location of Ralph Bell. This is an area with significantly higher crime levels, right beside low-budget motels frequently featured in media for criminal activity and open drug use.

6. There are more effective and more respectful options to address the overcrowding challenges that recognize the importance of community design, our children’s well-being, the value of attending community schools and the precious interdependencies and relationships within our neighbourhoods. We support making Ralph Bell a Grade 6-7 school for both Juniper and Marion Schilling Elementary School catchments. This would protect our children's peer groups and friendships, it would allow all Juniper Ridge Children to benefit from attending their community school from Kindergarten to Grade 5, it would keep our community intact and not pit neighbours against each other, and it is equitable as the changes would be equal for everyone. A Grade 6-7 school at Ralph Bell would also enable peer groups from both catchments to integrate with one other at a smaller school prior to starting high school at Valleyview Secondary. It would also be more economical and streamlined to reopen Ralph Bell for grades 6 and 7 by focusing resources on fewer age groups instead of temporarily equipping Ralph Bell for Kindergarten to Grade 7 students.

This proposed change in catchment is a band-aid solution that will not solve the capacity challenges facing our schools and it will create additional and major problems for our children and our communities. Meghan Wade, the Board of Education’s Vice-Chair, was quoted saying “…if we do open [Ralph Bell], all we’re doing is sharing the pain” (Kamloops This Week, April 19, 2021). We demand that SD73 find a solution that minimizes trade offs and minimizes creating additional problems. Let’s pursue solutions that give our children as much stability, equity and community as possible!

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!
At 1,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!