Langley Board of Education served appeal notice

R.C. Garnett PAC co-chair Lorraine Baldwin says parents feel very disheartened in regards to the Langley Board of Education
R.C. Garnett PAC co-chair Lorraine Baldwin says parents feel very disheartened in regards to the Langley Board of Education's reconfiguration process of converting their school to a K-to-5 school.
— image credit: Langley Times file photo

A frustrated R.C. Garnett parent served the Langley Board of Education a Notice of Appeal of its decision to convert his son’s school to a K-5, and bus Grade 6 and 7 students to the new Lynn Fripps school in Yorkson.

Clint Lee, who is a lawyer, hand delivered the appeal to Secretary-Treasurer David Green on Tuesday.

The appeal argues that the board must consider other means to alleviate overcrowding at R.C. Garnett first, including the removal of non-catchment area and non-school district children from his son’s school.

“We know there are several families who don’t live in the area or no longer live in our catchment,” he said.

His son is in Grade 4 and with the reconfiguration, he will be forced to attend four different schools in five years.

“Our children can look outside the window at R.C. Garnett but they can’t go there,” said Lee. His son will attend R.C. Garnett next year, Lynn Fripps the next, then change over to the new middle school for Grades 7 and 8 before switching to Mountain Secondary.

Langley School District’s policy on appeals is it must respond within 45 days of being given notice. The board can choose to not hear the appeal or consider an oral or written presentation from Lee.

In Lee’s appeal, he cites studies that show a student’s academic performance is severely hindered when being forced to switch schools so many times. The Langley School District’s policy is to give all students a sense of belonging through the school they go to, said Lee. Where is his son’s sense of belonging in this decision, he asked.

He also cites statistics on school bus crashes and worries for his son’s safety as he is bused two catchments away to school.

“Some things you just have to stand up for,” said Lee. He hopes other parents will file their own appeals of the board’s decision.

R.C. Garnett PAC co-chair Lorraine Baldwin said the entire reconfiguration process and location of the middle school has not been a candid process and most parents feel very disheartened by the whole experience.

“We have nine portables and were told they can’t afford to put another to accommodate the overcrowding at our school. So they built another elementary school. What is going to be the cost of staffing the transition team, busing all our kids and the consulting for making this decision?” she asks.

“I wonder which would cost more? A new portable or the reconfiguration?”

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