A lot of work is now in store for the administration at Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS).
Acting superintendent Jayson Lovell informed the board of trustees at their meeting on Thursday, May 19 that the new Education Act, which was passed in the Alberta legislature last year, could soon be proclaimed and take effect this September.
Lovell told trustees if that is the case, it will mean administration will have to accelerate their work on preparing all of the school divisions administrative procedures to comply with the new act as well as making other changes with regards to numerous aspects of the operations.
In addition, trustees are meeting this week with opposition MLAs to discuss various issues and the new act will be among them. In discussing what talking points they should focus on with the MLAs, it was stated that administration has a concern about what affect allowing students to go to high school until they are 21 will have on potentially stretching the support structure, without any increase in funding, to educating students with significant needs for two more years. There is also a concern about the impact changes to the residency requirement to attend school will mean, since the new act eliminates that a student must attend the school division where a parent or guardian resides, since that will certainly make things much more difficult to get consent to provide certain services to students.
As well during that discussion, trustees will speak to the MLAs about their views on the school division having to pay the recently introduced carbon levy that starts in 2017 and what their opinions are on the use of provincial funding for private schools.
Currently, WCPS has 35 students registered throughout the division that were evacuated from Fort McMurray earlier this month, Lovell told trustees.
The question quickly became how to integrate those students with Lovell explaining that staff and students were remarkable in making the transition for those students as seamless as possible.
“Essentially, it was just ensured that those students received the appropriate support and welcomed to be a part of the school, ” he said.
“Everyone did an incredible job in that and its nice to see a bit more of a positive note to come out of what is a tragic situation.”
Trustees accepted a recommendation from Lovell to hear a presentation next month about getting a report done on just what the division should be looking at regarding the development of an overall communications plan.
Lovell explained that the proposed presenter has done several of these reviews, but that since there is a cost to having it done, trustees wanted to first hear about what the process would be before deciding whether the money would be worth it.
Trustees Bob Huff and Donna Peterson both stated they believed the time is right to do this, even if it is going to cost them some dollars, since they need to communicate with various stakeholders in order to help them do their job right as well as get their messages out there in order to attract students and market the division.