‘We can’t keep up’: Bedford parents calling for action to remedy overcrowded school
Parents of students at an overcrowded school in Bedford are demanding action be taken to address what they’re calling an “overcapacity crisis.”
“We simply do not know what’s going to happen now that the school boards are dissolving. We don’t know who the School Advisory Council [SAC] is going to be answering to, we only have three months left until the end of the school year,” Allison Garber said, a mother and member of the SAC.
Garber says the student population at Basinview Drive Community School has been rapidly increasing for years.
2016 census data show that Bedford West and surrounding communities have nearly doubled in population size in just the past five years.
Despite this knowledge, Garber says no effective solutions have been provided to the problem and it’s caused a slew of challenges in the classrooms.
“There’s not an ability, for example, to have school-wide assemblies in the gym due to too many children, so it’s against fire code. Classrooms are overcapacity, we have two portables in the back of the school, learning centre is overcapacity,” she said.
Last November, a town hall was held where community members pressured the Halifax Regional School board to come up with short-term solutions.
“The options that were on the table were a combination of boundary reviews, grade reconfiguration, moving students to another school, lots of options,” Jin Yee said, an outgoing board member.
But the province is planning to dissolve all English school boards in Nova Scotia by the end of March, leaving parents like Garber in a place of uncertainty.
“Here we are in a situation where we just can’t keep up. We cannot accommodate the number of students who are going to be coming in next year,” she said.
Garber says ultimately, there needs to be a new school built in Bedford, or the population increase “crisis” will continue to spiral out of control.
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