Schools for Stonebridge, Hampton Village low on priority list
Two growing neighbourhoods in Saskatoon could be without elementary schools for a lot longer.
The annual capital requests priority list was released by the Ministry of Education and it shows new public and Catholic schools for Stonebridge and Hampton Village are very low on this priority list.
"It was a bit of a shock. As a parent ... we moved (to Stonebridge) because of the notion that there would eventually be schools there," said Blair Pisio, president of the Stonebridge Community Association.
If parents in Stonebridge are not able to drive their kids to school, the children must cross a busy freeway or take a 45 minute bus ride to class.
"Young children have a short enough attention span as it is and when they have to sit on a bus for 45 minutes, they're exhausted by the time they get to school and then they have to go through their day. So, of course, their academics are going to be lacking," Pisio said.
The community association is putting together a report containing data on the number of current and future school-aged children in Stonebridge. It will be submitted to the Ministry of Education with the hopes of changing the government's mind on a school for the neighbourhood.
Pisio said having a school in Stonebridge will give the neighbourhood more of a community feel and be safer for kids. However, he has readjusted his hopes for the timeline of a school.
He now hopes by the time his 10-month-old daughter, Esmee, is old enough, there will be a school in Stonebridge.
"My goal as a parent is to hopefully be able to take a walk with my daughter when she's ready to go to Kindergarten and walk down to one of the Stonebridge elementary schools."
Pisio said he has already accepted the fact his two-and-a-half-year-old son, Otys, will have to attend a school outside the neighbourhood.
Public and Catholic elementary schools for Stonebridge and a public elementary school for Hampton Village are located very low on the Ministry's list in the "Priority Four" section.
The list is used to decide which schools will receive funding in the provincial budget to be built, renovated or repaired.
School boards disappointed
"It was disappointing to see the fact that they're not anywhere near the top of the list," said public school board chair, Ray Morrison.
He said the board has been advocating for a school in Hampton Village since 2002. Stonebridge was put on it's capital priority list in 2006.
"From my perspective, it's very much an uncertainty as to when those facilities would be funded at this point in time," Morrison said.
If the city's growth forecasts are correct, the schools will need to be put up quickly, he said.
"Probably by the time those are done we'll need a school in Evergreen and then Rosewood and then Kensington," Morrison said, referring to newer neighbourhoods in the city.
Diane Boyko with the Catholic school board says the schools have not moved up the priority list as quickly as they had hoped.
"But we're going to ensure that we're telling the ministry how this is impacting ... all the families that want Catholic education within those two subdivisions."
She said Catholic schools near Hampton Village are bursting at the seams.
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