Juniper Ridge / Marion Schilling

Juniper Ridge / Marion Schilling / Catchment Boundary Change and the Re-Opening of Ralph Bell Elementary 

The Board of Education of School District No. 73 (Kamloops-Thompson) has approved a catchment area change to the catchment boundaries for Juniper Ridge Elementary and Marion Schilling Elementary schools, and re-opening Ralph Bell as a K-7 elementary school for Sept. 2022.

The new Ralph Bell Elementary catchment includes Juniper West, west of Galore Drive, including future development areas in Juniper West, the Trail Side development in Juniper West, and the area west of Vicars Road, Rose Hill, and Sun Rivers. This catchment change eases the enrolment pressure at Juniper Ridge Elementary and Marion Schilling Elementary, and provides for balanced operational capacity at all three schools.

Time Line

  • April 14, 2021: Long Range Facilities Report Presented to Board. Staff make recommendations for four catchment changes and to re-open Ralph Bell Elementary  to ease enrolment pressures. 
  • April 19, 2021: The Board passes a motion to initiate a public consultation process to re-open Ralph Bell
  • A period of public consultation is held from Apr. 20, 2021, until Jun. 21, 2021.
  • May 5, 2021 a virtual public meeting is held to discuss these proposed changes. A recording of the meeting is posted below. 
  • Meetings are held with staff, PACs, KTTA, CUPE and Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc 
  • June 28, 2021, Staff present feedback and recommendations to Board, Board approves reopening of Ralph Bell Elementary.
  • July 5, 2021, Staff provides additional information to Board regarding catchment changes. Board approves catchment change, including the Trailside development. 

 

The District slide presentation shown during the May 5, 2021 public meeting is also posted here: Juniper Ridge / Marion Schilling Presentation

For more information, check the FAQ posted on this page. 

The Chair and Trustees of the Board of Education considered public input received before voting to re-open Ralph Bell Elementary at the regular Board of Education meeting on June 28, 2021, and to approve the catchment boundary changes at the regular Board of Education meeting on July 5, 2021. 


Juniper Ridge / Marion Schilling Livestream – May 5, 2021

Juniper Ridge / Marion Schilling Presentation

Board Policy 13 – School Closure and Reopening

According to the policy, the Board shall provide a 60-day public consultation process with respect to the permanent closure or reopening of a school, prior to the Board making its final decision on the possible closure or reopening of the school.

Superintendent Terry Sullivan provided the following rationale regarding the reopening of Ralph Bell Elementary. 

Space available in nearby schools. Availability of space at receiving school (1.2 and 7.1.3)
  • Juniper Ridge Elementary is currently well over capacity and will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Marion Schilling Elementary is at capacity and will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.
  • Ralph Bell Elementary is currently closed as a school, but has three daycare tenants occupying the entire facility.
Traffic and travel patterns and safety of access for students being relocate. Proximity of schools and the routes to schools. (1.3 and 1.4 and 7.1.4)
  • Ralph Bell Elementary is located approximately 5.3 km from Juniper Ridge Elementary and approximately 2.4 km from Marion Schilling Elementary.
  • The affected students from Juniper Ridge Elementary would be provided school bus service to Ralph Bell Elementary.
  • Affected students from Marion Schilling Elementary that are within walk limits to Marion Schilling Elementary will be within the walk limits to Ralph Bell Elementary. Affected students from Marion Schilling Elementary that currently ride a school bus will remain on the school bus and be dropped off at Ralph Bell Elementary.
Current and projected enrolment levels. Enrolment trends and utilization for the school and surrounding area. (1.5 and 7.1.2)
The following tables provide enrolment projections and utilization for Juniper Ridge Elementary, Marion Schilling Elementary, and Ralph Bell Elementary. The upper table provides the enrolment projections if no catchment changes are implemented. The lower table provides the enrolment projections for the revised catchments.
Potential Catchment Enrollment Changes - Juniper Ridge and Marion Schilling 
Potential Catchment Changes

 

Consultation
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is the Board of Education considering a catchment change for Juniper Ridge and Marion Schilling Elementary schools?
Juniper Ridge Elementary and Marion Schilling Elementary schools continue to have steady enrolment growth due to the development in Juniper Ridge.   
2. Why is the Board of Education considering re-opening Ralph Bell Elementary School?
In order to optimally balance student enrolment and facility capacity utilization between the schools, it is recommended that the Board consider re-opening Ralph Bell Elementary School as a K–7 elementary school. 
3. If the Board decides to re-open Ralph Bell Elementary School, how will the catchment areas be changed? 

For the proposed boundary review of Juniper Ridge/Marion Schilling and proposed re-opening of Ralph Bell Elementary, a 60-day period of public consultation as per Board Policy 13 will be confirmed after a review of the Board Report by the Board’s Education, and Finance Planning Committees, and a recommendation to the Board on April 19, 2021.

The 60-day period of public consultation will be held from Apr.20 to Jun. 21, and a public meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, via zoom, to discuss these proposed changes. 

 
4. What would the Ralph Bell Elementary School catchment look like?
The Ralph Bell Elementary School catchment would include Juniper West, west of Galore Crescent (corrected from Galore Drive), including future development areas, and the area west of Vicars Road, Rose Hill, and Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc. This catchment provides for balanced operational capacity at all three schools.  
5. How will the decision be made regarding this catchment change?
A period of public consultation will be held from April 20, 2021 to June 21, 2021. On June 28, 2021, the Board will consider the public input when it makes its decision regarding the catchment re-opening of Ralph Bell Elementary School and the catchment boundaries for Juniper Ridge Elementary and Marion Schilling Elementary schools. 
6. How can I ask questions or submit comments during the consultation period?

During that time the public can submit their questions and comments via email to facility input. They can also register to speak at the virtual public meeting on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. They will also be able to submit questions during the public meeting.

Note: The available time for people to speak at the Juniper Ridge/Marion Schilling Public Consultation Meeting is now all booked. To be placed on the waiting list, please email facility input, and put 'Waiting List for Juniper Ridge/Marion Schilling Consultation' in the subject line. 

 7. Will Ralph Bell be renovated before re-opening in September 2022?

Yes. For SD73 to bring the Ralph Bell Elementary facility back to an operating school, and to a condition similar to Westsyde Elementary when it was re-opened in 2019, a capital expenditure of approximately $853,000 is required. Renovations, infrastructure improvements and fixtures would include: 

•Infrastructure
•WIFI and technology
•Accessibility upgrades
•Painting – Interior and Exterior
•Lighting upgrades
•Flooring upgrades
•Miscellaneous renovations
•Furniture
•Equipment
•Library books, shelving etc.
•Playground
•Play area paving

8. What measures will be taken to ensure the school is kept clean and needle-free, and the children safe?

Each school has an approved supervision plan prior to the start of school to ensure adequate supervision is provided during the school day.  Adjustments are made throughout the year to ensure the supervision plan is meeting the needs of the school.

9. Can students already attending Juniper Ridge Elementary that are affected by the catchment change apply to transfer so they can remain in the school?

Students already attending Juniper Ridge Elementary that are affected by the catchment boundary change can apply to transfer. 

Administrative Procedure 305 School Boundaries and Student Transfer Requests.
(from the AP) 

Each year students and parents will be given notice that commencing on March 1st of each year they may request transfer to another school for the coming school year. Notice shall be publicized in school newsletters and on the School District 73 website. Transfer requests must be submitted in writing to the receiving principal and approved by students’ parents to be considered. 

10. What does SD73 do with regard to developing and publicizing  future plans?   

As part of the Ministry of Education Capital Plan Instructions, the Ministry of Education requires each school district to provide a Long-Range Facilities Plan (LRFP). This report is prepared by senior staff and presented to the Board of Education annually. The April 2021 LRFP can be found here.
11. How many students will be affected?
Juniper Ridge Elementary, 129. Marion Schilling Elementary, 82
12. Will current students attending Juniper Ridge Elementary be moved to Ralph Bell or is it only applicable to new registration in the catchment areas?
The catchment change affects all students (current and newly enrolling) within the new boundary effective Sept. 2022. 
13. Were any child mental health or related specialists identified and consulted as part of this proposal process? 
The District has related specialists on staff who are a part of the consultation process that have expertise in children's mental health, well-being and response to trauma. For specifics of what the District does to support child mental health as it is impacted by the proposed catchment change, see the next qeustion. 

14. What is District doing to support child mental health as it is impacted by the proposed catchment change?

Each student will have a different response to catchment area changes.  While some students may welcome a change, others may respond in a variety of ways, including trouble sleeping, concentrating or listening. Your child may become more irritable, sad, angry, or worried as they anticipate change.

School staff are trained to respond to student's nonverbal communication to listen and will pay attention to what they say and how they act.  If a student requires additional support, parents or school staff may recommend they see a school counsellor.  This support may be requested by contacting the school principal.

To support the mental wellness of all students, the District has a plan to support mental health and to promote mental health and well-being for students, to help identify some students with, or at risk of developing mental health problems, to provide resources, and to support access to specialized support for the few students who require more intensive intervention.  

The action plan focused on schools playing an important role in supporting the development and maintenance of well-being for children and youth through:  

  1. Helping staff create emotionally and mentally healthy spaces  
  2. Reducing stigma related to mental health  
  3. Promoting early identification of students who may be struggling with mental health issues 
  4. Providing support to access community treatment  

The District focuses on social and emotional learning, mental health literacy, and trauma-informed practice.  Social and emotional learning (SEL) is a set of specific skills that help us set goals, manage our behaviour, build relationships, and process or remember information. These skills impact a person's mental well-being and are connected to educational success and employment. This area is implemented by focusing on student learning, educator learning, and parent engagement. 

15. Has the District worked in conjunction with the daycare providers to understand the impacts of displacing the three daycares at Ralph Bell?

There are currently three daycares leasing space on a year to year basis at Ralph Bell. The yearly lease agreement is set out because of the potential need to revert the building back to a school. SD73 has reached out to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) to discuss the future of the daycares currently at Ralph Bell.  The MCFD has been in contact with all three daycare providers to understand their future needs.

16. Is there any consideration to Ralph Bell becoming at 4/5/6/7 school instead of changing the catchment boundary?

Many different considerations to school configurations are made to relieve enrollment pressures.

The attached table shows the projections if only the grades 6 and 7s are moved from both Juniper and Marion Schilling.

Long term, this makes Ralph Bell the most over capacity at 162%, compared to Juniper at 136% and Marion Schilling at 128%.

This option also splits families up which can make it difficult for families in other ways. 

17. Will there be an audit of JRES to ensure that the current out of catchment students attending the school are not part of the school’s overcapacity?

There are many reasons that students may be attending out of catchment schools, including recent family moves, or they may have been placed there to address their social or emotional needs. A recent audit of out of catchment students at JRES indicates that there are not a significant number of students from out of catchment. 

18. How will Ralph Bell be staffed? Will teachers from JRES transfer? 

Staffing is determined by the collective agreement. Some teachers from JRES may be eligible to transfer, but that is an individual teacher’s decision to make. 

19. Why can’t the capital that you spend on upgrading Ralph Bell go towards expanding Juniper Ridge? 

Although Juniper Ridge Elementary could be expanded, it would be a difficult and costly expansion due to the site topography. To add space, an expansion would require excavating into the hill, which would result in the loss of outdoor field space. Based on Ministry Area Standards, an expanded school would not qualify for more space in all areas of the school such as the gym, so there would be less gym time for all students. The School District believes that the best long-term solution for Juniper Ridge is a new school in Juniper West.

Since the School District does not have sufficient capital reserves to fund an expansion or new school on its own, Ministry of Education funding is required. Regardless of whether a project is an expansion or a new school, the Ministry of Education has to support and approve a project before the School District can proceed.

It is unlikely that the Ministry of Education would support and approve an expansion of JRES when there is an empty school relatively close by.

20. Will there be a special education budget? How will the special needs of children be met at a new school? 

Yes, there will be a special education budget and it will be to provide supports similar to those at Juniper Ridge.

21. Why does it take so long to build a new school?

The School District applies to the Ministry of Education for capital funding every year. Until the Ministry of Education supports a project, the School District has no control over the project timeline. Essentially, we are in competition with all the other school districts for Ministry of Education capital dollars.

Once the Ministry has supported a project, the School District must complete a further business case analysis to confirm that the enrolment projections warrant a new school and to review procurement options. This step usually takes one year, as it is based on the Ministry's funding cycle.

Once the Ministry has approved the business case, the design and construction would typically take approximately 2-1/2 to 3 years depending on the complexity of the site and design.

22. If this proposal for a boundary change and the reopening of Ralph Bell changes (to a grade 5/6/7 eg), what happens? Is there another consultation process?

Through this consultation period we may hear of better solutions, but everyone should know where we are headed, doing nothing is not a viable option when we look at the children that will be attending JRES five or 10 years from now. We have to find solutions that relive that pressure that we know is coming. We are interested to learn of other viable suggestions through this process. 

23. What would the ventilation conditions be like in Ralph Bell?

The HVAC at Ralph Bell is currently maintained by SD73. While the equipment may be different that some other schools, it is maintained to the same standard as all of the schools in the district.

24. Can SD73 comment on timelines for a new school in Juniper West? Do we need to even be looking at 2030 at this point given you are only considering interim measures? The forecasts are just that, forecasts, with considerable uncertainty around them. 

As far back as 2000 we were projecting declining enrolment until 2014 than an increase in enrolment, which is why we maintained ownership of all the schools that we had to close during the years of enrollment decline, in case we had to reopen them in the future. There was one factor that we could not predict that was the Supreme Court decision in 2018 regarding class size and competition, a decision which added 90 classroom spaces to the district and exasperated the situation we are in now. 

25. Will there be an upgrade budget detailing the work required for the renovations to Ralph Bell, and will a portion of that budget accommodate upgrades to the fence around the school property?

The $853,000 capital upgrade cost allocated to the reopening of Ralph Bell is based on a room-by-room budget analysis that looks at every aspect of the building, its grounds and perimeter. The fence has been receiving regular maintenance. The fence will be inspected and upgraded if required whether that is through the regular maintenance program or as a capital upgrade. 

26. What would the timeline be for a new school in Juniper West? 

The new school in Juniper West is the number four priority of the SD73 Capital Plan, in a best-case scenario, the school could be built in 8 to 10 years. 
27. Why will residents in the (as yet unbuilt) new developments in Juniper East have priority to remain in the Juniper Ridge catchment over existing residents in Juniper that are already going to JRES?
When proposing new catchment boundaries discrete areas are chosen that can be delineated geographically on a map and have the number of students that can adjust the enrollment pressure at the school.   

28. Many parents wanted to present this evening but where told there was no space, yet only a few people presented this evening.

There was allocated time for 12 presenters, this evening, 120 minutes. Everyone that had asked to be on the waitlist was invited to present. Six people declined on May 5, the day of the presentation, and two people earlier in the week. 

29. Juniper West is positioned to get a new school, what is the location/address of the site?

The School District is in the process of securing a crown grant to obtain a portion of the crown land between Juniper West and Rose Hill Road. Currently, there is no street address.

30. How will staffing be determined? 

All school staffing is determined by the collective agreement and there is a process in place. All staff at affected schools are included in the consultation process with opportunities to provide comment and to ask questions directly to the Assistant Superintendents of Schools, Trish Smillie and Bill Hamblett. 

31. What per cent of the public concerns will weigh in on the final decision?

The process is one of consultation. The Board is listening to suggestions, to concerns. All questions will be responded to. This consultation process continues until June 14, then all comments and questions will be compiled and presented to the board for its consideration before its final decision on June 28, 2021 at 7 PM.

32. What safety measures will be in place to address the increased criminal activity in the area of the school? Will there be an additional budget for this?

The specifics around Ralph Bell have yet to be examined and there has been no discussion regarding criminal activity in the area. The District does take a broad approach to safety in all its schools and has started a program that will be implemented in all schools with respect to safety, video surveillance and working closely with community partners, including the RCMP and City of Kamloops Community Services. The safety at Ralph Bell will be approached the same way.  

