The campaign to get parents to register their young children for a new traditional school in Mission is in high gear this week, with moms setting up information booths at local recreation centres.
Parents were at the Mission Leisure Centre and the Abbotsford Recreation Centre and other public areas, hoping to lure some families back to Mission to make the kindergarten to Grade 4 traditional school a reality.
After increasing interest from local parents, a district committee proposed a K - Grade 4 traditional model to be open this September, but only if it draws 75 new registrations.
The district and traditional school supporters say that many of those new students could come from private schools or traditional schools in Abbotsford.
"We've lost so many students - there are up to 550 that have left our district to go to independent schools and that's quite a large number. We would like to get a few of those back, that's our goal," said Bill Fletcher, Mission school district superintendent.
The funding that the students would bring from the Ministry of Education - $7,500 per student - is crucial for the choice school to be financially viable, said school trustee Jim Taylor.
It would mean more than $500,000 to put specifically into the new school.
"If we simply pull kids from our other schools, it would be a big drain on our finances," said Taylor, especially as the district is still recovering from a financial shortfall in recent years.
Taylor said students already attending Mission public schools are also welcome to register for the traditional school, but it's the new registrations that will determine whether or not it goes ahead.
"Until we get the registrations (on March 12) we won't know," said Taylor.
Even if the numbers are not enough, "the discussion won't be over," he said.
However, even though he is a proponent of the traditional model, Taylor added that if the numbers were close, he would not support the school if it put the district into financial jeopardy.
The site of the school has not yet been decided, but the currently closed Fraser-view Elementary on Seventh Avenue is one option, said Fletcher. The district's next public meeting on the traditional school is March 11 at 7 p.m. at Fraserview Elementary, 32444 Seventh Ave., Mission.
Registration for the school is the next day, on March 12 from 8: 30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the school board office, 33046 Fourth Ave., Mission. Some parents have set up a Facebook site at on.fb.me/Wws1eB.
? Registration forms and more information on the traditional school are available at the board office or at its website, www.mpsd.ca.