Vimy Ridge Public School could be closed to new families in Ottawa’s Findlay Creek neighbourhood

New families moving into Ottawa’s Findlay Creek neighbourhood next year may not be allowed to send their children to Vimy Ridge Public School, as the public school board looks to address overcrowding at the five-year-old school.

The Ottawa Carleton District School Board will vote Tuesday evening on a plan to manage overcrowding at the south end school by closing the school to new families moving into the neighbourhood.

Under the staff proposal, starting January 1, 2023, all new elementary students new to the Findlay Creek area will be directed to either Robert Bateman Public School for Kindergarten to Grade 6, and Roberta Bondar Public School for Grades 7 or 8.

Vimy Ridge Public School on Kelly Farm Drive opened in 2017 with a capacity of 674 pupil spaces. As of Oct. 29, 1,081 students were enrolled at the school, with 17 portables set up to accommodate students.

The Ontario government announced $19 million in funding for a new public elementary school in Findlay Creek with space for 674 students last month, but the board says it takes two years to construct a school.

The board initially looked at redirecting Grade 7 and 8 students from Vimy Ridge Public School to Steve MacLean Public School, 10 kilometres away.  Staff note that during public consultations, the option was met with “concern” from both school communities, including concerns about overcrowding at Steve MacLean Public School and a possible time change for the school.

During discussions with a working group, staff suggested a second option to redirect any new students to the Findlay Creek community to Robert Bateman or Roberta Bondar schools.

“The benefit of this option is that existing students and residents are not disrupted,” staff say in the report.

Those moving into the neighbourhood would be planning for their children to make a school move anyhow; but under this proposal, the move would not be to a school located in Findlay Creek directly.”

Staff note redirecting any new students in the community to Robert Bateman or Roberta Bondar schools will not have “as dramatic” an impact on alleviating overcrowding at the school.

“It is steady and manages pressures until a new school can be built,” the report says.

Younger siblings of existing students at Vimy Ridge Public School would be grandparented to the school.

If the plan is approved, starting on Jan. 1, 2023, and until new boundaries can be established for the new elementary school in Findlay Creek, students moving into the Vimy Ridge Public School attendance boundary will be directed to Robert Bateman Public School or Roberta Bondar Public School.

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