33. Will the District approach the City to install a crossing light on Valleyview Drive to accommodate safe pick-up and drop-off?

Once a decision is made by the Board on June 28, 2021, and it is determined whether the prosed change will go ahead, then the specifics around safe pick-up, drop-off and any traffic control measures involving the City of Kamloops will be addressed.

34. Marion Schilling is on a huge lot and below average capacity for a K-7 school in SD73. Has there been consideration of increasing capacity there?   

The School District believes that the best long-term solution for Juniper Ridge is a new school in Juniper West.

Based on Ministry Area Standards, an expanded school would not qualify for more space in all areas of the school such as the gym, so there would be less gym time for all students.

Since the School District does not have sufficient capital reserves to fund an expansion or new school on its own, Ministry of Education funding is required. Regardless of whether a project is an expansion or a new school, the Ministry of Education has to support and approve a project before the School District can proceed. It is unlikely that the Ministry of Education would provide capital to support an addition to a school with Ralph Bell nearby and unoccupied.  While Ralph Bell is occupied by daycares, according to the Ministry of Education, SD73’s mandate is K-12 and our priority must be to provide space for K-7. 

35. Why can you not just prioritize enrollment at JRES to current residents? Couldn’t the new students moving into the new development that don’t already have siblings in the existing school go to Ralph Bell? 

The suggested catchment change is one way to relieve enrollment pressure at JRES. While prioritizing current residents is another way, we are not able to project with certainty how the change would reduce enrollment pressure because it is unknown how many families would move into the new developments, the ages of the children, if any, or how soon the housing would be occupied.  With the suggested catchment change we know with certainty that JRES would go from an overcapacity of 150% to 116% in September 2022.
36. Will there be rolled shutters installed over the windows at Ralph Bell? 
The District has plans to install rolled shutters at all schools, including Ralph Bell.
37. How would keeping the students from Tk'emlúps (ie Sun Rivers etc?) out of the proposed catchment change for Ralph Bell, instead leave them at Marion Schilling affect projected enrolments?
Approximately 60% of the affected Marion Schilling students are from Tk'emlúps. With the proposed suggestion, for 2022 approximately 47 students would remain at Marion Schilling for a total enrolment of 235 + 47 = 282, which would have Marion Schilling at 96% capacity utilization. With the projected enrolment increases, Marion Schilling will be over-capacity sooner and with higher over-capacity utilizations.
With the proposed suggestion, for 2022 the Ralph Bell enrolment would be at 211 - 47 = 164, with a capacity utilization of 90%.
38. How can SD73 rationalize the proposed change as a better option to the grade 6-7 option for Ralph Bell when differences in projected enrolment between the two scenarios are negligible until 2027?

Our rationale that changing the catchment boundary to address enrollment pressure is a better option than having the grade 6 and 7s at Ralph Bell is based on:  

  • The catchment change affects only a portion of the families attending Juniper Ridge Elementary. If the school was to be reconfigured to be a k-5 school all families attending  Juniper Ridge would be impacted.
  • Long term, this makes Ralph Bell the most over capacity at 162%, compared to Juniper Ridge at 136% and Marion Schilling at 128%.
  • The grade 6–7 school configuration is not being considering at this time as we have found that families tend to prefer a K-7 school to avoid having two elementary students in two different schools.  
39. Why does SD73 refer to projected overcapacity estimates for 2030 in it’s response to why the grade 6-7 option for Ralph Bell is not as favourable when a second school in Juniper would likely be completed by this time?

The new school in Juniper West is the number four priority of the SD73 Capital Plan, in a best-case scenario, the school could be built in 8 to 10 years, which is 2030 to 2032.

The School District is in the process of securing a crown grant to obtain a portion of the crown land between Juniper West and Rose Hill Road. Each year the District applies to the Ministry of Education for capital funding. Until the Ministry of Education supports a project, the School District has no control over the project timeline. As SD73 is assessed with all the other school districts for Ministry of Education capital dollars it is unlikely that the Ministry of Education would support and approve a new school in Juniper when there is an empty school relatively close by.

40. How does SD73 rationalize weighing highly uncertain differences in projected enrolment estimates between the proposed change and the grade 6-7 option for Ralph Bell over the numerous and very real problems the proposed catchment change would create for our children and our community? It was made very clear at the May 5th meeting and via submitted comments that the community strongly feels this is more than just about numbers.

The differences in projected enrolment estimates are reasonably accurate (see the response to question about methodology below). We know that to continue to add portables to JRES will impact all students negatively. There will be less washroom space, less gym time, less playground, more traffic congestion during school drop-off and pick-up times. Special rooms in the school could be converted to classrooms and the school community will lose its ability to gather at one time for assemblies, concerts or sporting activities because of the limited capacity  of the school gym.  

41. Please provide a detailed methodological breakdown of how the projected enrolment estimates for Juniper Ridge is calculated? 

All enrolment projections are calculated the same way by many school districts throughout the province. A third party, Baragar Demographics, provides base annual enrolment projections. They have been providing these projections for decades. Baragar Demographics take into account many factors such as short term/long term migration rates, birth rates, participation rates, cohort retention rates, and any population trends they are aware of. The School District reviews the projections and where necessary makes modifications based on local knowledge. Local knowledge includes items such as status of housing developments and new information received from local authorities.

Comments (as submitted)
Chantel G.

As one of many concerned parents/residents of the Juniper community, I urge you to consider the detrimental effects that this potential catchment change will have on the students at risk of being pulled from their current schools. We have been experiencing unprecedented times due to Covid-19 which has unfortunately affected the mental health and well-being of many individuals, including our children. Disconnecting a small portion of JRES students from their community will only increase mental turmoil. The biggest question I have is how does this catchment change benefit the children that are forced from their neighbourhood school and segregated from their community? 

I understand that it is not an ideal situation to have schools running overcapacity and something needs to be done to resolve the issue, however, I am deeply opposed to this particular proposal for several reasons.  

All one needs to do is look at the map of the potential Ralph Bell catchment to see that it does not make geographical sense. Juniper Ridge is a very unique neighbourhood and I cannot understand how the idea of removing a small portion of students from their neighbourhood school, pairing them with students from neighbourhoods that aren’t even remotely close to them is even a feasible option. Community is a vital part of a child’s upbringing and telling them they are no longer welcome at their school will have devastating emotional consequences and furthermore, will create a divide within our tight-knit community.   

Like many Juniper families, we carefully considered what community we wanted to raise our children in.  We did not take the decision to move from the Lower Mainland lightly but we knew our children would greatly benefit from living in such a family friendly location. Our son will be going into grade three this September and the amount of insecurity and stress this proposal has already caused him is immeasurable. He struggles from anxiety on a daily basis and is absolutely crushed by the thought of leaving the comfort of his school, best friends and teachers.  Not only has this deeply affected our son but it has completely robbed our daughter of the joy of starting kindergarten.  Our daughter has been talking about becoming a “Juniper Ridge Jaguar” like her big brother for months and has been so excited to go to the same school as her two best friends but now she frequently asks why she may have to be separated from her neighbourhood peers. Entering the school system as a kindergarten student is a very big transition in itself; attending JRES for one year and then being pulled and sent to another school is extremely disruptive and greatly upsetting. Why would any school district subject children to this, especially considering the times we are living in? 

To put salt in the wound, your proposal allows new lots in Juniper, with houses that aren’t even built yet to be given spots in the school over established homes with existing students. The fact that builders and real estate agents are already advertising a catchment change that hasn’t even been approved yet in attempts of profiting off this proposal is absolutely disgusting. Furthermore, why is the board allowing current “out of catchment” students to remain at JRES over students who live in the catchment?  Why has an audit not been done? It is incredibly frustrating that this concern will not be addressed with proof of address. 

To say that I am disappointed by the public consultation is an understatement as many of the questions and concerns brought up by parents were not properly addressed. In my opinion, it does not feel that any consideration has been given to what would actually be in the best interest of these children. I can only hope that this public consultation comes from a place of general concern for our community and students, not just for the optics.  

I, like many parents, am in favour of a 6/7 option in attempts to keep Juniper kids together.  I understand that there has been some opposition to this but I would like you to keep in mind that this is coming from parents whose children will not be affected by the current proposal.  I can guarantee there is more opposition but segregating our small portion of Juniper West and I urge you to come up with a more viable solution. At the very least, to not even consider finding a way to grandfather existing students is a complete insult to the community and the students deserve far better. 

Graham K.
At the June 14 board meeting, questions regarding out-of catchment numbers at affected schools were raised by trustees, and the numbers were not available to be provided at that meeting.  Please provide current out-of catchment enrolment numbers at both JR and MS prior to the June 28 board meeting so that the public and trustees will have this information available to make informed decisions moving forward.
Graham K. 
Please find attached my final letter of concern regarding this catchment proposal.  I am asking that the catchment changes not be approved in the current proposal and that alternate viable solutions be provided, serveral of which have been suggested through the public consultation.  I certainly hope that you can appreciate that this change should not be based entirely upon economics and statistics, but on a method that can be fair and equitable in a situation that is generally not favourable.  
Raimey O
I am sharing yet another article on what actually medical professions say about the effects of covid-19 and children’s anxiety, particularly with regards to separation anxiety at this time. The research and feedback from specialists is ample and clear. I sincerely hope your decision takes into account the damage that may be done if their health and well-being is not prioritized. “It has always been done this way” is not good enough reasoning.
Joel H.
As the consultation period comes to a close we would like to highlight some of our concerns regarding the proposed catchment change for Juniper Ridge Elementary and Marion Schilling Schools as well as note our concerns around the consultation process and current policies that are exacerbating the overcapacity issues.
Juniper Ridge has suffered a lot in the last two months, with clear divisions in our tight-knit community between “east” and “west” Juniper.  Families wishing to comment for or against the proposed change in catchment boundary no longer feel comfortable discussing their position with their neighbours or posting their comments publicly on the SD73 page with reports of email communication to the Board asking to remain anonymous.  This division was one of the worries we noted in our letter dated April 23, 2021. If a solution that affected all families across Juniper Ridge equally were approved, then further division could be avoided and neighbours would not be pitted against one another, as is currently the case.
Another concern noted in our April 23, 2021 letter was the loss of desperately needed daycare spaces in our community.  The re-opening of Ralph Bell will displace three daycare facilities that are providing 8% of the licensed care spaces available in Kamloops with no discussion on how these will be replaced or retained. It is unknown if or how facilities in Juniper Ridge will be able to provide care in 2022 and beyond for families requiring after school care from both Ralph Bell and Juniper Ridge Elementary.
In the last two months, anecdotal evidence is surfacing about the effect of the proposed Juniper Ridge/Marion Schilling catchment change on Juniper West real estate. After speaking with realtors in the area and one at length from Royal LePage, a major deciding factor for where families are looking to buy, is the quality of the school within the neighbourhood they are looking. This was certainly the case for our family.  Juniper Ridge is an excellent school with a substantial amount of community support.  Our students benefit greatly from the teachers and parents who invest their time and energy into programming and PAC initiatives. Because of its great reputation, JRES is a selling feature for homes across the neighbourhood, as demonstrated by a recent listing for new developments on Coldwater Drive (screen shot attached below) that is boasting Coldwater would be included in the new boundary for JRES.  The proposed catchment change is not going unnoticed and is now affecting real estate in Juniper West.  As noted by realtors, families who want their children to attend JRES are and will continue to turn away from homes for sale in Juniper West, which will certainly affect the saleability and prices of homes west of the proposed boundary.
Lastly, if the Board approves the proposed catchment change, Assistant Superintendent Trish Smillie confirmed through one of the consultation meetings that current out-of-catchment students attending Juniper Ridge Elementary (e.g. from Rosehill, Valleyview) and their younger siblings will be grandfathered into Juniper Ridge, while students residing in Juniper Ridge, currently attending JRES and their younger siblings will be transported out of their neighbourhood to attend school.  Moreover, current JRES students residing in Juniper Ridge and west of the proposed boundary change, who apply for a transfer in 2022 to remain students at Juniper Ridge Elementary, will not be given priority over students who live outside of Juniper Ridge.  Assistant Superintendent Smillie noted that all out-of-catchment transfer applications for JRES will be treated the same, regardless of where students reside.  This seems wholly unjust.
There are acceptable alternative solutions to the proposed boundary change that address the overcapacity issue at Juniper Ridge Elementary and Marion Schilling and address many of parents’ concerns. The first of these includes the consideration of Ralph Bell as a middle school.  This would pool resources; equipment (e.g. desks, sports equipment) and supplies (e.g. library books) could be moved from JRES and Marion Schilling and infrastructure (e.g. facilities like washrooms and refill stations) could be designed for the older cohorts rather than designing and outfitting a school to accommodate vastly different age groups.  This option would also mean all students across all affected neighbourhoods in grades 6 and 7 would be diverted to Ralph Bell. This would keep peer groups together, allow older students to prepare for high school in a more targeted manor and to meet peers from across the District who would be attending Valleyview Secondary and also avoid the noted division and real estate issues already developing in Juniper Ridge.
Another option is delaying the opening of Ralph Bell and diverting families from the new developments in Juniper Ridge to Ralph Bell once they are built (upper Coldwater has ~56 current lots under development with 100 additional lots recently approved and the new area of development west of Qu’Appelle Blvd will have ~45 lots). This would maintain existing community connections and give time to gauge the school enrolment pressure from these new areas before opening Ralph Bell. This option would also allow affected daycares time to seek alternative locations.
Should the Board oppose the current proposal, we would ask that School District 73 look to other Districts for examples on how to better engage the public (e.g. SD23 in Central Okanagan and SD61 in Victoria). In the case of SD23 they engaged the public multiple times with four surveys and three town hall zoom meetings over nine months from October 2020 to June 2021 for their long term facilities review.  In the case of SD61, there was a public survey at the beginning of the boundary review process followed by public consultation and a final revision to the boundary proposal before it was approved.  Additionally "Students that [were] currently enrolled [would] be allowed to remain in their currently assigned schools until the next school level transition”**.  If SD73 were to adopt this principle, students currently enrolled in JRES would be grandfathered in and new students starting in 2022 would attend the new catchment boundary school or could apply to attend JRES. 
This has been an overwhelming period for our family.  We ask that you strongly weigh the option of opposing the current proposal in favour of seeking community-led solutions that will also address the overcapacity issue we are facing at JRES.
Joel H. 
I am writing you again to followup on the numerous concerns Juniper parents have expressed regarding the proposed catchment changes for Juniper Ridge and Marion Schilling Elementary Schools.
One of the many concerns our community has expressed is the current crisis facing Valleyview around crime, homelessness, drug use etc..
We feel it is unjust to be diverting our youngest children from one of the safest and child-friendly neighbourhoods (Juniper Ridge), to one of the most crime-prone and problematic areas in Kamloops. We presented proof of these challenges at the May 5th meeting where we referenced many news articles covering serious crime at the many low-budget motels that line the HWY 1 corridor in Valleyview, some of which back right onto Ralph Bell.  One of the most recent articles (see following link) featured the Valleyview Community Association’s (VCA) plea to the City of Kamloops for increased community policing support, and provides key examples of serious crime and drug use problems facing businesses right behind Ralph Bell.
I am following up as I want to impress upon you that we are sensitive to the perception of our concerns being labelled as overreactive or elitist. We do sympathize with the Valleyview community and the many challenges they are currently facing, but we also do not think the Ralph Bell location is appropriate for a K-7 school.
Therefore, to support our real concern around safety I am attaching two letters:
1. One from the VCA to MLA Todd Stone
2. One from MLA Todd Stone to the Honourable David Eby - Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing
In these letters you will read about the real concerns the VCA has around crime and safety in Valleyview and make particular mention to problem motels directly adjacent to Ralph Bell that are overrun with low-income housing and not zoned for such use. They make mention of additional proposed supportive housing proposals in this immediate area. The VCA make mention that crime is at an all-time high in Valleyview. Todd Stone’s letter affirms these concerns and makes reference to similar supportive housing initiatives that have caused major issues in other neighbourhoods in Kamloops because they lack the resources to properly contend with the challenges these facilities face regarding mental health and addiction.
I would also like to state that we sent a letter to MLA Todd Stone expressing our opposition and concerns around this proposed catchment change on May 10, 2021. In his response to us, Mr. Stone indicated he would pass our concerns along to the school district, the Minister of Education, and the Premier. I have not received any confirmation of Mr. Stone relaying our concerns but presume he has done so.
 Lastly I am also attaching an informative fact sheet entitled Active Living, Children and Youth. This forms part of a series of evidence-based fact sheets authored by the Coalitions Linking Action and Science for Prevention (CLASP), an initiative of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and was authored in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Institute of Planners and the Canadian Institute for Health Information. In this fact sheet you will find referenced information, facts and calls to action on the importance of sound community design decisions and how this directly impacts the health and well being of our youth. It contains a wealth of referenced primary literature, studies and online resources that speak to the importance of active transportation (e.g. walking, biking) to school and what we can all do to make this a priority. Among other conclusions it states that:  
         "Key factors associated with increased active travel among children and youth include: short distances to destinations such as schools; presence of safe, well-lit sidewalks and bicycle paths in good repair; proximity to parks; clear signage; traffic calming; as well as neighbourhood safety, comfort and aesthetics”. (page 7)          
         It goes on to conclude the importance of coordinating "with the local school boards and agencies, community organizations, youth groups, and parent groups where appropriate and feasible to harmonize municipal and school policies to support and encourage safer more active transportation to and from school” and to educate "other planners, local government officials, school boards and community leaders about the public health implications of land use and transportation planning choicesincluding the safety and health benefits of safe and active routes to school”.
          We are asking for the opportunity to coordinate and to work together towards better solutions for our children based on the ample evidence on the importance of doing so. We want to pursue community-based and equitable choices that consider more than just numbers and that do not single out one group of children who will pay too high of a price.
We are imploring the Board to consider these realities and real concerns in addition to the many other concerns we have previously expressed when making your decision.
Joel H.
Please find attached a petition with 516 signatures opposing the proposed catchment changes for Juniper and Marion Schilling Elementary Schools and requesting equitable options that recognize our children’s well being and our community. This demonstrates the wide opposition to this proposed change within this community and beyond.
We ask, of the feedback SD73 has received through this process, what are the motivations? Some are supportive of this catchment change as they are concerned with the challenges our school capacity limitations pose, we are in agreement with these challenges. 
Where we disagree is how to address these challenges. We are focussed on solutions that will maintain the fabric of our community, are equitable and prioritize all our children’s relationships, peer groups and well being. 
Others think they should not be effected at all, and all the burden of the school capacity challenges should be placed on one group of families and children. This is not fair, equitable nor reasonable from many perspectives. The Juniper children diverted to Ralph Bell under this proposed change will not benefit in any way, which should be enough evidence on its own that other options must be considered. 
We believe we should all have an opportunity to identify solutions that do not put one group of children at an immense disadvantage. We are an intact community that has been challenged by this proposed catchment change, harsh words have been said and relationships have been strained. We would like to leave this behind us and move forward in more positive way.
Sandra - KamloopsKidz

