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'A lot of collateral damage': School swap proposal splitting opinions


Students at two St. Vital schools could be impacted by a major shakeup next school year.

Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) is proposing changes at two schools: turning Minnetonka School into a Kindergarten to Grade 4 school, and Darwin School into a Grade 5 to 8 school.

Nine years ago, Melissa Martin's family moved to be close to Darwin School.

"It’s our community; it’s our neighbourhood school,” Martin said.

She said parents like her have concerns if the proposal sticks.

"Child care stability, access to transportation, overall safety of their children and the overall mental health wellbeing,” Martin said.

She said this swap would mean two different school transportation plans for her four children - impacting family finances and her ability to work as a full-time nurse in the fall.

"It would mean either putting that on hold for me for a couple of years until they are all back in one spot," she said. "Or us needing to also, for the first time, look into child care."

Darcy Cormack, an assistant superintendent with the school division, said the proposal comes from positive feedback from students at Darwin School.

''We've heard from students that we enjoy the larger group size and the ability to make new friendships in learning groups,” Cormack said.

She said the move would give students better extracurricular opportunities and help with an anticipated decline in enrollment in both schools.

"There would be three of four classrooms at each grade for increase collaboration across those groups."

LRSD's proposal isn't final, and Cormack said the division is looking to hear from community members. That is giving Martin hope there's time to change minds.

"There's going to be a lot of collateral damage throughout families,” Martin said.

Martin will be representing Darwin parents Tuesday night at a divisional board meeting, presenting their concerns to LRSD. Top Stories

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