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The Garden Valley School Division will be holding a number of meetings to discuss a recommendation for new school catchments that will come as a result of the opening of Pine Ridge Elementary School in the fall of 2019.

"The idea is to let the community know what the board has looked at in terms of options, in terms of who (students and staff) will be attending the new school, and the Parkland  portable2 relocationTwo additional portables were added at Parkland last summer. Reimer said the meetings will also include discussion on the plan to eliminate 19 detached portable classrooms in the division impact of that on the existing schools in the City of Winkler," said Superintendent Vern Reimer.

Pine Ridge's students will come from JR Walkof, Emerado, Winkler Elementary, and Parkland Schools.

In fall, the board commissioned a committee to take a look at the variables and various options.  Reimer said the board came up with four scenarios, with one in particular that was recommended to the board.  That recommendation will be shared with the public at the meetings.

When looking back at other new school openings in GVSD, Reimer said the opening of Pine Ridge will create the most complex opening to date for them. For example, when Northlands Parkway Collegiate opened in 2013, Garden Valley Collegiate was split impacting the secondary students and staff there.  "Here, this will be the most complex opening that we've got, because it will impact every elementary school in the City of Winkler.  That means that all four learning communities will be impacted, so there's just more variables in this equation trying to make sure we have all of the bases covered for each learning community, including the new one."

Reimer said the meetings will allow people to hear about the placement process and provide feedback.

Reimer says with some recent experience of opening new schools, Northlands Parkway in 2013, Prairie Dale in 2011, and Emerado in 2006, they've applied some lessons learned from each.  "We even looked at the process that was used in 1991 when Parkland was opened."  Reimer said in determining the new catchments, they need to ensure they have viable enrolments in each school, and transportation costs need to be considered.  "Those kids that can walk to school, we want as many of those to be able to walk, and then of course it probably comes down to, in a big way, total cost and then how do we keep each school enrolment viable."

The meetings are scheduled as follows.Tuesday, April 17 @ 7:00 pm at the Winkler Elementary School gym - for families who currently attend Winkler Elementary or Parkland School
Thusday, April 19 @ 7:00 pm at Emerado Centennial School gym - for families who currently attend JR Walkof or Emerado Centennial School
Tuesday, April 24 @ 7:00 pm at the GVC Zone (736 Main St., Winkler) - this meeting will be in High German

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