It looks like temporary relief is in the future for students, staff, and parent’s at Regina’s Ecole Monseigneur de Laval.
A tentative agreement would see elementary school classes split between Ecole Laval and the nearby Saint Andrew school, which has been shuttered for nearly a year.
The overcrowding problem at Laval has increased in recent years, forcing the school to send Grade 7 classes to its high school, convert the staff lounge to a Kindergarten class, and re-purpose other areas.
“The school used to have a beautiful library. It needed to take that over and split it into makeshift classrooms for grade six spillover. There’s two classes of grade six in the library,” Gabriel Poliquin, a lawyer representing an Ecole Laval parent group, explained.
Laval is the city’s only Francophone school, serving families from as far as White City and Emerald Park.
The goal is to rent the Saint Andrew School from the Catholic School Board. The building was shut down after last school year due to mounting repair bills.
Though the deal isn’t official yet, the province says it should be finalized and preparations complete before the coming school year.
“There’s conversations in terms of what renovations need to be made to the school to make sure it’s available for those children this fall,” Education Minister Gordon Wyant said. “I’m fairly comfortable, confident in saying the agreement will be firmed up in the next couple of days.”
At this point, it’s unkown how many students would be shuffled to the second school, how transportation would be managed, and whether additional staff would be needed. Poliquin said the parent group he represents, Concerned Parents Collective (CPIP), is still hoping to see a brand new school build in Regina’s north end. The group filed a lawsuit in fall of 2017 against the Saskatchewan government requesting a new school.
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“The current school, Monseigneur de Laval, is not located where most francophone kids are,” Poliquin explained. “Many happen to be in the Northwest of Regina. Ideally, a permanent school would be to build a new school in that part of the city.”
“The school is being rented from the English Catholic School Board, and Saint Andrew School, is not in the northwest. It’s more towards the southeast of the city. The problem of transport is certainly not solved by renting that school.”
Minister Wyant said they will continue to discussions around a new school, calling it ‘a conversation for another day’.
While some have found relief in finding a fix for next year, Poliquin said questions still remain.
“I think there remains a lot of apprehension from the part of the parents that this temporary solution… How temporary is it going to be?” he said.