Five-year-old Elizabeth Lavis was one of many Nanaimo children who couldn't wait for their first day of kindergarten on Wednesday. She even went shopping for school supplies for the first time.
But the brand-new markers, paper and glue sticks she was excited to use will stay in the box, as she and her mother were told Mountain View Elementary - which is in their catchment area, just two blocks away from home - doesn't have space for her. Elizabeth's mother Cassandra Lavis said she was told 20 out-of-catchment students are registered in kindergarten at Mountain View, but there is no place for her daughter.
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district officials referred her to McGirr Elementary, which is a half-hour away, and was put on a waiting list for being out-of-catchment.
"I don't even know if she's going to school (this year) or not," said Lavis. "She was watching all the kids go to school today and she was in tears. She's devastated."
Mountain View Elementary principal Darren Brick declined to comment.
District spokeswoman Donna Reimer said the situation is being caused by a district policy about catchments and outof-catchment students.
She said in-catchment parents who register their children after March 28 aren't guaranteed a spot.
"After June 14, the school starts looking at out-of-catchment," Reimer said.
"Now we're waiting to see what students actually come back to school (to figure out how many spaces are available at Mountain View)."
The catchment policy on the district website says applicants are offered registration in the order of: In-catchment students who attended the previous year but did not complete the previous year; then new in-catchment students who applied by March 28; then new out-ofcatchment students who have applied by March 28.
Reimer said there are currently three incatchment students on the waiting list for Mountain View.
Lavis said she called and emailed Mountain View in June when she moved into the catchment, but the school was closed and she didn't hear back until late August.
She said she feels in-catchment students should always have priority over out-of-catchment.
"Honestly, I just want my daughter to be in school," she said.
"It's kindergarten. It's not like it's university we're trying to get her into."
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