OCDSB wants to move class 7-8 students from Vimy Ridge Public School due to overcrowding

OTTAWA – The Ottawa Public School Board appears to be sending 7th and 8th graders at Vimy Ridge Public School in Findlay Creek to another school 10 miles away due to overcrowding at the four-year-old school.

Vimy Ridge Public School on Kelly Farm Drive opened in 2017 with a capacity of 674 student places. Pr. On October 29, 1,081 students were enrolled in the school, with 17 laptops set up to accommodate students.

A report to the Ottawa Carleton District Board meeting on Dec. 7 outlines a plan to ease enrollment pressure at Vimy Ridge Public School by redirecting Class 7 and 8 students to Steve MacLean Public School until a new school is built in the area.

There are currently 5,185 homes being built in Findlay Creek.

“During 2020, a nearly decade-long large number of homes were built (680), which is likely to accelerate enrollment growth and housing pressure at Vimy Ridge Public School,” the board report said.

The state board initially identified the need for two elementary schools as part of the City of Ottawa’s community development plan. The school offers kindergarten to grade 8 English with the Core French and Early French Immersion Program.

“With sustained growth in the community over the next few years, enrollment growth is no longer sustainable at the school,” OCDSB said.

Enrollment is expected to increase to 1,219 students for the school year 2022-23 and 1,370 students in 2023-24, “resulting in the need for 24 and 28 laptops for teaching, respectively.”

Staff have developed a plan to address enrollment pressure at Vimy Ridge Public School by redirecting the Class 7 and 8 attendance limits to Steve MacLean Public School on Spratt Road in Riverside South.

Under the proposed plan, Class 7 students will be redirected to Steve MacLean Public School in September 2022, and Class 8 students will be redirected in 2023.

  • For 2022-2023, the grade structure at Vimy Ridge Public School will be revised to kindergarten for grade 6 and grade 8.

  • Current (2021-2022) Class 7 Vimy Ridge Public School students would remain at Vimy Ridge Public School to complete Class 8.

  • For 2023-2024, the grade structure at Vimy Ridge Public School will be revised to grade 6 kindergarten.

Moving class 7 and 8 students to Steve MacLean Public School would reduce enrollment at Vimy Ridge Public School by 100 students per year, while enrollment at Steve MacLean PS would increase to 961 students in the first year and 1,046 students in the second year.

Nine laptops were to be built at Steve MacLean Public School in the first year, with 12 laptops in year two.

“Ultimately, the relief of enrollment pressure in this part of the district will be realized with either the opening of another elementary school in the Findlay Creek community (not yet funded) and / or the opening of a new Riverside South high school ( Gr 7-12), which is now scheduled for an opening in September 2024, “says OCDSB’s staff report. “The boundaries of participation, program offerings and opening degree structures for these new schools will be the subject of a broader public consultation process.”

In May, the Ottawa Carleton District School Board submitted a capital-priority funding facility to the Department of Education to fund a new school in Findlay Creek with room for 674 students. The board has acquired a plot of land on Kelly Farm Drive for the new school, down the street from Vimy Ridge Public School.

The OCDSB will form an advisory group in December and host public hearings on the relocation of Class 7 and 8 students from Vimy Ridge Public School in February. A final decision on the temporary housing measures will be made by the Ottawa Carleton District School Board in February.

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