Board Highlights, April 12
Concern over funding cuts for vulnerable students with special needs:
The Board passed a motion directing the Board Chair to send a letter to the Minister of Education, with copies to several learning and political organizations, expressing concerns regarding the significant funding cuts to the region’s Regional Collaborative Service Delivery (RCSD). Chinook’s Edge is one of the school divisions in the central region that is faced with service cuts to the region’s most vulnerable students, due to nearly $1 million in budget reductions to Central Alberta’s RCSD. A separate media release is being issued on this today, to provide further details.
Letter to Minister of Education:
The Board directed the Board Chair to write a letter inviting the Minister of Education to an in-person meeting with the Chinook’s Edge Board of Education to discuss: 1) The Ministry’s expectations around communication to parents regarding their child’s involvement in Gay-Straight Alliance groups in schools; 2) concerns regarding Transportation funding; 3) concerns regarding pending cuts to Central Alberta’s Regional Collaborative Service Delivery funding; 4) the division’s capital priorities.
Youth employment program comes to an end:
The Board of Education passed a motion to conclude its involvement with the Personal Empowerment and Employment Program at the end of this school year. Grants for the program, which is a federal government year-long program that provides youth employment strategies, are becoming more difficult to receive. The Board voiced appreciation for the efforts of Michele Brewster, long-serving Program Director and Chinook’s Edge teacher, whose passion and work has impacted under-employed students who have been well served by this program for over 20 years.
Indigenous Art Installation at Division Office:
Superintendent Sacher expressed his appreciation for the efforts being made in schools across the division to honour our Indigenous students and acknowledged that the presence of welcoming artwork is an important visible reminder of the positive, inclusive and respectful environments we expect within each of our schools. To ensure that a positive welcome is also present in Division Office, a print was installed in the reception area from artwork created by École Deer Meadow School teacher, Janice Gallant. It is a collaborative design, which incorporates elements that our Indigenous students requested.
Pending sale of Red Deer property:
The Board approved the potential sale of the former River Glen School property in Red Deer, pending Ministerial approval.
Recognition of Excellence:
The Board congratulated three Grade 12 students who earned a highly rare 100% on Math 30-1 Diploma Exams, and acknowledged the hard work of their teachers. Innisfail High School students Faith Gette and Riona Wiberg, with their teacher Erin Lapierre, and Olds High School student Nolan Moody and teacher Louan Statchuk were congratulated by Board Chair Colleen Butler and Superintendent Kurt Sacher.
The Board passed a motion to eliminate Basic School Fees for all students in all grades. For the last three years, these fees were $64 for Grades 1-6, $79 for Grades 7-9, $104 for Grades 10-12. There has not been a fee for Kindergarten students in Chinook’s Edge. Option/CTS Fees will remain at $7 per credit, and fees will continue to be in place for such items as instrument rental for Band, field trips and swimming lessons.
Red Deer College Memorandum of Understanding:
Several trustees will be attending an event at Red Deer College on May 17, to acknowledge the partnership which is leading to increased learning opportunities for students and staff in Chinook’s Edge.
Transportation funding challenges:
In an ongoing effort to ensure efficient services within a challenging budget, the Board heard an update from the Transportation Committee. The Board set criteria around the school of choice fee which was passed at a previous meeting, to accommodate sibling groups and small school enrolments on a case by case basis.
The next meeting of the Board of Chinook’s Edge School Division No. 73 is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, May 10, 2017.