A survey questionnaire given by the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) has helped the Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) board of trustees identify the issues that they would like to place at the top of their priorities list.
The survey, designed to help direct ASBA’s advocacy efforts, was filled out by the WCPS trustees together during their Friday, Nov. 21 meeting and while there was agreement on some points, others led to debate.
Near the top of the survey, the trustees were asked how important adequate, stable, predictable funding was. “In my mind that is a number one,” said board chair Trudy Bratland.
“I think that’s a huge one,” trustee Pam Hansen agreed.
First Nation, Métis and Inuit student success was given the second place spot.
Where the board should place student health and wellness was also a question. “I think that should be before the other two,” said trustee Barb Walker. “That’s the whole point, student health and wellness.”
However, the concept was ranked third. Jess and Bratland felt if funding is not in place, health and wellness cannot be achieved.
The survey also had an area for ‘other’, so boards could add what was on their own agendas if it was not already in the survey and the trustees took the opportunity to bring equitable rural school funding to the table and ranked it fourth.
Despite some differing opinions, infrastructure came in fifth. “The Blackfalds (new school) is the critical development one for us, but overall infrastructure is pretty solid,” said superintendent Larry Jacobs.
Bratland felt infrastructure might sit at a 10 in the board’s list, but other members did not want it that low. “It’s pretty important still, to maintain them,” said Secretary-treasurer Joe Henderson
Transportation, wraparound services and 21st Century competencies were given places six, seven and eight, respectively.
The board felt English language classes did not need to be at the top of the list. “(It’s) more important probably for other school boards than us,” said Bratland. “More so in the urban areas than some schools in our division,” added trustee Lorrie Jess.
Henderson felt the trustees should mainly focus on their top three priorities in order to communicate strong feelings to ASBA. ‘This isn’t to capture a whole realm of new stuff.”
“One of the points I’m always careful about when I fill out a survey is to make sure it’s obvious to them that there’s a spread between what’s important and what’s not,” said Jacobs.