2 Edmonton high schools close doors to Grade 10 students outside boundaries due to capacity

Expansion work at Lillian Osborne High School Thursday, March 3, 2016. Global News

EDMONTON – Two high schools in southwest Edmonton have closed their doors to Grade 10 students living outside the school boundaries due to enrolment pressures.

In similar letters posted to the Harry Ainlay High School and Lillian Osborne School websites, the schools said this year’s pre-enrolment process resulted in “unprecedented interest” in the schools.

As of April 13, two days before the pre-enrolment deadline, both high schools had received more requests for Grade 10 enrolment than they had space for the students.

Grade 10 students will only be allowed to attend the high schools if they live in the designated attendance area or have siblings who already attend and are returning the school in the fall.

When it comes to Harry Ainlay, Grade 10 students will also be allowed to attend if they have selected the school to continue French Immersion or Interactions programming.

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Parents are given one month in the spring to pre-enrol their kids in the school of their choice. Students who don’t meet the enrolment criteria at Harry Ainlay and Lillian Osborne have been asked to select a new preferred high school. They will be allowed to attend the new school of their choice if there’s room for them.

Lillian Osborne High School is currently undergoing an expansion to make room for an additional 600 students.

The enrolment decisions come as Edmonton Public Schools is reviewing what it can do to mitigate capacity pressures in the future.

Edmonton Public held several information sessions earlier this year to hear from parents of primary-aged students about what they hope for their children’s future. The meetings discussed possible short and long-term solutions, as well as outlined the demographic in certain Edmonton neighbourhoods.

“We know that we have some really robust enrolments in certain parts of our town right now at the K-2 level and the younger grades. We know that within a number of years those kids will be graduating up into our high school grades and we want to be sure that we’re ready,” Chris Wright, managing director of infrastructure with Edmonton Public Schools, said in March.

READ MORE: Overcrowded elementary schools prompt worries about Edmonton high school enrolment

Public school officials said they have set aside land for new high schools in locations across the city, but none of the potential sites has been put to capital plans. Building new high schools also takes a lot longer than elementary schools because they’re more expensive and complicated to get done.


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