Parents Express Range of Emotions Over Springwood Re-Opening
Prince George, B.C. – About 100 parents turned out to ask questions and express both happiness and concern about the reopening of Springwood Elementary School this September at a public information session at Kelly Road Secondary School last night.
“I 100 per cent support this move,” said Lisa Blackley, a mother of two children and whose oldest will attend kindergarten at Springwood this September. “It means a smaller school and smaller classes for my kids.”
Another mother, Kirsten O’Donnell, echoed Blackley’s pleasure.
“Having gone to a rural school myself, it’s a different atmosphere than the bigger schools. It’s a closer-knit group,” she said.
Other parents wanted assurances that kids wouldn’t miss out on extra curricular activities they would have benefitted from at Heather Park Elementary now that they’re headed to Springwood– like a class trip to Europe next winter.
“One of the most common questions to do with Heather Park is programming,” said School Board Chair Tim Bennett. “I think this is a situation where we’ll be able to create a great legacy at both schools.”
Superintendent of Schools Marilyn Marquis-Forster said school bus concerns – namely the fear school buses might have to make a left-hand turn onto Chief Lake Road from Highway 97 – would be addressed by the District’s Traffic Safety Committee later this spring.
Some parents were critical of the school district for the short notice they were given to prepare for the move while another was concerned about future staffing at Springwood asking, “if they would all be young and just out of school.”
Gillian Burnett, president of the Prince George District Parent Advisory Council, acknowledged while “an informative” session – all the concerns were based on parents “fear of the unknown.”
“The unknown is what causes people the greatest concern. The more we can tell parents, the quicker we can do this so we can have those answers for them the better.”
The District announced the reopening of Springwood at its public board meeting April 4.
Marquis-Forster said it was prompted by the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation Supreme Court of Canada victory last November and the subsequent need for 10 more classrooms in the Hart area.
(She also noted it was helped along by a growing population).
Parents with additional questions about the reopening can email the district at firstname.lastname@example.org.