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‘Traditional program’ no longer safe in School District 57

Is the traditional program in S.D. 57 safe? The answer is no. The traditional program in Prince George has been nearly eliminated several times since its inception in 1997.

Is the traditional program in S.D. 57 safe?

The answer is no.

The traditional program in Prince George has been nearly eliminated several times since its inception in 1997. Central Fort George traditional school (CFGTS), the one remaining traditional choice program in S.D. 57 is in danger due to the repeated efforts of our school district.

It is hard to ignore the fact that it appears the school district may be attempting to eliminate the traditional choice entirely. The current district sustainability report of 2010, placed CFGTS on the list for closure, redirecting all children to Harwin elementary or back to their catchment school. It was stated in the report that "enrolment decline and financial challenges" were the reason for closure.

A decision has been made by the school board to postpone the proposed closure of CFGTS until the end of the 2010-2011 school year with the possibility of relocating the program to an alternative/active location. There have been no guarantees offered that the traditional program will continue in another school. This lack of support triggers concern over its future. It has been proven in the past that this type of program will not succeed within a dual track system. It is also a fact, when Highland traditional school closed its doors in 2003, and with students given the opportunity to attend CFGTS, only two families made the transition. With no concrete efforts made by either the board or the school district that the alternate location will be a traditional single-track program, one may conclude the efforts and suggestions made by our current district sustainability committee and followed through by our board members, may become a reality and the traditional school may become a "choice" program of the past.

Currently, CFGTS is a successful and thriving program which has maintained enrolment to near capacity. It has been able to sustain itself through other years of closure, in part, due to the fact that it has remained as a choice program in its original location.

I sincerely hope that I do not end up seeing the school district achieve what seems to be its intent with the closure of CFGTS.

Rather, I hope my children will be able to continue to attend and thrive in a very vital and successful "choice" school within our school system.

Julia Shaddick

Prince George