Bradner parents lead fight against school realignment

We are upset about the recent decision by the Abbotsford School Board to realign Bradner Elementary to K-5.

Editor:

We are upset about the recent decision by the Abbotsford School Board to realign Bradner Elementary to K-5.

This will destroy almost 100 years of tradition at Bradner. The yearly May Day celebration will no longer have a May Queen and King (traditionally it was a Bradner Elementary Gr 7 student selected). Most of the festivities, including the yearly May Pole dance, are held on school grounds and are made up primarily by Grade 6 and 7 students. In fact the whole May Day celebration and parade is organized by parents at Bradner Elementary so without the extra parents from Grades 6-7 students to help the whole celebration may be lost.

Losing the Grades 6 and 7 may cause many families to move all of their children from the school including students in lower grades and that may threaten the loss of the entire school due to low enrolment. The realignment will cause the Bradner Grades 6 and 7 students to be moved to Eugene Reimer Middle which is in the middle of a gang war on top of Townline Hill.

The purpose of the realignment is to increase attendance at Reimer because many parents even in the current catchment are refusing to send their children to the school. They currently have around 360 students for a school that supports 600. We speculate this loss in enrollment is due to the Townline Hill conflict although the Eugene Reimer administration say that it is due to their lack of specialty (French Immersion, Music, Trade etc).

Many parents are refusing to send their children to Reimer, so the realignment would only result in a small increase anyhow. In a recent meeting at Eugene Reimer the school administration indicated they would be happy if half of the students affected would attend their school.

So the district is destroying our school and our traditions over trying to get a handful of students. The school district sprang this proposal on us shortly before Christmas and intend to realign the school next school year (2016-2017).

The Bradner PAC is currently working around the clock to save our school. Amanda McAllister is the lead contact in our proposal to the district, due Jan. 21.

The district have set a tentative deadline of Feb. 23 to vote on the proposal.

We would appreciate any help we can get from the local community by contacting the school district with their opposition to the proposal.

Darren and Laurie Brader, Abbotsford

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