As you are aware, we are very concerned about losing the 150 licensed spaces that we currently have at Ralph Bell when the school board reopens Ralph Bell.  We were the first leasee at this location and currently lease 8 classrooms and have for over 10 years.  While it is true that we were aware that this could eventually happen, it actually happening is a very scary and uncertain time for us as we are scrambling trying to figure out how to not displace families.  

We do have a few ideas for alternate care for Kamloops Kidz families when Ralph Bell reopens that we want to share with you: 

  • Allow Kamloops Kidz to operate a School Age Child Care on School Grounds program as a community partner in contract with the school board (“SACC”).  Currently Kamloops Kidz is licensed for 60 schoolers at the Ralph Bell campus with additional license for 20 kindergartners so 80 children in total at Ralph Bell.  Further, we are licensed for 50 school age children at our Orchards Walk campus. 

When Ralph Bell is taken back by the school board, it will displace 150 licensed spaces at Ralph Bell that we are licensed for.  Some of those licensed spaces will be able to be absorbed into our new campus at Orchards Walk.  However, in order for those spaces to be absorbed, the school age program of 50 spaces at Orchards will either greatly decrease and/or be eliminated.  

  • In order to still provide services to our school age children (130 spaces (80 Ralph Bell/50 Orchards), we propose that we operate a SACC at the following schools:  
  • Ralph Bell – this would continue to be a “hub” for after schoolers and we would bus the children from the other schools that we service that we don’t have a school age program at (ie. Lloyd George, KSA and Marion Schilling).  
  • Dallas – this would be only for our Dallas families as they will be displaced when Ralph Bell under 5’s move into the Orchards campus as we would likely no longer have room for them at Orchards.    
  • Juniper – this would be for the Juniper families.  We have serviced this school for over 10 years and want to continue providing the valuable service to families that require it.  

Where would the care be provided?  

We understand that you don’t know how much room will be available after the new catchments take effect, however, all schools have a gym and washrooms.  We believe, if necessary, a quality program can be run even with limited space.  If there is a classroom available or a portable, that would be the preferred choice.  However, if there is not a classroom or portable available, we are open to an “out of the box” solution, such as, use of the school gymnasium and/or school library on days the gym is not available.  There is a large push for children to be outside for most of their time.  The program could be largely run outside, as long as the children have access to bathrooms and shelter in inclement weather.  

As for our schoolers when we lose the Ralph Bell space this 2021-2022 term?   While we don’t know when we will lose the space, we are anticipating it will be late winter/early spring of 2022.  I am wondering if they may continue at Ralph Bell, perhaps in some different way.  Perhaps we can only have one or two classrooms as you have to renovate all others.  Perhaps we could just use the gym as you are renovating the classrooms.  

We are open to working with the school district to find any and all solutions so that our schoolers are not displaced.  While in a perfect world, we would not lose any of our 150 spaces, we are the most concerned about our schoolers.  Kamloops Kidz has long been providing school age care in our Community for well over 15 years (started while we were housed inside the South Sahali Elementary School) and currently has 7 buses just for that purpose.  We are well entrenched in the Community to provide the quality care that schoolers need and we would like to continue to provide the much needed service.  

We have had a long standing relationship with the school board (over 15 years) and are very grateful for their assistance in allowing us to provide much needed care to families in our community over that time.  We are hopeful that you are open to working with us to find a solution quickly as our families deserve and want answers as to how this will look in the end.    

Thank you for your time and consideration.  As always, I am extremely grateful to the School District for the space that they have allowed Kamloops Kidz to lease for so many years and am hopeful that they will continue to allow us to service the schools that we have serviced for so many years.     

Kristyne and Chris D

I'd please like to share my concerns with the catchment change regarding Ralph Bell. I know there is no easy solution to the issue we are currently facing. 

 

Safety is my number one issue. I have a young child about to start his elementary years and begin Kindergarten in the fall. We have talked to him regarding strangers, needles, etc. and "nice" people offering him things. He's Five. He tells me that he wouldn't accept something from a stranger, but I know that wouldn't be the outcome if he were to be placed in that type of situation. He is so trusting. And people can be very persuasive. I have no issue sending my child to another school - My fear is the environment surrounding Ralph Bell.

 

I am really struggling with the idea of leaving a piece of my heart at that location to learn, while surrounded by people with strong mental and drug related illnesses. The whole idea of him playing in a field that backs onto so many drug motels, scares me. I understand that Ralph Bell is currently a functioning daycare now, but to add 200+ young students that are Five, Six, Seven years old, etc. to play in the field; they just can't all be monitored at the exact same time. I am afraid for the safety of the attending students. Regardless of how this turns out, if I may, I would please ask that the fence backing those motels is tall, solid and unattainable, to prevent any possible interactions with the children at the school. 

 

I know there is a lot of opposition from Juniper East regarding a middle school option, but if they were in the same situation as Juniper West, I feel as if they would be more open to the idea. The older children are better equipped at dealing with a possible bad situation. My five year old would not be able to identify a person or give me a licence plate number as accurately as an eleven or twelve year old.  

 

Please really take into account the safety of our small children. 

 

Thank you for all you do. For fighting the good fight. For standing up for the health and welfare of our children. For recognizing and stressing the need for addition schools in the Kamloops area. 

And for taking the time to read my concerns. It is more appreciated than you know - Thank you.

 

Y.C. 
There are a number issues that we have with regards to opening Ralph Bell. You simple have to read the concerns that have already been submitted. Some additional questions are:

1. Has the school district looked at the number lots that have been sold recently in the New development area of Trail Side?(58) In addition to the lots that are being opened up in new rezoning permit.  Even if you move the existing juniper west kids out of JRES catchment you will have the same problem with capacity issues. We have lived here for three years and the rate at which homes are built and occupied is rapid. The priority for the Juniper west school needs to be moved up.
2. Has the school district gone to the ministry of education  for more funding.  If we are saying that Ralph bell is so small and will be over capacity right off the bat, then why not aproch the ministry to get the money to start building the school in Juniper west right away. Then sell the Ralph Bell property to pay back the ministry. This way you can build more then one school at a time. You could build a buffer capacity in the Juniper west to accommodate over capacity from Marion Schilling.
3. There are families that have both parents working and currently benefit from having found full time daycare in Juniper.  It takes a long time to find full time daycare in this city (2 years for us). Current kids that use the Juniper day care get picked up from the school. This needs to be considered as a priority when making allowance for transfers. This can have a significant financial affect on families who can not find new day cares.

As a finale note.
Why doesn't the school district not look at the city development plan to budget new schools.  If this level of development in juniper was known 10 years ago why wasn't money set aside to prepare. A school should have been in place by now.
Melanie A.
Please see attached letter
Joel H.
Our initial letter was cut off in your posted version so I am resubmitting the omitted section:

In it’s response to the grade 6-7 option for Ralph Bell SD73 states "This option also splits families up which can make it difficult for families in other ways.” We do not accept this statement as it overlooks that the current proposal will be extremely difficult for many more families of diverted children in Juniper Ridge. To compare the impacts of the current proposed change, to the possibility that some families may have one child at a grade K-5 school and another at a grade 6-7 or in high school is insulting to those who would be most affected and trivializes the major community-wide impacts the proposed change would have (see above). Most families with more than one child will face periods where one may be at elementary school, while the other at high school already, so this is not a new or unique challenge.

We respectfully ask SD73 to provide meaningful answers to the following questions:
1) How can SD73 rationalize the proposed change as a better option to the grade 6-7 option for Ralph Bell when differences in projected enrolment between the two scenarios are negligible until 2027?
2) Why does SD73 refer to projected overcapacity estimates for 2030 in it’s response to why the grade 6-7 option for Ralph Bell is not as favourable when a second school in Juniper would likely be completed by this time?
3) How does SD73 rationalize weighing highly uncertain differences in projected enrolment estimates between the proposed change and the grade 6-7 option for Ralph Bell over the numerous and very real problems the proposed catchment change would create for our children and our community? It was made very clear at the May 5th meeting and via submitted comments that the community strongly feels this is more than just about numbers.
4) Can SD73 please provide a detailed methodological breakdown of how they calculate the projected enrolment estimates for Juniper Ridge?
Heather S. 
What is the exact number of current JRES students living out of catchment? (See Q.17).  Will these children (and siblings) be grandfathered and allowed to stay at JRES? (See Q. 9)
Kristyne M.
What can we do to streamline the process of building Juniper West Elementary, so our young children can attend a school in a safe neighborhood?
Justin P.
I own a home at 2510 Skeena Dr (half a block from Juniper elementary). We are in support of Ralph Bell reopening for K-7 for Juniper West, Rose hill community & Valleyview. We believe this is great for the vast majority of kids travelling too far to elementary. There is a tiny minority requesting splitting up kids that live in front of Juniper elementary which does not make any sense for the community in east Juniper. So, as the vast majority does, we support reopening Ralph Bell for west juniper, rose hill & valleyview students.
Curtis B.
I applaud the well thought out proposed catchment change, in regards to juniper ridge elementary school. I have seen to many near misses due to excessive opposing traffic in an already extremely congested area. I firmly believe if juniper west school was built there would be hardly any opposition to these proposed changes as convenience seems to be the main underlying cause of dispute to these proposed changes (not childrens safety). Juniper west was built after all other developments and is located the furthest from the school. Additionally juniper west residents, without causing congestion in side neighborhoods, must cross the roundabout that leads down the hill to Ralph Bell Elementary. I believe that these logical changes should proceed and that children's safety far outweighs peoples school preference.
Diann K. 
I am pleased that the school board is finally working on a plan to help with the over crowding at JRES.  With the continued growth and building happening in our neighborhood, it is unsustainable to continue to add more students to JRES.   Although no one likes to see the school divided and catchment areas changed, it is needed to fix the over crowding issue.    More portables are not the solution and expanding the JRES will only take away more outdoor spaces and create more traffic and parking issues around the school. The students will benefit from having adequate resources such as library space, gym time and bathrooms.
Since a new school for Juniper West is in the future plan for the neighborhood, it makes sense to combine those students from that area with students from Rose Hill as they will make up the student population for the eventual new school.  I hope the school district can make building the new school a priority as it is desperately needed as more houses are planned in Juniper and Rose Hill.
As well, I prefer to keep the schools as a K-7 as I find there is benefits to families to keep siblings together longer as well the students benefit from having older students providing leadership and mentorship to younger grades.    My family would personally benefit from this as my oldest would be able to walk his younger siblings home from school which would ease child care costs for my family.
Robert C. 
I appreciate there has been incredible growth in Juniper and there is a need to build a school in Juniper West and soon (or expand the current school).

As has been stated by the commissioner, doing nothing is not at an option. But, from the perspective of an affected parent, the options presented (or really the lack of options) have been extremely disappointing.

Hanging on to, and utilizing a school in a neighborhood that is not growing does not make sense. It appears the only reason it's proposed to be reopened is because kids will be bussed there. This 'temporary' solution (really 10 year plus based on public hearing) would likely be in place for the balance of my three kids elementary school experience, including one who would apparently be bussed down to start Kindergarten. Many valid concerns have already been raised about the affect this will have on our kids, which I share.

So the question I have is, what steps has the school district taken to explore working with the province to sell the valuable asset in Ralph Bell, and use those proceeds to address the school needs in the areas that actually need it, being areas where new housing has and continues to be built. Juniper and the west end of Valleyview have had large growth and this is where investments should be made.

Funds from the sale should support new or expanded schools in these areas on a better timeline. This could include a new school in Juniper West or expansion of current school in Juniper, additions if required at Marion Shilling, or a school on tk'emlups if that is needed based on sun rivers and area development.


Exploring this would take work and collaboration with other levels of government. But, I think that is exactly the sort of work the school district should be doing.

In conjunction with this, I suggest you explore a true 'temporary' measure. Add a few portables to Juniper. Figure out temporary PE and music space on the fields. There is space. This can be done.
Ashley R.
I was chatting with a few parents after school the last few weeks and a few suggestions emerged! 

1) make Ralph bell a 6/7 (possibly 5) intermediate school. This would allow students to remain with their peer groups during these critical times and well as be able to navigate the busing system to juniper. 

I can’t imagine to have a student that has formed years of relationships with friends only for them to be separated in the last years of Elementary school 

2) school expansions. Has the idea of expanding Marion schilling been examined! Possibly adding on to the end of the school where the strong start room is.

