French Immersion changes create transportation issues in Sask Rivers

(Herald file photo)

The Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division approved one of two separate requests allowing two families to keep sending their children to Ecole Debden School, despite living in the Canwood School busing area.

The Sask. Rivers board has been dealing with transportation issues in the Debden-Canwood area since last year, including several busing appeals in the last two months.

Two families made their appeals before the board Monday after changes changes were made in the French Immersion transportation service area last year to align with provincial regulations.

“This has been a conversation around the board table for a while now,” director of education Robert Bratvold said.

The changes made had an impact on various families around Debden and Canwood who had been provided transportation in the past. The board has been in conversation with the families since.

“It’s true there was a few difficulties, so we changed the transportation service areas,” Bratvold said. “Some families requested transportation. We applied our admin procedure and they appealed to the board and some of those appeals were granted and some of them were not. That’s kind of the reality of it.”

Bratvold said the even before the changes, the division had been operating above and beyond the regulations for some time. The need for clarification is what brought the appeals before the board.

After approving one appeal in August, Bratvold said they expected to see more appeals from the area.

Bratvold said they tried to find their way to a reasonable decision.

Both families made two separate requests and followed the process. After the request was denied, they submitted letters of appeal to the board. Both letters were discussed separately at Monday’s meeting.

The board looked two motions during the meeting—one for each family. The first allowed one family with children already in school to complete school at Ecole Debden School. The second motion denied the appeal of the family.

“Those sort of pieces are important,” Bratvold said. “Those are important elements around board operations, but I would say the meatier part is those conversations that go into why and how and what can we do to make it right.”

Transportation boundaries are discussed each year at the board’s organizational meeting. The appeal in August was also grandfathered into the Ecole Debden School attendance area.