The 2010 school board Matrix report identifies enrollment growth as a pressing issue for the school district. Projections of over 300 students per year for the next 10 years require the equivalent of a new school every year. 33 per cent of the 4,775 spaces planned will be in Sooke, accommodated by the expansion of EMCS, replacement of Sooke and John Muir elementary, and the construction of a new school in the Sunriver development.
I am running for both school trustee and municipal councillor because I think the municipality should take a partnership role to provide assistance to the schools. If we can subsidize a hotel I see no reason we can’t assist the schools, particularly as residential growth is what is driving enrollment. A number of tools are available to the District, such as waiving of sewer charges, which are roughly $5,000 annually per school, and developer amenity contributions.
Schools draw in-migration to the community, and expansion of the residential tax base is the only way out of the current financial mess we are in, so the partnership is a natural.
Parent satisfaction is another issue. The school parent satisfaction survey shows that only 33 per cent of parents responding are satisfied that school is preparing their child for a job in the future, 50 per cent are satisfied that school is preparing their child for post-secondary education, and 42 per cent are satisfied with school-home communication. These measures are trending worse from previous years, a trend that should be investigated and reversed.