3) one mother suggested possibly building and designing “classrooms” with northern trailer. They could be moved around the district where needed and help with the issue of extra bathrooms for more students as this could be designed right into each unit
Laurie T.
Although I am pleased another school will be put in to utilization to aid with the rising communal population of West Juniper. I would like to be put on record that I am concerned with current students attending Marion Schilling.  More to the point I am concerned about those students, upon the proposed opening date of Sept 2022, who will be entering their final year at Marion Schilling. My youngest has attended the school since kindergarten and I feel moving her and her fellow students at this stage would be, for lack of a better word, pointless as they would be entering grade eight in the 2023/2024school year. I am imploring you to let these students, at the very least finish out their attendance at Marion Schilling since they have been already registered. 

I appreciate your time and understanding of my concern and hope this issue is taken into consideration when reconfiguring the catchment areas in question.  
Raimey O
May 20
Several times throughout the Public Consultation T Sullivan attested on video at that consultation  that all of my questions brought up during the public consultation would be answered and also in a follow-up on CFJC-TV news he confirmed all questions would be answered. I started speaking at roughly the 50 minute mark. To date NONE of my questions have been responded to. This is a reminder to do so. 
As a reminder my first question was "Were any child mental health or related specialists identified and consulted as part of this proposal process?” Kindly note this question is very clearly a “yes” or “no” question. This question has not been answered and needs a response as promised, as do the other questions asked during my presentation. Any “rephrasing” or “reinterpretation" of my questions is not acceptable, transparency is crucial!
 
For the record I am emailing this so I have a record of it being sent, the exact same message will be mailed through the facility mail form on your site to ensure this is received.
May 27 #1
Which specialists on staff that have expertise in children's mental health, well-being and response to trauma were part of the consultation process and what are their official credentials?
May 27 #2
For the record I have added a further question through the website:
Which specialists on staff that have expertise in children's mental health, well-being and response to trauma (names) were part of the consultation process and what are their official credentials in this area?
The reason I ask this follow up question is that my original question was: Were any child mental health or related specialists identified and consulted as part of this proposal process?
SD response was: The District has related specialists on staff who are a part of the consultation process that have expertise in children's mental health, well-being and response to trauma. For specifics of what the District does to support child mental health as it is impacted by the proposed catchment change, see the next qeustion. 
Your wordsmithing does not answer my question, you say there were specialists with expertise in children’s mental health, that does not equate to child mental health specialists. Your answer could mean staff that took a course, we deserve transparency, what were the actual credentials of these so called “specialists” that were involved in the proposal process?
Jennifer C.

I am writing this letter IN SUPPORT of Ralph Bell re-opening and the proposed catchment changes.  I know this is a heated topic and understandably so; however with as much opposition there are to the proposed changes you need to be made aware of the parents who are in favor of the proposed changes. I know the idea of opening Ralph Bell as a 6/7 school is a proposal that’s gaining support among some parents. I would like to make sure you aware of parents like myself, who are in favor of catchment changes and opposition of a 6/7 school.

My family relocated to Juniper in spring of 2020. Prior to that we lived in a very crowded district and actually experienced this exact situation. In our case though the school board opted for a grade 6 school to alleviate some of the pressures at the elementary level. Grades 7-9 were middle school. The situation was almost a complete mirror of the current situation in Juniper. We lived on top a hill with one elementary school, new developments pushed the school way over capacity. A school at the bottom of the hill was opened as the 6th grade center as a temporary fix until a second elementary could be built on the hill. My daughter went to the grade 6 school so I feel like I can give some insight and feedback on our experience in this situation.

Firstly with opening a 6/7 school at Ralph Bell busing needs to be considered. Busing Juniper West students down the hill may take 1 (possibly 2) buses to accomplish. Busing the 6/7s from all of Juniper will result in many more buses being required or, as what happened in my daughters case, the grade 6 children were put on a bus with middle school and high school kids from their stops. It was an awful experience for our family and children were exposed to much more than they should have been at such a young age. I don’t believe realistically SD73 has the availability to pick up grade 6/7 students from all over Juniper to bus them to Ralph Bell without co-mingling them with any Valleyview students and as a parent I am strongly against this.

Secondly our daughters access to extracurricular activities and sports were decreased with going to a 6th grade school. I would fear the same issues for students if Ralph Bell was to open as a 6/7 school. Our daughter played basketball and volleyball at her 6th grade school. For volleyball there were over 60 girls that signed up; for basketball there were over 40. Now our daughters 6th grade school was located in an old middle school slated for tear down so while the gym size could accommodate the kids interested in playing, there wasn’t enough teachers/staff from the school willing to step up and coach the kids. The kids were divided into 3-4 groups and kids only went to 1 practice a week and 1 game every 3-4 weeks so that all kids were given at least a small opportunity to play. For kids that loved these sports it was heart breaking.

Lastly we are all aware of the daycare shortages in Kamloops and creating a 6/7 school could actually add to that situation. What is to happen with families such as mine where younger students aren’t quite old enough to walk home and stay on their own until parents get home but older siblings are able to walk them home and watch them until parents get home. Surely Ralph Bell would be dismissed at the same time as Juniper Ridge so parents that rely on older siblings for care will now be faced with finding care for younger siblings until the older sibling is bussed home from Ralph Bell. I have three younger children I would have to find care for if their older sibling were to move to a 6/7 school at Ralph Bell.

The boundary change will impact current students and their families but over the duration it will be a lot less impact on children and families as a whole. Creating a 6/7 school will uproot the current 6/7 students and impact them in the ways stated above but also 10 years down the road when a school is built in Juniper West there will be kids split apart from their peers at that time and Juniper West kids be sent to Juniper West Elementary and east kids sent to Juniper Ridge Elementary. I hear Juniper West parents stating Juniper parents whose kids won’t be impacted aren’t considering the impacts to Juniper West families. I am considering those impacts but I am also considering the current and future impact that starting out with a 6/7 school and down the road adding a second elementary will have on the students at that time. The proposed boundary change will have the least amount of impact long term.

I am urging you to move forward with the proposed catchment changes. Drawing out the situation and band aiding it with a 6/7 school is not in the best interest of Juniper families both current and future.

Jeneva C
Other school boards proposing catchment changes (see school district 61) provide information on all options that were considered and reasons why those options were not recommended. Why is sd73 not providing this information to the public? Is it because no other options were researched and considered at the time this proposal was developed and if so, why does sd73 believe that is an appropriate process for decision-making to address policy issues?

In a CFJC report on the catchment changes on May 14th, the Superintendent stated that "If we have to do something, then I want to hear what that something is we have to do if what we’re suggesting is not acceptable to others. We will look at every suggestion we receive, we will analyze it in full, and we will post that analysis on the district website". Why is it that sd73 believes it is the public's responsibility to provide them with potential options to address overcrowding. This work should have already been completed by sd73 prior to arriving at a proposal for the Board's decision.

I am requesting that Board cease making a decision on this matter until such time that sd73 has properly researched all potential options and assessed those options by considering ALL relevant factors beyond just the number of students, including environmental impacts, impacts to children's health by not being able to walk to school, mental health of students, community impacts and student safety. Sd73 should be as transparent as possible about the research they conduct and the factors they consider in making the recommendation to the Board.

The Board has a legal duty of care to our children and making a decision without adequately researching and considering all factors listed above, is a breach in the standard of care the Board owes to these children, particularly when this proposal does not actually solve the issues of overcrowding.
Simone J

Email 1)

Question to the Board: has consideration been given to the importance of walkability to a neighborhood school? Juniper West students will lose the ability to walk to school which has significant physical and mental health impacts. We are unique in this way as the catchment change will not impact students from the other neighborhoods in the same way. We are disproportionately bearing the burden of this change across many fronts, including loss of the ability to walk, which is very significant for our family and many others.

Email 2)

I would like to respond to the SD comments in FAQ #18 re: expanding JRES.

SD comment: "Although Juniper Ridge Elementary could be expanded, it would be a difficult and costly expansion due to the site topography. To add space, an expansion would require excavating into the hill, which would result in the loss of outdoor field space."

Response: Please share projected costs and a site plan for public consideration. While potentially costly to expand, the neighborhood is continually growing. Projection numbers indicate JRES will be over capacity even if Juniper West students move to RB. This indicates an expansion to the school may be required in the long run anyways. Also, the field is large, I imagine there will be plenty of field left after an expansion.

"Based on Ministry Area Standards, an expanded school would not qualify for more space in all areas of the school such as the gym, so there would be less gym time for all students."

Response: I welcome the idea of my children having gym class outdoors. Why does it need to be inside? With more students comes more funding for teachers, correct? Hire another part-time resource teacher for Covid-friendly, outdoor gym class.

"SD comment: The School District believes that the best long-term solution for Juniper Ridge is a new school in Juniper West."

Response: The Juniper community agrees, but the neighborhood is growing and given projections numbers it doesn't look like this needs to be an either/or situation. Can you please help me understand this better?

SD comment: "It is unlikely that the Ministry of Education would support and approve an expansion of JRES when there is an empty school relatively close by."
Response: Maybe with adequate information and advocacy from the SD and the community they would better understand the nuances of this situation. Student well being should be a top priority for the SD and Min of Ed. Child mental health, safety and walkability to schools need to be considered.

Email 3) 

 

I would like to virtually introduce myself. My name is Simone J. and I am the parent of two children who attend Juniper Ridge Elementary School. I am contacting you as I have concerns about the proposed catchment change. I would be very appreciative if you can take a moment to read my attached letter. 

 

For your reference I am also sharing a link to a factsheet from the Interior Health website that you may find informative. I feel strongly that the information in this document should be considered when catchment change decisions are being made that would see students being removed from their neighborhood school.

 

Active Living Children and Youth, What is the Canadian Evidence Saying:

 

 

 

Nicolas B.
I think all Juniper West kids should be going down the bottom of the hill to school. I am not really understanding the massive uproar.... This is ridiculous....
Jasmine F.

Have you considered how difficult this transition will be for children with special needs?

Letter 

Sydney T.
1. I support the reopening of Ralph bell
2. Middle school model should be considered to allow same cohorts of students to learn together. Not sure why all junior high schools were changed to high schools grades 8-12 but I think that was a mistake. More difficult to deal with that many grades and ages in one school versus dividing into junior and senior high schools. That inflexibility is showing now as schools become overcrowded.
3. Concerns about drug use and other crime near Ralph Bell should be able to be managed. When the school reopens you will likely find a drop in crime because the area will be more occupied. Also, concerned parents should remember that there are three daycares presently operating out of Ralph Bell and they are having to deal with the same problems. Perhaps they could provide feedback on how big a problem crime is and how they are dealing with it.
Bianca M. 
I am wondering how many of the kids at Juniper Ridge are from cross catchment? Will they be moved to their own catchment or will they be allowed to stay while Juniper residents will be kicked out? Also, why are cross catchment students still being accepted if the school is already at capacity? I know of one that just got accepted in the last month.
Peter
I agree with the proposal to reduce occupancy rates at Juniper Ridge Elementary. The current overcrowded conditions are not adequate for students, with a lack of space for lockers, shared bathroom facilities, library, Gym and outdoor play space this is affecting children's learning opportunities and enjoyment of school, highlighted even more during covid. There is no longer a dedicated music room or community space that made this school so desirable and a hub for the community in the past.  Education has long been underfunded in this district (and BC). Barring a political miracle and change in funding policy we are simply not going to see a new school built within the next 10 yrs, despite new residences springing up in their hundreds in Juniper West bringing with them scores of new families. The only cost effective, short term, affordable and politically realistic solution is to reopen Ralph Bell and change catchments so that those buying in west juniper know this before moving, this is unlikely to dent sales of houses. It is unfortunate to lose daycare accommodation, but the current occupants of Ralph Bell have been on notice to find alternative space for over 4yrs. Street safety is always an issue at any school and I support measures to improve the safety and security of all our schools, however, there are already young children at Ralph Bell so moving older children here should be no more 'unsafe'. I do not support the creation of a middle school as evidence shows student attainment is less. Friends may be split up, but that has already happened to my child every year for the past 3 years. Having 70+ kids in the same year almost guarantees they won't be in the same friend group let alone know all of the kids in their same year! Thanks for your efforts in making a change for our children, let's hope this gets implemented without delay.
Bianca M.
I am interested in knowing how many of the children at Juniper Ridge do not live in the catchment. I know of at least 1 but I bet there are a ton. Would moving them back to their catchment open up more spots for kids up in Juniper so we avoid moving to Ralph Bell.

I have great anxiety over this potential move. My children are very cautious and emotional children who need to feel safe at school. My daughter especially often cries at night asking about strangers and what if someone takes her or breaks into the house. I am afraid that exposing them to that kind of environment will only make things worse for her.
Jennifer D.
I watched your meeting last night with interest. After watching the meeting I wanted to share a few comments.
1. All the speakers that presented at the meeting were from Juniper West. I understand their frustrations with the boundary changes. As a parent of children who will remain at Juniper Ridge Elementary, I think it is important that you hear from voices in support of this change as well. I have great concerns with the overcrowding currently. I think it is important that the numbers of students in this school are reduced to gain additional access to the gym, the library, and other school facilities. I noted in your numbers that 128 students will be required to move schools as a result of this change. This leaves 394 students at Juniper Ridge Elementary. As you consider the boundary change please assume that most of these 394 students have families who view this change favourably, however are not commenting because they are not upset. 
2. Please clearly share with the community why a 6-7 grade change was not selected for your first choice plan. Throughout the meeting this was presented as an option. I think if you clearly stated the reasons for not choosing this option it would help many parents understand why the proposed changes are as presented. 
3. Another comment that came up frequently was that this change seems to be very sudden. I do not agree that it was sudden at all. Looking back at the 2018 Long Range Facilities plan the reopening of Ralph Bell was presented as a likely solution. Please do not allow the comments of it being a sudden change sway your decision to mitigate the enrollment pressures on Juniper Ridge Elementary. 
4. Many parents expressed concern about the loss of friendship groups when Ralph Bell reopens. Perhaps to help alleviate this concern student addresses could be made available when the teachers are making class lists later this May.  This would allow the school to ensure that students in both Juniper East and Juniper West are grouped with classmates they will remain with once the boundaries change. This way they are able to build friendships that can carry forward to the future.
5. I do agree with the comments that the teachers who want to transfer to Ralph Bell should be given priority to do so. Please work with the KTTA to ensure that this can happen even if parts of the collective agreement do not allow for it.
Please reopen Ralph Bell as I feel that the problems with an overcrowded school far outweigh the problems of opening another school.  
Jen P
Have you thought about how this is going to affect 2021 kindergarteners? Transitioning to school is a huge adjustment. Then you want to put them through another huge transition to a new school a year later? For some of us working professionals, our children attend daycares in other locations in the city. My child is losing all but 1 of her friends when school starts and then that friend will be lost again the next year because we live a road over....
Sandi S.
I am not in favour of bussing our elementary children to Valleyview.  We bought our home in Juniper because of the school and now we are in jeopardy of having our children not being able to,go to their neighbourhood school.  Why not make it a middle school 5-7 as I feel the older children can handle being bussed better than the young ones.  I was also told that Coldwater area would still go to Juniper, is that true?  If so those new home owners in the new subdivision will be able to attend Jumper Elementary, while those of us that already send our children and grandchildren to Juniper will have to be bussed. That does not make any sense.  Perhaps the new subdivision should be sent to the new school and not those of us who already have children attending the Junior school.  I know hard decisions have to be made, but I hope you let the children from K-4 go to their neighborhood school as planned when their parents purchased  real estate in Juniper.
Bryce C.
I support the board's decision to reopening Ralph Bell, should had never been closed.

While not prefect for those of Juniper West, I would add that it's already a pretty good distance from Juniper Elementary - probably already equates to driving to/from school. So a move to Ralph Bell won't be very different.

Question to the board: Juniper West is positioned to get a new school, again right decision, what is the location/address of the site?
Laura D.

