Dealing with overcrowding: Edinburgh elementary parents search for solutions

WATCH: The overcrowding situation at Edinburgh school in Montreal-West has come to a head. Parents met Thursday to look at solutions. Elysia Bryan-Baynes has the story.

Hundreds of parents packed into the gym at Edinburgh Elementary School in Montreal-West Thursday to try and find a solution to the chronic overcrowding problem at the school.

“It has to be dealt with,” said English Montreal School Board Commissioner Joseph Lalla. “It can’t wait any longer.”

Edinburgh has capacity for 330 students, but the school currently has 400.

With the school’s population over capacity, the science teacher has to wheel a cart around to the various classrooms. Music classes, meanwhile, are taught on the gymnasium stage, while physical education classes are taught below.

“You can imagine that it is quite a challenge for our students,” said governing board chair Michael Rodger.

READ MORE: EMSB cancels plans to open French immersion school in NDG to address overcrowding

To alleviate the problem, the school community tried to get Mountainview school — which is less than a 10-minute walk from Edinburgh — as an annex, but was turned down by the school board. Instead, the board put forward the idea of the school taking over a former elementary school building on Coronation Avenue in NDG, or accept the status quo.

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WATCH: Montreal school boards sharing resources

Montreal school boards sharing resources
Montreal school boards sharing resources

On the question of having a junior annex, though, many Edinburgh parents have concerns.

“It just wouldn’t be the same school,” said Sabrina Iammatteo outside Thursday’s meeting.

Iammatteo would be one of several parents whose children would be separated if the school were split into two campuses.

Another solution that was suggested at the meeting — and one that wouldn’t split up the student body — involved modular classrooms. Plans to build four modular classrooms, which would be constructed on land next to the school, were presented to parents.

“We have a strong sense of school community,” Rodger said, “and with the modular classes we could keep our school together.”

READ MORE: Montreal West parents worry about room at Edinburgh Elementary for local kids

Now that all the options have been presented to parents, they will be asked to fill out a detailed survey.

The governing board will then present the results to the board so that the school can start to take the next steps to resolve the overcrowding issue.

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