About 40 to 50 people armed with lots of questions came out to the Langley School District’s last open house on the potential future of Langley schools on Wednesday night at the school board office.
A father of a student at Blacklock Elementary was there to see what the future could hold for his daughter.
“Everything that is being decided will impact her future,” he said. He liked the idea of Stafford turning back into a Grade 9-12 high school because then his daughter could attend the same school without being moved around.
D.W. Poppy Secondary PAC treasurer Jackie Cook wonders why it’s OK for her children to be bused a distance to school but it’s not OK for children in Willoughby.
“We are underpopulated at our school and could take students from Willoughby. We’ve been told busing students is damaging for them and an unfavourable option.If that’s the case, what about the hundreds of kids like mine who have bused from Fort Langley to Poppy? Are they damaged? Don’t throw the rest of the district under the bus in this process,” said Cook.
Several argued in favour of building a new high school at LSS instead of in Willoughby, saying the location is actually central to numerous neighbourhoods and could easily take lower Willoughby students via bus from 208 Street.
All of the options, including changing Simonds Elementary into a middle school or expanding Brookswood Secondary to accommodate LSS students, will be considered by Board of Education trustees at their Jan. 27 meeting.
District PAC executive member Suzanne Perreault said they asked the district to hold one more community consultation to give parents and PAC members one last opportunity to see all the possibilities put out by the school district.
“We were hearing from our members that they didn’t get to the community consultations held at H.D. Stafford and R.E. Mountain in December,” said Perreault, who ran for school trustee in the last election.
“We really wanted to make sure there was every opportunity for every person to be as informed as possible.”
DPAC held a public meeting following the open house. At that meeting, superintendent Suzanne Hoffman was asked to speak again about the options being considered.
Parents spoke of the amount of upheaval that has taken place at Langley schools, from changing to a middle school district and changing elementary schools to K-5.
Now more changes are on their way.
Langley City Councillor Dave Hall, a former trustee, attended and said he remembers when Walnut Grove Secondary was starting to burst at the seams and the district wanted to cap enrolment there.
He believes the same turmoil will erupt eventually in Brookswood with developers waiting to build up that area.
No money for a new high school has been promised by the Ministry of Education, but it has told the district to be ready with a plan just in case money becomes available.