To whom it may concern, 

After reviewing the information on the proposed division of the Juniper school catchment area, and trying to understand the cost/benefit analysis that presumably precluded it, we are vehemently opposed to the plan for the following reasons, in the order of what we consider to be relevant and important.  Naturally, other people may agree or disagree in varied measure to these and more, but from our discussions with other potentially affected neighbours in the area, these concerns (and frustrations) are widely and strongly held. 

  • We moved to this neighbourhood for various reasons, but principally among them was the close proximity – walking distance proximity – to a highly-regarded Elementary School.  This was not, and is not, just about convenience but also about the self-contained safety inherent in the “island community” on the Ridge. 
  • It feels unseemly to opine on child development to a body of school executives, most of whom are certain to be parents themselves, but the obvious detrimental effects of the forced division of the junior classes in particular at a key part of their social evolution is surely understood. 
  • Of course overcrowding is a progressively urgent problem, but it is hard to see how, on-balance, splitting school regions within grades (on the basis of geography) makes more sense than splitting school regions between grades.  There is certain to be a fracturing effect.  Keeping grades together maintains other community relationships; it has a network effect. 
  • Common concerns around Ralph Bell’s location – higher crime, transient accommodation, documented law-enforcement flashpoint – exist irrespective of how catchment is determined.  However, it stands to reason that older cohorts such as grades 5,6 & 7 are more aware of the need for increased vigilance in that location, which to us only adds support for a grade-based division of the catchment area. 
  • There was undoubtedly a discussion around where the new catchment boundaries would be drawn, but it is at best unclear as to why developing and as-yet undeveloped sections of Juniper West will benefit over established – recently, but nonetheless established – neighbourhoods. 
  • An injurious effect which will manifest long before Fall 2022 is the suppressed property values.  The buyer pool for properties west of Coldwater will shrink when people need to factor in the school logistics of a separated community.  No-one is entitled to a property value but such a dramatic shuffling of the status quo is punitive. 

We assume – hopefully correctly – that the School District will treat the collective concerns with the gravitas they deserve; it would be a shame if public consultation were simply a box to tick prior to declaring a foregone conclusion.  We trust that the breadth and depth of the opposition to the proposed plan will not be ignored and that there exists sufficient empathy and initiative to arrive at an alternative solution to the problem that faces both parents and the School District, as partners in the community. 

 

Email #2) Please see attached letter.

Matt J.
We moved to Juniper West so that our kids could be walking distance to a good school in a safe neighbourhood. How is that the School District thinks it is a good idea to now bus my kids all the way down to Ralph Bell?

I have also heard that the school will also be instantly over capacity as well.
Alysah P

1. Can someone please clarify where Galore Drive is located? There are only Galore Pl and Galore Cres located in Juniper. (See 4 above)

2. Has the district considered options such as middle school or Grades 5-7 attending RBES to keep cohorts/ friends together?

3. Has the district worked in conjunction with daycare providers to understand the impacts of displacing the 3 daycares out of RB? Will there be options for before and after school care?

4. Will current students attending JRES be moved to RBES or is this only applicable to new registrations in these catchment areas? (See 9 above)

 

5. How is the district going to address overcrowding issues at RBES? Will we be looking at another catchment change in 5 years? According to SD73, the school will reopen overcapacity?

6. What is the district doing to support child mental health? Many students and their families have been significantly impacted by the pandemic and will be further challenged by this change in school.

7. Has the district considered the impacts of cutting off a small section of a tight-knit community? JRES is a vital part of this community and the togetherness that many residents feel living in this community. Shifting only part of Juniper West to RBES will have a significant impact on Juniper as a whole community. Letter regarding Proposed Catchment Change

Steph

Our kids have meaningful relationships with their teachers. Will there be an option to have our Juniper teachers go directly to RB or will the decision be seniority based? I hope that if there is staff (here and at MS) agreeable to moving that they would get right of refusal before opening it up to other teachers. The less disruption the better! 

P. Guilherme

I'm happy to hear the school will be re-opened & functioning again.  Vital to the Community & to ease the overcrowding at Juniper & other schools. Developing & Publicizing a future plan for areas that are allowed to continue monumental growth with all Safety access & future Community needs(Juniper, Sun Rivers, Bachelor) in the plan are ESSENTIAL plus publicizing the real numbers & facts so people can see & be part of the logical solutions. (See 10 above)

Rhea M. 

Concerns: high traffic area for criminal activity and drug use. Extremely concerned, with especially young children, encountering drugs within the school fields/playgrounds. Concern for lack of supervision in an area situated in the heart of criminal activity.(See 8 above)

Suggestion: make Ralph Bell a MIDDLE SCHOOL for age appropriate children who can understand the concepts of don’t talk to strangers, be careful where you step because there may be needles, etc.

I strongly put forth the statement that Ralph Bell is NOT an appropriate location for young children (ages 4,5,6), more so at the amount of children expected to attend RBES upon reopening.

The current daycares who operate there have small fenced in areas for outside play and therefore have less risk for above notes concerns. This suggestion also resolves the issue of extracting children from JELS who have formed significant, important and ever lasting relationships with fellow students and teachers.

If you choose to make Ralph Bell a middle school you will not be breaking up friendships and student-teacher relationship and be saving heart breaks in a time where COVID has already taken so much away from us, especially friendships. Please make the right decision.

Allison K. 
You have provided projected enrollment numbers for the grade 6/7 option to compare with the K-7 option.  However, with classroom size limits being significantly different for intermediate grades (29 students vs 22 in primary grades as outlined in the SD73 long range facilities plan) a more accurate comparison is in how many classroom spaces are necessary.  Can you please provide this comparison for both options?  Thank you.
Raimey O.
It is well known that several of the students in Juniper Ridge no longer reside in the community. Before making decisions regarding catchment changes an audit should be done to ensure that children currently enrolled at the school live within its current catchment area. I purchased a house in Juniper West specifically so that I would legally be within the Juniper Ridge Elementary School catchment. My children have now built friendships and relationships with children at this school. According to this plan their friends, living a few houses over, would be able to remain in our neighbourhood while my children would not. This is our neighbourhood, why should this small sliver of our community be disregarded, geographically it does not even make sense. We may be closer to Ralph Bell on a map, but by road we are not the closest section of Juniper. Shuttling the kids in and out of their own neighbourhood and stripping them from finishing elementary school with their best friends is an incredibly disturbing suggestion that perfectly demonstrates the lack of government consideration for the people their decisions affect most. I would hope there is public disclosure of if any members involved in this decision residing in the protected area of Juniper that will remain in the catchment for our neighbourhood school.
Johan K.
As an affected Juniper parent I am extremely concerned with this change and will most certainly oppose it in the strongest terms on several grounds.
 Jodi S.
I have some concerns about changing the catchment. I completely agree that something has to be done - but has anyone thought about creating a middle school option out of Ralph Bell? Splitting up friends and comfort so late in the game, what if K-5 stays at the elementary school within their catchment, while 6+ go to Ralph Bell. Older kids would be more comfortable catching a bus then such little kindies. Just a suggestion? Perhaps it's not so easy as that either.
 Jesse P.
Very good plan, it needs to happen, at least kind of.
Not sure separating the west side of Juniper is a great idea. Lots of friends cross that east/west boundary. The obvious choice is to keep the west side of Juniper inside the Juniper Ridge catchment but leave everything else the same.
Also, I'm sure the School district is already planning this, but they will need to assist the daycares that currently occupy Ralph Bell find a new home in Valleyview.
 Amy P.
I understand that both Marion Schilling and Juniper Elementary need additional capacity. Why isn’t the district considering a middle school at the Ralph Bell site to deal with this issue? Opening a middle school at the Ralph Bell site would allow small children to continue going to their neighbourhood school with their neighbourhood friends while the older children make use of bus service and potentially travel further to get to Ralph Bell.
 Jody H.
There are a number of homeless people who are residing now permanently in the motels in Valleyview. These individuals are unpredictable due to the fact that they use hard drugs and suffer from severe and persistent mental illnesses. They’re quite close proximity to the Ralph bell elementary school, so I’m just wondering what measures will be taken to ensure the school is kept clean and needle-free, and separate from exposure to these individuals and their lifestyles and comments etc? (See 8 above)
As well, the school looks to be in need of some renovations. Will there be an investment in this school prior to re-opening? (See 7 above)
Maureen D.
The high crime activity in the motels adjacent to and nearby the Ralph Bell property is very concerning.  Having a transient population and a lot of drug activity nearby with children potentially unsupervised (as there is just not enough staff to supervise everyone at all times during recess/lunch) is frightening.  You never know who is going to be staying in those motels or what they could do.  The day this proposal was announced there was a large cache of guns seized from the motel on Commazzetto.  Currently as a daycare, children are outside only under direct supervision but that is just not the case at an elementary school.  What will be done to address this matter? (See 8 above)
Raimey O.

It is well known that several of the students in Juniper Ridge no longer reside in the community. Before making decisions regarding catchment changes an audit should be done to ensure that children currently enrolled at the school live within its current catchment area. I purchased a house in Juniper West specifically so that I would legally be within the Juniper Ridge Elementary School catchment. My children have now built friendships and relationships with children at this school. According to this plan their friends, living a few houses over, would be able to remain in our neighbourhood while my children would not. This is our neighbourhood, why should this small sliver of our community be disregarded, geographically it does not even make sense. We may be closer to Ralph Bell on a map, but by road we are not the closest section of Juniper. Shuttling the kids in and out of their own neighbourhood and stripping them from finishing elementary school with their best friends is an incredibly disturbing suggestion that perfectly demonstrates the lack of government consideration for the people their decisions affect most. I would hope there is public disclosure of if any members involved in this decision residing in the protected area of Juniper that will remain in the catchment for our neighbourhood school.

Part 2 Letter

Allison K.
The projected enrollment numbers provided by SD73 clearly show that Ralph Bell will be over capacity from day 1, increasingly so each year, and a higher percentage more over capacity than Juniper and Marion Schilling will be. It feels incredibly unfair to have to uproot children from a school they love, leave behind school friendships, and move them out of their neighborhood to a school they can no longer walk to, only to place them into the most overcrowded school.
Rhea M.
Concerns: high traffic area for criminal activity and drug use. Extremely concerned, with especially young children, encountering drugs within the school fields/playgrounds. Concern for lack of supervision in an area situated in the heart of criminal activity. (See 8 above)

Suggestion: make Ralph Bell a MIDDLE SCHOOL for age appropriate children who can understand the concepts of don’t talk to strangers, be careful where you step because there may be needles, etc. I strongly put forth the statement that Ralph Bell is NOT an appropriate location for young children (ages 4,5,6), more so at the amount of children expected to attend RBES upon reopening. The current daycares who operate there have small fenced in areas for outside play and therefore have less risk for above notes concerns. This suggestion also resolves the issue of extracting children from JELS who have formed significant, important and ever lasting relationships with fellow students and teachers. If you choose to make Ralph Bell a middle school you will not be breaking up friendships and student-teacher relationship and be saving heart breaks in a time where COVID has already taken so much away from us, especially friendships. Please make the right decision.
P.G.
I'm happy to hear the school will be re opened & functioning again.  Vital to the Community & to ease the overcrowding at Juniper & other schools. Developing & Publicizing a future plan for areas that are allowed to continue monumental growth with all Safety access & future Community needs(Juniper, Sun Rivers, Bachelor) in the plan are ESSENTIAL plus publicizing the real numbers & facts so people can see & be part of the logical solutions. (See the Long Range Facilities Plan) 
Steph G.
Our kids have meaningful relationships with their teachers. Will there be an option to have our Juniper teachers go directly to RB or will the decision be seniority based? I hope that if there is staff (here and at MS) agreeable to moving that they would get right of refusal before opening it up to other teachers. The less disruption the better!
Matt J.
We moved to Juniper West so that our kids could be walking distance to a good school in a safe neighbourhood. How is that the School District thinks it is a good idea to now bus my kids all the way down to Ralph Bell?

I have also heard that the school will also be instantly over capacity as well.

Better planning is needed.
Michael K.
Does this affect paul lake students at all?
Francy H.
I don't have a question per se, but I would like to request that you discuss at the public meeting the transportation plans for students from Juniper West, as keeping with the policies in the City's new Climate Action plan, and the SD's Active Transportation plan.
Amber M.
Thank you for actually doing something about the over population of Juniper Elementary. I think opening up Ralph Bell is a great idea, but I hope the Daycare’s aren’t left without anywhere to go because we need childcare as well. I know change during covid will be tough and nobody will be happy no matter what you do. But doing nothing and ignoring the problem is the worse thing you can do. As long as the school is offering bus service, then I think we can all make the adjustment and spread the kids out. Thank you!
Jennifer H.
I am parent of two children who would be affected by the proposed changes in catchment areas for Juniper Ridge Elementary and Marion Schilling.  I have a few questions that I’m hoping to get answers to in advance of the public meeting on May 5.

1. Could you confirm what the current and projected enrolments are for Grades 6 and 7 for Juniper Ridge and Marion Schilling?

2. I called today and spoke with the Education Department but thought I would incorporate my question into this email as well.  Do you have the current and/or projected enrolments for Valley View Secondary? (see page 18, LRFP)

3. Given the current proposed catchment changes, do you know how many students (all grades) would be directed away from Juniper Ridge Elementary and Marion Schilling? (See 11 above)

4. Have the daycares in Ralph Bell been notified of the proposed changes and is there any plan to assist with their relocation?  Given the current and severe shortage for early childhood education, this will be a huge loss for our community if the two daycares cannot be replaced/re-homed.
Nicolette H.
I am against the change to Juniper West residents having to relocate out of their neighbourhood to attend a school that is in a very unsafe, poor neighbourhood. I do not feel comfortable sending my kids to that neighbourhood and the taxes that I pay I should be able to send my kids to the school that is right down the street from me that I can walk to and feel safe that there are no drug trafficking, sex trafficking and child molesters staying at the hotels backing onto the school property.
Lisa F. 
Please see attachment for reasons I am in opposition of the JRES catchment change.
Monique W.
I have been following this conversation closely and with a couple more days left on the consultation period just wanted to also provide a comment.

I am hopeful that the consideration of a middle school is taken seriously. This seems to be a very reasonable middle road. I agree with the shared arguments as to why that have already been made (transportation, comfort level of age cohort, transfer of age appropriate library resources, keeps friends together, provides independence and transition between elementary and high school, etc.)

I feel it is an option that could support the community, the school district and most importantly the children.
Sara C.
We are opposed to the Juniper Elementary catchment change. It is unfair to children in Juniper West to have to travel by vehicle to and from school when many purchased homes with the impression their children could walk, ride bikes etc to school in our community.

I am in support of Ralph Bell becoming a Middle School, allowing our youngest students to attend Juniper Elementary. Furthermore, safety is a concern as well as there is considerable crime in the vicinity of Ralph Bell Elementary. Older (Middle School aged) students would be more capable of navigating this environment safely.
Jeneva C.

I am requesting that the school board refrain from making a decision on the Juniper Ridge/Marion Schilling catchment boundary change until such time that sd73 is prepared to properly review all available options based on research that should have been conducted before preparing this proposal for the Board’s approval and considering all relevant factors beyond just student numbers. These considerations should include environmental impacts, impacts to children’s physical health by no longer being able to walk to school, mental health impacts on students shortly following a worldwide pandemic, community impacts and the safety of the children, given the reality of the ongoing crime occurring in the vicinity of Ralph Bell school. I recognize that student enrollment numbers, school capacity, and finances are necessary considerations in catchment changes, but these must be weighed against other relevant factors and the reality is that there are other options available that need to be adequately considered.

I am requesting that the following options be appropriately reviewed and considered:

1. At minimum, no decision should be made until out-of-catchment numbers have been reviewed and appropriately addressed. There is no reason why out-of-catchment students should remain at Juniper Ridge Elementary while students who live in this neighbourhood are bused down the hill.
2. Grandfather in the students who currently attend Juniper Ridge and move the boundary line to Cold Water Drive. This would maintain established peer relationships and would be more equitable than removing current students, while admitting students who are new to the neighborhood, including the new developments above Cold Water Drive – with 100 new lots that the city just approved – and the new developments off Galore Crescent. If needed, Marion Schilling could be used for these new developments for the next few years as it continues to operate at much lower % of capacity than JRES.

