Looking for solutions to school overcrowding
Stratford Mayor David Dunphy says the town is about to take a serious look at overcrowding in its schools.
Town council passed a resolution at its regular public monthly meeting on Wednesday publicly acknowledging the resolution the Public Schools Branch itself passed in April.
That’s when the school board recommended the province take action to add new school infrastructure to the area.
“The next step for us is we want to bring together a working group of parents and representatives of the home and school (association) about the issue with the goal of presenting in the fall,’’ Dunphy said Thursday.
“We want to engage with our parents and bring a small working group together to deal with this issue and come up with recommendations and do some more analysis of data.’’
Dunphy is talking about looking five to 10 years down the road, not just planning for the immediate needs in terms of overcrowding. The town is growing, and that growth is likely to continue.
One could assume that Stratford wants a new school, but Dunphy doesn’t want to assume anything.
“When we meet, I think we’ll come to an agreement on what it should be and I don’t want to prejudice that.’’
Rezoning will move some Stratford junior high students from Stonepark to Birchwood.
Dunphy said if that doesn’t solve the issue in the junior high portion of the problem in the short or long term then thought needs to turn to building a junior high in Stratford.
“We will make specific recommendations like that, for example, to the Public Schools Branch after we’ve had a chance to review the situation and look at the long-term population growth in Stratford and area.’’
There is already a problem with the two schools in the town, with Glen Stewart Primary over capacity while Stratford Elementary School will be at capacity in September.
Meanwhile, Stratford’s high school-aged children attend Charlottetown Rural, which is at capacity.
“We feel that our children are not getting the same quality of education as other areas because of overcrowding issues, whether we’re talking about bathroom access (or) gym access. It’s those kinds of things . . . teachers being put in a position where they don’t have the facilities, the locations, the classrooms, the special learning areas that they require. They’re doing a great job, but they need more resources, more facilities.’’
One idea Dunphy floated, that could be presented to the school board, was changing the primary school from K-3 to K-2, changing elementary from Grades 4-6 to 3-5 and building a junior school to handle Grades 6-9.
Stratford Mayor David Dunphy says a working group that includes parents and representatives of the home and school association will be created with the goal of making a presentation this fall to the Public Schools Branch that addresses the town’s overcrowding issues in the schools.