Second Email

3. Make Ralph Bell a grade 6/7 middle school
a. Permitted class size for grades 6/7 are larger than younger students which means less classrooms would be required for the same number of students.
b. This would maintain peer relationships and keep our youngest students in our neighborhood and in walking distance to school.
c. Helps prepare Grade 6/7 students for the transfer to the high school in grade 8.
d. Grade 6 and 7 students are more equipped to deal with safety issues surrounding Ralph Bell school that are well documented in the Kamloops media.

As a parent of a child who would attend the 6/7 school in 2023, I am much more comfortable sending my 11 year old on a bus to Ralph Bell. I do not feel comfortable having to send my youngest child who would be entering kindergarten in 2022, when there are legitimate safety concerns surrounding the Ralph Bell school property. Elementary students are NOT able to be supervised to the extent that the daycares currently operating in Ralph Bell are able to provide to address the safety concerns.

4. Advocate to the Ministry of Education to sell the property that Ralph Bell school sits on since this is no longer a suitable location for a school. Use those funds for expansions at Juniper Elementary and Marion Shilling, which both sit on a considerable amount of land, or build the new school in Juniper West.

Hanging onto and utilizing a school in a part of Valleyview that is not growing does not make sense. Majority of children proposed to attend would have to be bused in. Even children in Valleyview who live walking distance to the school are not included in the catchment as the line has been drawn at a street directly beside the school. SD73 should be working with the Province to sell this valuable asset and use the proceeds for areas that actually need it. Lack of intergovernmental coordination with city/ministry is the reason for this mess.

Kim and Scott H.
I have attached a letter outlining our concerns regarding the proposed catchment change.  There is some confidential information contained within, so I would appreciate no publication of the letter if names or addresses are attached.

Allison K.

I am writing to express my opposition to the proposed Juniper Ridge and Marion Schilling catchment change and to offer an alternative solution that may not have been considered as of yet.  I have sent this idea to the members of the board for their consideration, and would love for you to read and consider it as well.


I spoke at the public consultation meeting on June 4th and provided reasons why we thought making Ralph Bell a grade 6/7 school would be a better solution, however in reading the responses provided to questions around this idea it is disheartening to see that it appears to be off the table as an option.  What is even more disheartening - actually it is frankly infuriating - is that all of the new developments recently approved up Coldwater (over 100 lots, plus the current 58 lots in development right now) will get to be in the Juniper Ridge catchment.   So I hope you will instead consider the following solution which makes things fair for residents who already live in Juniper and have children currently attending or preparing to attend Juniper Ridge Elementary.  


My proposal for you to consider is that the new portion of Coldwater (which currently includes 58 lots under development plus 100 recently approved lots to begin development soon) plus the newly slated development west of Qu’appelle (near where the new Juniper West Elementary school will eventually be, which is currently at 45 approved lots and will likely grow), be the ones who will eventually go to Ralph Bell (with the students from Rose Hill, west Valleyview, and Sun Rivers).  I understand this makes it hard to plan for numbers, so what I suggest is that initially these newly built addresses all become part of the Marion Schilling catchment, as Marion Schilling is far below Juniper Ridge for capacity.  And in 2 or 3 years once all these houses are complete and there are enough numbers to sustain the re-opening of Ralph Ball, those same addresses become part of that catchment (temporarily of course until a new Juniper school is built.)  This delay in the opening of Ralph Bell could perhaps give more time to properly address the very real safety concerns of that location, including the chain link fence that is frequently getting holes cut in it, making it far too accessible to the three directly adjacent motels, parking lots, and the Trans Canada Highway corridor.  Things have changed significantly in that area since Ralph Bell operated as an elementary school.  The daycares have small, defined fenced-in play spaces and a high supervision ratio but the school grounds are not currently safe enough given the current crime activity levels and motel clientele.  Delaying the re-opening would also allow the daycares currently operating out of Ralph Bell some very valuable extra time to search for alternative space.   In terms of how bus service would work (as one public commenter said busses for 6/7s would be too spread out around Juniper), this solution would work easily with a Coldwater stop and a west Qu’appelle stop.  


This solution would almost achieve the same effect as grandfathering in children who already attend Juniper.  It is incredibly unfair for those of us who have lived in Juniper West for 5-10 years+ to be ousted from our local school only to see brand new housing remain in the catchment.  Considering the numbers of developments being approved (203 to date), I believe that this solution would achieve a similar reduction in numbers to Juniper Ridge Elementary when looking a few years down the road and all these houses are complete, as young families are making up the majority of these new developments, plus you would still be moving students from Rose Hill, west Valleyview, and Sun Rivers, as is in the current proposal. 


My child is 6 years old and loves walking home from school with me. Eventually she will probably want to ride her bike to and from school.  It is fairly flat from our home to the school - there is an elevation difference of only about 30 metres.  However, the upper Coldwater lots are  about 100 metres up in elevation and this will likely affect how many kids living there would actually choose to walk or bike home.  Considering we want to promote walkability as much as possible, this is another reason why this proposal makes more sense.  


The grade 6/7 option still makes more sense than the current proposal, but the responses given by the district have made it pretty clear that this won’t be considered. However, I did submit a question through that page which was not answered.  This was my question:


“You have provided projected enrollment numbers for the grade 6/7 option to compare with the K-7 option.  However, with classroom size limits being significantly different for intermediate grades (29 students vs 22 in primary grades as outlined in the SD73 long range facilities plan) a more accurate comparison is in how many classroom spaces are necessary.  Can you please provide this comparison for both options?”


If the grade 6/7 option is off the table, then I appreciate your consideration of this new solution I am proposing.  I realize that finding a fair solution that is also a workable solution is difficult, but this one feels about as fair as is possible - while still making sure that capacity pressure is reduced in the foreseeable future. It makes no sense to remove 129 students from Juniper Ridge only to have 158 building lots currently in development be included in that catchment.   


Thank you for your hard work and thoughtful consideration.

Nicolas B.
Other than the catchment change, what are the options open to lessen the pressure on JRES please? We live pretty close to the school so this change won't affect us and I don't understand why people are upset about this. If they had looked into the current situation at JRES, they would have seen that it is unsustainable. I would just like to know what other options are being looked into other than the catchment change or indeed if there are other options.
thanks
Harmony N.
Hi there! I am a resident of Valleyview, I live on Russet Wynd which is 1 block away from Ralph Bell but literally on the other side of Vicars road. It frustrates me to know that I have a school only a block away but yet the kids who live on Russet wynd and area will have to go to Marion Schilling. If you are going to bus kids down from Juniper and Rose Hill anyway why wouldn't you bus them to MSES and let kids within walking distance go to Ralph Bell? Just makes zero sense!
Please reconsider and think of the families who are in walking distance of Ralph Bell. 
Vicki B
Please consider keeping juniper kids together. If re-opening Ralph bell, send grade 6/7 kids - much like a middle school.
Irina B. 
We live in Juniper West I receive emails saying that you are re-open Ralph Bell elementary school in Valleyview and wanted to transfer all the kids from juniper West
 I am against transferring my child to that school for safety concern attending school at Valleyview location are higher crime and drug use
I also highly agree to keep Juniper kids together they are already going to a trauma by pandemic impact in their mental health and just by knowing that he has to change his school my son was really affected
The kids will lose their ability to walk and bike to and from  school with friends  he needs his friends and his teachers it’s hard to start over even for adult how about a child
Please take in consideration this letter
Janna M.
Thank you for taking the time to meet with the superintendent to discuss the reopening of Ralph Bell. I really appreciate your efforts on behalf of the school. 
As I've considered the implications of how the reopening of Ralph Bell will impact my kids directly I'd like to offer a few suggestions: 
1) Has the school board considered making Ralph Bell a school for grades 6-7 to allow for cohorts of children from all the schools affected to stay together? I cannot imagine the impact both mentally & emotionally that will come for many of these children being ripped apart from their peers & the close friendships they've made. It would also provide a great segway & transition for the older children as they prepare to enter Valleyview Secondary which will be a much larger school especially when the expansion is complete. 
2) As it has already been mentioned reopening Ralph Bell is a temporary solution for the school board until they build a new school in Juniper. With this being such a temporary solution why displace so many families and children, not to mention the three daycares that currently occupy Ralph Bell School. Have they considered using modular solutions from Horizon North to create classroom pods & additions to existing schools? Many schools have the outdoor space to add on classrooms without taking away from playgrounds & field space. 
Some examples are here: 
Kim K

I would like to start this by saying, I fully support the decision to re-open Ralph Bell. However, I have some concerns that I do not think were addressed in the public consultation.

Fence line (back of Ralph Bell school, towards the frontage road)

The fence that lines the frontage road motels has 3 large holes cut. The transients that stay at these motels are using the holes to go back and forth between properties. The amount of garbage and drug paraphernalia along this fence line is disgusting. The backs of these motels are disgusting. Garbage, mattresses, junk is what you see when you look at the fence line.  If Ralph Bell is to re-open, the city and school district need to address these motels, that are not motels, but low-income housing.  They need to be moved out of the area. The amount of drug activity that occurs on the school grounds can’t continue if this will be a school as the amount of trash left behind is unacceptable. Who is going to clean this up daily and check the fence line?

The entire frontage road that backs onto Ralph Bell needs to be cleared up and maintained if Ralph Bell is to re-open as a school. Compare the area of Marion Schilling to Ralph Bell, and there is a huge difference. If the area around Ralph Bell is not cleaned up, this should not be a school as the area is not safe. This is not an inner-city school, this is a neighborhood that is being ruined by the low-income housing motels and the people who stay there.

If you look at the grounds of any other school in Kamloops, Ralph Bell is the worst and it is not the actually property, it is what surrounds the school.  This needs to be addressed by the city and the school district.

Traffic control

The crosswalks on Valleyview drive will need to be re done, highlighted and some lights added. A sidewalk should be added from the firehall down the side of the street to Knollwood, or an additional crosswalk needs to be added at the firehall/rose hill. If this school is being re-opened to become a neighborhood school, make it pedestrian friendly/safe for the families in this area.  Currently the crosswalks are not visible to many, we need a lighted crosswalk in this area.

Catchment

Many children who live on Glenwood towards Vicars should be included in the catchment as you are opening a school 1 block away from children on Glenwood. The families in Valleyview should be considered, not just the students bussed from Juniper.  If student can walk to Ralph Bell, why should they have to drive to Marion Schilling, the catchment in Valleyview needs to be re considered.

 

 

Joel H and Jennifer H
We are part of a large group of residents strongly opposed to the proposed catchment changes for Juniper Ridge and Marion Schilling Elementary Schools.
You have, and continue to receive substantial opposition to this proposed change via the May 5th virtual meeting, the SD73 webpage, and local media. We have a petition opposing this change that is gaining momentum (change.org/Juniper_Together). We have also created a website (https://junipertogether.ca/) and initiated a door-to-door pamphleting campaign to raise awareness. We represent residents and parents in Juniper West, Juniper East and the Benchlands.
This proposed change has already fractured our neighbourhood. It is pitting neighbours against each other, and jeopardizing our children’s friendships. The School Board has been made aware of the many problems this proposed change would create in addition to not effectively solving the school capacity challenge that faces many communities in BC. It disproportionally places the burden of the proposed change entirely on the backs of affected Juniper Ridge families; our children will not benefit from this. They will lose their community school, they will lose their friendships and peer connections, they will live in a fractured neighbourhood, they will not be able to benefit from the mental and physical benefits of walking and biking to school with friends, they will be shipped out of their community every day by bus starting at very young ages to a location frequently featured in the media for excessive crime and drug use. This option has the potential to displace approximately 8% of the current licenced childcare spaces in Kamloops, putting parents in Juniper, Valleyview and beyond in an even more stressful and precarious situation as they desperately seek childcare support. 
The marginal effect (at best) of spreading overcrowding to more schools by reopening Ralph Bell is overshadowed by the impacts and complete absence of benefits to affected families in Juniper Ridge. Our children would make up the majority of the students attending Ralph Bell and would be paying too high a price if the School Board approves this proposed change in catchment.   
We are asking that the School Board not approve this proposed change and support better options, ones that value currencies other than pure numbers, ones that value our children’s well being and quality of life, ones that recognize the many factors that make up a community. The majority of parents you have heard from to date, including us, made a deliberate choice to live in Juniper Ridge so our children could live and attend school in a thriving and child-friendly neighbourhood. Quality of life is not determined purely by how we live, it is also a product of where we live. 
We agree that we are in a situation where a single option will likely not address all problems, but there are options that can address many of them. We have been proposing the re-opening of Ralph Bell as a grade 6-7 school that would draw from both Juniper and Marion Schilling catchments. This would be an equitable solution, one that spreads the effect of this change across our broader community. 
It is also one that: 
  • enables all of our children to continue to attend their community school together from Kindergarten to grade 5 
  • allows friendships to thrive
  • keeps peer groups intact
  • preserves the fabric of our community
  • minimizes the mental health effects of fracturing our community when tension, anxiety and stress are already extremely high due to the pandemic
  • spreads the impact across all children on both sides of the proposed catchment boundary for two (2) years of their schooling instead of a targeted group of children for eight (8) years of their schooling
  • addresses many safety concerns by avoiding sending our youngest and most vulnerable to Ralph Bell
  • streamlines and economizes the cost of outfitting Ralph Bell, which could then more effectively support two middle school grades instead of making unavoidable compromises on temporarily equipping a third K-7 school
  • provides students from both catchments the opportunity to interact and make new friends in grades 6 and 7 before starting at Valleyview Secondary 
  • has the potential to better prepare our children academically for high school*
  • provides a school that is structurally and socially equipped to meet the needs of young adolescents during a time of rapid identity and intellectual development**
On the SD73 website the School District responded to this option with the following text:
"Many different considerations to school configurations are made to relieve enrollment pressures.
The attached table shows the projections if only the grades 6 and 7s are moved from both Juniper and Marion Schilling.
Long term, this makes Ralph Bell the most over capacity at 162%, compared to Juniper at 136% and Marion Schilling at 128%.
This option also splits families up which can make it difficult for families in other ways.”
This is a completely unacceptable response. SD73 refers to projections in the table below as a reason that a grade 6-7 re-opening of Ralph Bell is not a good option given it will result in the highest overcapacity estimates at Ralph Bell in 2030. However SD73 does not acknowledge that the projected enrolment estimates between the proposed change and the grade 6-7 option only start to differ substantially in 2027. Prior to this, the enrolment estimates are very similar (see green rectangles in table). (Link to graphic)
The projections from 2027 to 2030 do differ but are less important for two reasons: 
1) the uncertainty of these projections this far into the future is high and should therefore not supersede the significant impacts the proposed change will impose on our community as previously mentioned; and
2) SD73’s own estimate provided at the May 5th meeting indicated a new school is expected in Juniper Ridge between 2029 and 2031 (8 to 10 years, see blue rectangle in table), so the enrolment estimates referred to by SD73 when you state "Long term, this makes Ralph Bell the most over capacity at 162%, compared to Juniper Ridge Elementary at 136% and Marion Schilling at 128%” are very likely inconsequential as Juniper would have a new school by then. Using "long-term” is not an appropriate response or rationale as the re-opening of Ralph Bell is intended to be an interim measure, not a long-term one. 
Sarah
Have you considered taking the area referred to as *Ttes (ie sun rivers etc?) out of the proposed catchment for Ralph Bell and instead keep them at Marion Schilling? If the proposed change initially drops Marion Schilling enrollment to 80% and puts Ralph Bell over 100% capacity then why not send fewer Marion Schilling students there? Can you provide projected numbers for that option or explain why it hasn’t been considered? (See 36 above)
Ryan V.
Why Re open Ralph Bell school at the cost of removing the multiple daycares using the facility? The statements of the board in the media that there is no plan to accommodate the daycares somewhere else is a disgrace.
Raj D.
With the lack of after school care programs available and difficulty securing childcare because current providers are full; would we not be trading one set of problems for another.  Has the district given any thought about how this would affect working professionals ? If they are closing one of the 2 providers that provide after school care and the other one possibly might not supply care to the new school, what are parent going to do?
Heather A.

I moved to Juniper Ridge West 5 years ago knowing that the elementary school was excellent and my then 3 year old and newborn girls would receive excellent education in this outstanding neighborhood.

The reopening of Ralph Bell and proposed catchment changes have me concerned for multiple reasons:

1) how will this older school compare to the existing Juniper Ridge Elementary? What upgrades are available in the budget? Maintenance fees? I’m worried my kids are being “down-graded” with an unavailable budget to improve Ralph Bell. (See 7 above)

2) how/when will it officially be announced it will be a K-7 school? (See 5 above)

Is a middle school being considered? I would feel more comfortable with older kids taking a bus down that hill.

3) would it be possible to consider updating/expanding Juniper Ridge Elementary with the budget proposed to re-open Ralph Bell. This would allow Juniper East and Juniper west kids to remain together. I’m extremely concerned that by separating the West from the East you are creating a segregation in this community which is currently very connected. I worry about my kids handling this change and having to attend a school away from many of their friends. This devastating impact after just going through a pandemic is disheartening.

 

Email Number 2

1) there are no time booking available for this meeting and I would like to put in a formal request to be added. Maybe an additional meeting with parents would be necessary. This is a very complicated proposal.

2) have you considered how his would affect housing values in Juniper West? As I mentioned, a main reason for choosing this neighborhood was the elementary school it provided. I feel that many would consider the neighborhood surrounding Ralph Bell and the school itself undesirable as therefor decrease value and desirability of Juniper West homes.

3)  I feel that reopening of Ralph Bell is simply a “band-aid” and a short term “solution” (it really doesn’t solve anything). There will be far more increased costs needed that would be far better allocated to permanent solutions. For example, busses needed to ensure kids have a safe way to attend school, the loss of funds from the Daycare’s currently leasing space, and simply upgrading the school to meet “standards”. These funds would be far more useful to either:
A) expand Juniper Ridge Elementary or
B) Place priority on a new school in Juniper West that will:
*have less impact on the housing market, costs in terms of maintenance and upgrades needed for Ralph Bell
*allow daycares to still serve their communities. I have been notified by the daycares that serve children in need of before/after school care in Juniper may not have the ability to deliver children to 2 different schools so far apart from each other. In an already challenging time with Daycare, this is a HUGE concern.

 

Jessy S.

Many points have been raised by members of this community in regards to the catchment boundaries being proposed for September 2022. Our family moved to Kamloops in 2017 and we picked the community of Juniper for many reasons, one being the fantastic reputation of its school and teachers. Since that time, we have seen the growth in the neighborhood and understand the constraints on the current school. However, the proposal being put forward for the 2022 school year seems harsh and punitive to those families and children that have chosen Juniper as their home. Some of the concerns I have are:
1.      Moving/Closing three preschool facilities when working parents are already struggling to find child-care and after school care for their children.
2.      Will there be future plans to open a school in Juniper West? If so, then what would happen to Ralph Bell? If the population would not support this elementary school and it would be closed, then are we just spending public funds for a temporary/band aide solution?
3.      Staff and culture of Ralph Bell. What would be the plan for staffing at the school? Would teachers from Marion Schilling and Juniper be moved or would new teachers be hired? Have teachers and principals been given the opportunity to voice their opinions and offer up alternative solutions? It will take some time for the new group of staff and principal to develop the culture for this newly re-opened school and the fear would be that students suffer during that transitional period.
As you can see there are more questions than answers and rather than having one sweeping solution, alternatives should be explored and debated in order to find resolutions that take into account the best interest of our children and have the least impact on the communities that these schools serve. It is also very surprising that this is only coming forward now for community consultation as the time horizon is quite short for funding and planning.

Poonam G.
I have some great concerns regarding this catchment change. We specifically moved to Juniper so our children could attend this school and to be part of this wonderful community.
Juniper is a very close knit community and sending kids down to Ralph Bell would completely separate them. There are lots of children who have friends on Juniper East and vice versa. The children have well established friendships and relationships with teachers at the school. There will be a lot of devastated children which is also a concern as a parent regarding their mental health and well being.
From a mental health perspective, has the district considered the fact that we are in a worldwide  pandemic still and there does not seem to be an end in site. In 2020, children were being homeschooled from spring break onward. They were very happy to be back in September of 2020. If the dust settles with Covid come September 2022, we as parents have to communicate another change which is a huge one for our children. After all the restrictions and changes being expected from them and the community at large, switching schools will create more instability and stress for these kids.
Another concern is the motels and inns that are located directly behind the school. It is very clear that the population of people that frequent these places are transient people, IV drug users, sex trade workers, and the homeless. As a parent, I am definitely not comfortable sending my kids to a school where this type activity is going on. Also, the crime activity in  and around Valleyview is quite high compared our Juniper Ridge neighbourhood.
I would be happier to consider Ralph Bell being a 6/7 school. This way our neighbourhood is not divided and the children of this community can still go to school with their friends.
I just can't see any benefit from our children being taken out of their community and moved to a different neighbourhood where they will be attending a school that will still be well over capacity!
Merissa N.
I am a parent of a K student this year that moved to Juniper (in Juniper west) for the terrific school and community.  I have concerns:
1. About splitting the community and my son from friends if he were to be bused to Ralph Bell. Especially after the pandemic uncertainties.
2. The upgrades needed for Ralph Bell.  We have put a lot of time and money into JRES and it is infuriating to see it taken away from our kids. They should not be downgraded and lose what the JRES PAC has worked so hard for!
3. Why is a middle school not being considered!? The K-5 should remain in Juniper and the older elementary students, who are all ready preparing to bus down for VVS can go to Ralph Bell.
4. I have childcare here in Juniper that is in the proposed JRES catchment. If my son needs childcare and she can not pick him up in Valleyview as she has children from JRES then he will need to stay in Juniper. What are the options here? (See 9 above)

Like many other parents I think there needs to be some more options for alleviating over crowding in our schools. Please reconsider splitting up our younger primary community and look at options for the older students.
Ashlee G.
I moved to Juniper Ridge West knowing that my now 5 year old would be attending Juniper Ridge elementary school with family already working at the school we knew first hand how excellent the education is in this outstanding neighborhood.
The reopening of Ralph Bell and proposed catchment changes have me concerned for multiple reasons:
1) how will this older school compare to the existing Juniper Ridge Elementary? What upgrades are available in the budget? Maintenance fees? I’m worried my kids are being “down-graded” with an unavailable budget to improve Ralph Bell. (see 7 above)
2) how/when will it officially be announced it will be a K-7 school? Is a middle school being considered? I would feel more comfortable with older kids taking a bus down that hill. I feel like Ralph Bell being utilized as a middle school would be great for this whole community
3) would it be possible to consider updating/expanding Juniper Ridge Elementary with the budget proposed to re-open Ralph Bell. This would allow Juniper East and Juniper west kids to remain together. I’m extremely concerned that by separating the West from the East you are creating a segregation in this community which is currently very connected. I worry about my kids handling this change and having to attend a school away from many of their friends. This devastating impact after just going through a pandemic is disheartening.
Nicole H.
My daughter has attended juniper since kindergarten and has only known that school. We purchased our home so we could send her to this school and raise her in the community we bought in. If the change goes through will children already attending Juniper be grandfathered in and allowed to stay? (See 9 above)
Amanda 
I just want to say that I am all for the changes and reopening Ralph bell school. Juniper Elem. Is bursting at the seems. Moving some children down the hill will allow every child more opportunities and growth, as well as more time in the library and gym. I know there are a lot of emotional parents over this issue, but ultimately the children's education is what matters.
Jennifer D.
I was wondering what reasons were at play in considering opening Ralph Bell as an Additional Elementary and not as a grade 5-7 or grade 6-7 school? What does the research say regarding if learning is better in a k-7 environment or a smaller age cohort of learners?
AM
I am opposed to the catchment changes for Juniper Ridge Elementary.

1) Friends will be separated from each other.  Students at the school have friendships from all areas of the neighbourhood.  By removing students from Juniper West you will be splitting up friendships that students have worked hard to build.  While some may be able to easily adjust and make new friendships, others will find this extremely upsetting and challenging and cause more stress in a time that is already stressful for many.

2) You will possibly be moving special needs students and families who have worked closely with staff to create programs and make connections that are important to their learning and development.

3) By drawing the line at Galore you will be removing students from a school they have been at for a number of years (some possibly up to 5 years or more) and allowing families in the new Trailside development who have not even built their homes yet to register their children in JRES.

4) While there are great teachers at every school it is not just the teachers that make the school, it is the community.  The community has worked hard to make JRES the school that it is.  Students who are forced to leave will be losing out on the resources and opportunities their families and the community have worked hard to provide for the students at JRES.

5) There is a lot of focus on the social emotional needs of students in the current curriculum, and training that teachers are receiving and focusing on.  The teachers work hard to build connections with students. By removing students from their community and school we are ignoring these needs and the connections that are so important to their learning.

I understand that JRES is over capacity but removing students from their community to another school that will be over capacity is not the answer.  A 5-7 or 6/7 school for the 2 schools (JRES & MS) would allow students to keep their connections to their friends, teachers,  and community.
 Adrienne Y
 As a Juniper Ridge parent, I support the opening of Ralph Bell. The growth in our community has been huge. Having overcrowded schools with an empty school nearby doesn't seem like the best use of resources.  Thanks for all your hard work and consideration.
 Laura P
We moved to Juniper Ridge West 6 years ago knowing that the elementary school was excellent and that our children would receive excellent education in this outstanding neighborhood.

The reopening of Ralph Bell and proposed catchment changes have us concerned for multiple reasons:

1) how will this older school compare to the existing Juniper Ridge Elementary? What upgrades are available in the budget? Maintenance fees? I’m worried my kids are being “down-graded” with an unavailable budget to improve Ralph Bell. (see 7 above)

2) how/when will it officially be announced it will be a K-7 school? (See 5 above) Is a middle school being considered? I would feel more comfortable with older kids taking a bus down that hill.

3) would it be possible to consider updating/expanding Juniper Ridge Elementary with the budget proposed to re-open Ralph Bell. This would allow Juniper East and Juniper west kids to remain together. I’m extremely concerned that by separating the West from the East you are creating a segregation in this community which is currently very connected. I worry about my kids handling this change and having to attend a school away from many of their friends. This devastating impact after just going through a pandemic is disheartening.

4) we bought here planning on walking to and from school. That will no longer be an option for us. Our kids will be in kindergarten and grade 2 if this all goes through. Not ages I would feel comfortable on a school bus or at a school that back onto drug hotels.
The area in which the school is located is disturbing.
Thank you for listening to my concerns.
Danya L
Absolutely a must! Juniper is so packed in there, our students miss out on so much programming. My kids get actual physical education 1 day out of 2 weeks and go on BOKS walks or do videos in class the other days. They don’t learn volleyball, basketball, soccer any other games they should be. They’ve been playing dodgeball if anything, totally unacceptable and they’ll never make any high school teams because of it. This is so poor. They have no music program let alone band or choir. There is no room and no time. Whatever compilation of students to move that works, must be done. Gr. 6&7 from east catchments makes a lot of sense due to small school and rather than breaking up neighbourhoods but something has to happen to relieve the pressure. It should be done next September, but if not January at the latest, not September 2022.
Pamela F.
I am a resident of Juniper Ridge with a child due to start elementary school in September 2022. My husband and I moved to the area in 2019. Our son’s education is our main priority. Therefore when we relocated to Kamloops we did our research and chose to buy a property as close to the school in Juniper as we could.
We are however concerned that the school is currently over capacity and how this will effect the education of the children if this continues over time. As a Registered Clinical Counsellor who works primarily with children I am concerned how the children will get their individual needs met during school hours with the current teacher to student ratio. In my professional role I see how children are struggling with their mental health during this pandemic and we often suggest they share their feelings with their teachers. If the teachers availability is effected by the overcapacity of the school then this is a big issue that needs to be resolved.
I understand that it is a difficult decision to find the best solution to this problem and thus why the opening of the Ralph Bell school and changes to catchment boundaries has been proposed.
All I ask is that the final decision is solely based on what is best for the children’s education and mental health. If that can be improved by making any changes then I believe those changes should be made.
Heather S.

I am writing with respect to the proposed school catchment area change for the students of Juniper Ridge Elementary and Marion Schilling Elementary, and the reopening of Ralph Bell Elementary. (Link to Letter)

Part 2...

A member of the school board has been quoted as saying "If we do open it, all we’re doing is sharing the pain.” I'm having trouble understanding why a decision that will most certain cause pain and disruption to children's lives is being used as a band aid solution. Perhaps we should be giving kids as much stability and community as possible until a proper solution can be implemented, especially on the heels on a pandemic.
Is it possible to consider expanding or upgraping Juniper Ridge Elementary with the budget allocated to the reopening of Ralph Bell? Could priority be placed on building a school in Juniper West? Another solution would be to reopen Ralph Bell as a middle school and avoid splitting up existing friendships.
I think we can all agree that while something needs to be done with respect to the over capacity of Juniper Ridge, however, changing the catchment area of Juniper Ridge and sending a small portion of the community down the hill to a reopened Ralph Bell is not in our children's best interest.

Part 3...

When my family and I moved to Kamloops almost 2 years ago, we specifically picked Juniper Ridge for the school that we wanted our girls to attend. It was hard enough having to start over at a new school for my oldest daughter (who was entering Grade 1 at the time), then throw in a pandemic and the isolation that came along with that, needless to say it has not been the easiest transition. I can’t imagine having to start over again at a new school after finally starting to settle in at Juniper Ridge Elementary.
I am not naive in the fact that something needs to be done, however, I don't believe splitting up a community and friendships that have been made (and maintained during a pandemic) is the right answer. In the short time that we have been in Juniper RIdge, it has become quite clear that this is a neighbourhood that prides itself on community. The proposed catchment area change would be essentially segregating a small portion of the community.
I have read over the projected enrollment numbers published by SD73 for the three schools involved in this catchment change, and should this change proceed as proposed, Ralph Bell would be the school most over capacity after this change. This would mean the children involved have to leave their schools and neighbourhoods and relocate to a school that would be the most over capacity of the three schools involved. This does not seem like a fair solution. Additionally, the area where Ralph Bell is located is frequently in the news for crime, drug use, and issues with homelessness, a less than ideal location that I for one am not comfortable sending my young children to. To put it bluntly, if I wanted my children to attend school in Valleyview, I would have bought a home in Valleyview.

JF

1)What upgrades are available in the budget? would the upgrades include resources and special education materials for students with special needs, including a sensory room comparable to Juniper Ridge Elementary? (see 7 above)

2)What can you say to reassure families who have children with special needs that attend Juniper Ridge Elementary that will have to transition so unexpectedly to a new school?
these families have worked closely with staff and an Inclusive Education team to create programs and make connections that are imperative to their social, emotional, and academic growth. Have you considered how difficult this transition will be for families who have children with special needs or diverse learning needs?

3)It is apparent that the school is not in a safe and very busy location. Will there be additional supervision during drop-off/pick-up, recess and lunch hours to keep our children safe? I know many families who are concerned about sending their kindergarten students down the hill on a bus, knowing that more supervision would be in place may ease some anxiety. What can you say to families with children who have special needs or delays who are not mature enough to take the bus? many families will now have to travel further to drop their children off at school.(see 8 above)

4)Would it be possible to consider expanding Juniper Ridge Elementary? I'm extremely concerned that separating Juniper West from the East you are creating a separation in the community which is very concerning! I worry about how this will affect our children socially, emotionally, and academically.

5)Will current students attending Juniper Ridge Elementary be moved to Ralph Bell or is it only applicable to new registration in the catchment areas? Most families chose JRES because of the school. (see 12 above)

Jody H.

I have multiple concerns with my catchment changing to Ralph Bell.
1. This elementary school is located right next door to motels being used to house people who suffer from severe and persistent mental illnesses and people who are homeless and use injectable drugs. Needles have been found in the grounds area at Ralph bell during the time it’s been a daycare. Hepatitis C can live on surfaces for upwards of 7 days. Meaning, the live virus survives on needles and can be transmitted to any child who unknowingly and innocently picks up the needle. I’ve never in my life come across a district or municipality who would be comfortable with an elementary school in this type of location. At this point, we would be better off with any of the schools on the north shore because at least the grounds wouldn’t be riddled with infectious viruses. Not to mention the fact that the exposure to the needles is just one potential consequence of this location, there could be many more. I foresee this location exposing the children to aspects of an incredibly mentally ill lifestyle, to comments, to even potential abductions. It would be highly unusual for any city to house criminals in a halfway house adjacent to an elementary school. Are we as a community invested in protecting the lives of our little ones? Or, is Kamloops saying to parents: you’re on your own to protect your child.

2. The state of the building. Apparently the building is riddled with asbestos. We moved to juniper to live in new construction and protect our children from the harmful aspects of older building materials. What has been done to ensure the building is safe? (see 
3. A school has been in the community plan. WhTs the delay? Certainly the need is imminent. If a house can be built in 6 months, a school can be built in a year.

Overall, I’m very disappointed that this would even be contemplated as an option.

Corinn B

Although our youngest child will be gone from Juniper next year, I acknowledge that a change is desperately needed.  JRES is busting at the seams.   I think the JRES/MS elementary split is a very good plan and no matter what the change, some people will be upset. 

I was discussing the change with my kids.  My kids thought that a JRES (K-3) and MS (4-7) split would make a lot of sense.  It would keep the cohorts together and the concerns over small kids/motels by MS would be addressed by having the older kids there.  Both schools would be fit for elementary school kids (unlike the make MS a middle school which would require massive structural changes).  My daughters also thought that it would benefit the sports teams. 

Wondering if this split was considered between the two elementary schools?

Carol A

I strongly oppose the current plan to send kids from Juniper West down to Ralph Bell. Has anyone considered the option of making the newly opened Ralph Bell a French Immersion school? With the growing population of Kamloops, there needs to be more French Immersion options offered. When we moved to Kamloops 2 years ago, we considered sending our kids to South Sahali to attend the French Immersion program, but ultimately decided against it because of the distance from our home in Juniper Ridge (>15km) and lack of door to door school bus service. If there had been an option of a French Immersion school in Valleyview with school bus service from Juniper, we would have absolutely chosen this option for our kids. I think a lot of other families would also have opted in to a French Immersion school that is more accessible to kids in Juniper Ridge.  By making Ralph Bell French Immersion, parents would volunteer to send their kids there, which would alleviate some of the overcapacity of Juniper Ridge Elementary. I am shocked that in a city of this size, there isn’t even an option of late French Immersion anywhere in the city. Maybe Ralph Bell could be the first school to offer this.

Mark F.

I would like to start by agreeing with your decision to change the Juniper Ridge elementary catchment area. My wife and I moved as close to the school as possible so our 3 year old could go there when he is ready, the school is the primary reason we moved to Juniper Ridge. The suggestion of Ralph Bell be a middle school primarily voiced by residents of Juniper West are only thinking of themselves and not the school as a whole, moving schools is traumatic so having children do it one extra time is unnecessary. I feel any decision you make should only affect new enrolment and not have children that are already there having to move schools.
As all your signs state around the school it is a ‘no idle zone’ so surely the people who have the ability to walk there should be given priority over anyone that drives from the farthest distance away in Juniper. They have to drive anyway so why not drive down the hill, it’s probably on their way to work anyway.

CS

I disagree with the idea of Ralph Bell opening up as a K-7 school and bussing Juniper West kids, who are leaving their friends and close community feel. My biggest concern is bussing my Kindergarten child down to an area that already has so many concerns. We will also have to pay for before and after school care if we are sending our child down the hill. This is more money coming out of our pocket that we wouldn't have to do going to JRES. If my child was older (Grade 6 or 7), I wouldn't mind sending her down, as she will be transitioning to the high school down there in the near future. This is why I think Ralph Bell would be better off as a Grade 6/7 (or even 5-7), intermediate school. She is old enough to understand safety and making proper choices.

I am leaving this message as short and sweet-- I do not want to see Ralph Bell as a K-7 school. Please consider a Grade 5-7 school, or reconsider not taking the Juniper West children away from their own community.

Karen H.

I understand that the current proposal calls for catchment changes to have K-7 schools at both Juniper and Ralph locations. My question is, many people are requesting a 6-7 or 5-7 school at Ralph Bell and younger students all remaining at Juniper. Would this be a consideration and if so, would individuals being given time to voice opposition or support before a decision was made?

Brian G

One of the frequently asked questions is about school being kept clean from needles and transient people. The reply is “each school has an approved supervision plan prior to the start of the day…”, what is this, school staff members and/or increase police presence? How can this team really look thru the entire site to ensure its clean/safe? Is there going to be a check before school breaks? Are we going to rely on a teacher asking people to leave the area?
Project enrolment chart shows the school will be over capacity on day 1. With SD73/governments lack of foresight to be able to plan and execute new schools, what is the 5-10 year plan to correct the overcrowding of these schools? For Day 1, will there be portables, or will classrooms be over filled? What is the planned number of students per classroom?
Valleyview road traffic has increased a lot since Ralph Bell (RB) was last open and will continue to increase each year. With just the daycare you can already see there is a problem with the current design. What is the plan for safe pickup/dropoff not just for the kids but for traffic?
Alot of money has been donated by the community of JR for the current school. This money was used to purchase item for this school with the donors knowing that their child will be using these items. Those children are now being sent to a different school, how should this be addressed. If a teach has those items in their classroom and choose to relocate to RB, will those items be allowed to go with them?
Are teachers in JR being given the option to change schools without any penalties if they are to switch? Are the JR teachers given the first opportunity to go to RB? (see 13 above)
The forecasted money for renovation to RB, what are the planned renovations? (see 7 above)
The meeting on May 5th, what is the SD73 talking points going to be? Would like to understand these items before the meeting, as this may bring up more questions or comments.

Laura P.

After reviewing the information on the proposed division of the Juniper school catchment area, and trying to understand the cost/benefit analysis that presumably precluded it, we are vehemently opposed to the plan for many reasons that we cannot put into 2000 Characters. Naturally, other people may agree or disagree in varied measure to these and more, but from our discussions with other potentially affected neighbours in the area, these concerns (and frustrations) are widely and strongly held. We assume – hopefully correctly – that the School District will treat the collective concerns with the gravitas they deserve; it would be a shame if public consultation were simply a box to tick prior to declaring a foregone conclusion.  We trust that the breadth and depth of the opposition to the proposed plan will not be ignored and that there exists sufficient empathy and initiative to arrive at an alternative solution to the problem that faces both parents and the School District, as partners in the community.

CS

We moved to Juniper for the tight-knit community that it offers and the thought of our children being removed from JRES is very upsetting. Our oldest child struggles daily with anxiety and I know that detaching him from his current school and friends would be extremely detrimental. Our youngest is starting kindergarten at JRES this September and I can only hope that she isn’t forced to move schools after building a sense of community and creating strong bonds with her peers & teachers. Considering the negative impact that Covid 19 has already had on mental health & well-being, I urge you not to pull existing students from their community schools. The students deserve a sense of security and after this past year it would be greatly unfair to uproot them.        

Kristyne d.

Please see attached letter outlining my concerns regarding the Juniper Ridge/Marion Schilling Catchment Boundary Change. (PDF of Letter)

Toni T.

As residents of the Juniper West community and family that currently attends Juniper Ridge Elementary School, I am writing today to voice our concerns of the proposed catchment changes.
We, like most families in this community, chose to be in a neighborhood to provide our children with the opportunity to build lifelong, community-based friendships and to attend their neighborhood school through their elementary years.
While I do agree that our schools are overwhelmed and bursting at the seams, I do not agree with the changes as they are currently proposed. What we need is a solution to ensure the longevity of the growth of the region and to support our children and their learning environments equally and fairly.
•       What kind of sense of community are we instilling in our children by separating them by geographical region?
•       Will the supplies and equipment for the school and classrooms provided be the recycled, overused remnants from the school district community or new? (see 7 above)
•       Are other alternatives being considered: Ralph Bell being reopened as a middle school in alignment with the North Shore communities?
•       How is this short-term solution going to positively impact long term change in our growing communities? Upon reviewing the Long-Range Facility Plan, new schools are years away from being built.
•       What learning assistance support will be provided? My son has attended the reading support group for the last 2 years. Already facing learning challenges, he will now be moved to a new location, with new teachers and their different teaching styles and will now add a new worry of building trust & new relationships if this support is even available.

I implore all those within the School Board/District No 73 with voting rights to please listen to the voices and suggestions from the communities that this change is directly impacting.

I asked both our sons who attend JRES what they think of these proposed changes, here are their responses:
Question:  What do you think of the s

Tiffany C.

- Galore Drive is not an existing street in Kamloops. (correction, see 4 above)

- This is not an adequate response: "What measures will be taken to ensure the school is kept clean and needle-free, and the children safe?
Each school has an approved supervision plan prior to the start of school to ensure adequate supervision is provided during the school day.  Adjustments are made throughout the year to ensure the supervision plan is meeting the needs of the school."

You are going to have to do a lot better than "approved supervision plan" when you are talking about kindergarteners  being a stones throw away from known meth labs, needles and loaded guns (just to name a few).

- Why is the school district being so dismissive about turning Ralph Bell into a middle school?

- According to you own numbers, this is not a solution, it is a TEMPORARY fix that doesn't address the fact that the infrastructure is not sufficient for the current population in the neighbourhood.

- Why is the City of Kamloops still issuing building permits and allowing future development when the current infrastructure is INSUFFICIENT?

- Have you considered the mental health of the children being affected by this?

- What is being done about the children who do not reside in this community, but attend Juniper Ridge Elementary School?

To say that I am disappointed with the school districts plan would be an understatement. I have lived in my home for 11 years, paying property taxes for 11 years and members of an amazing community for 11 years and we are being told that our child is no longer able to be a member of this community's neighbourhood school.

I understand that this public consultation period is a requirement, but I NEED you to truly hear us and listen to our concerns. Please do not dismiss our pleas, we don't want our young children bused out of our neighbourhood to go to school.

Laurie T.

Although I am pleased another school will be put in to utilization to aid with the rising communal population of West Juniper. I would like to be put on record that I am concerned with current students attending Marion Schilling.  More to the point I am concerned about those students, upon the proposed opening date of Sept 2022, who will be entering their final year at Marion Schilling. My youngest has attended the school since kindergarten and I feel moving her and her fellow students at this stage would be, for lack of a better word, pointless as they would be entering grade eight in the 2023/2024 school year. I am imploring you to let these students, at the very least finish out their attendance at Marion Schilling since they have been already registered.

I appreciate your time and understanding of my concern and hope this issue is taken into consideration when reconfiguring the catchment areas in question.

Raj and Preet D.

As a tax payer and resident of Juniper Ridge, I am writing to express my deep concerns and opposition to the proposed changes in catchment area for Juniper Ridge Elementary School.

This letter outlines my firm opposition and concerns, which are shared by many in the Juniper Ridge community.

Amy B. 

Good evening Minister Whiteside,

I hope this email finds you safe and healthy amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

I am writing to express my disappointment to learn about the proposed catchment boundary changes for Juniper Ridge Elementary and Marion Schilling Elementary Schools in Kamloops, British Columbia. The attached letter outlines my firm opposition to these proposed changes that impact the close-knit Juniper Ridge community.

Thank you for your time and attention to this important matter. (Letter attached)

 Graham K.

1) I do not support the catchment changes as proposed.  Please view my attached letter outlining my concerns with the proposed  changes, as well as my recommendations for a viable alternate temporary solution to alleviate the rising enrollment pressures. (Letter attached)

2) Dear Mrs. Kershaw,

As you may be aware, School District 73 is proposing several catchment changes to alleviate the enrollment pressures that Kamloops is facing due to rapidly escalating population growth.  One of the proposed changes affects the community I live in, and my family directly.  The Juniper Ridge Elementary proposed catchment change is, I feel, a poorly thought out change that will have a negative effect on the children of our community by creating a division within our unique community that itself is geographically isolated.  The change as proposed will remove any possibility of approximately half of the children in our neighborhood from ever walking to school for the entirety of their school years from K-12, while half of our community will enjoy the benefits of raising their children to embrace such an opportunity for a healthy lifestyle.  A much better option would be to propose a split of the enrollment at our community elementary from K-5 and divert grades 6-7 to Ralph Bell Elementary.  

 

Please find attached my letter sent to the school board outlining the issues and reasoning for a better solution to our enrollment situation.  I ask for you to advocate for our community by encouraging the board to consider a better, and equally viable option.  Thank you very much for your time and attention to this matter.

 Joel & Jennifer H.
Please see the attached letter regarding our opposition to the proposed catchment changes for Juniper Ridge Elementary School and Marion Schilling. (Letter attached)
Petition: Kids First! Say No To Proposed catchment Changes for ... Schools. (signed by 141 as of May 12, 2021)

The Kamloops-Thomson School District (SD73) is proposing to change the catchment boundaries for Juniper Ridge Elementary School (JRES) and Marion Schilling Elementary School. As part of this proposed change school age children in Juniper West would be removed from JRES and diverted to Ralph Bell Elementary in Valleyview. Children from Kindergarten to Grade 7 and as young as 4 years old would be transported out of their neighbourhood and away from their beloved community school, peers and teachers. We, the undersigned are firmly opposed to this proposed change for many reasons:

1. The proposed changes would impose a huge divide in our close-knit neighbourhood and remove access to a local community school for many children. One of the main reasons parents chose to live and raise our families in this community was to have our children attend JRES. The benefits of attending a community school are well studied and documented.

2. The proposed change would have major impacts on our children’s well-being, social development, health, and community connection, which have already suffered through the covid-19 global pandemic.

3. The marginal effect of spreading overcrowding to more schools by reopening Ralph Bell is overshadowed by the impacts and complete absence of benefits to affected families in Juniper Ridge. Our children would make up the majority of those impacted and would be paying too high a price if SD73 approves the proposed change in catchment. Affected Juniper Ridge children would lose their community school, be forced to commute, and would attend the most overcrowded school (Ralph Bell) according to SD73 projections.

4. The proposed changes would have immense negative impacts on access to daycare and before and after school care. The changes would displace approximately 8% of all licensed childcare spaces in Kamloops comprising three licensed facilities that currently occupy the Ralph Bell location and serve the broader community. This would worsen an existing crisis for many families desperate for limited childcare spaces.

5. There are real safety concerns about our younger children attending school in the proposed location of Ralph Bell. This is an area with significantly higher crime levels, right beside low-budget motels frequently featured in media for criminal activity and open drug use.

6. There are more effective and more respectful options to address the overcrowding challenges that recognize the importance of community design, our children’s well-being, the value of attending community schools and the precious interdependencies and relationships within our neighbourhoods.

This proposed change in catchment is a band-aid solution that will not solve the capacity challenges facing our schools. Meghan Wade, the Board of Education’s Vice-Chair, was quoted saying “…if we do open [Ralph Bell], all we’re doing is sharing the pain” (Kamloops This Week, April 19, 2021). We demand that SD73 find a solution that minimizes impacts and avoids creating additional problems. Let’s pursue solutions that give our children as much stability and community as possible!

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