For the trustees at Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS), it’s high time for a meeting with several provincial ministers.
That was the intention behind a motion from Eckville-Bentley trustee Pam Hansen at the board of trustees meeting April 13 that saw trustees approve having a letter sent to the government to request a face-to-face meeting with four different ministers and staffs.
The ministers they want to meet with are Education Minister David Eggen, Health Minister Sarah Hoffman, Community and Social Service Minister Irfan Sabir and Indigenous Affairs Minister Richard Feehan. The hope is to discuss and hopefully address WCPS needs with the funding shortfall in dealing with high-needs students.
“I think it’s time. Our board has never met with the (education) minister and instead of writing a letter or having staff contact some bureaucrats, it’s time we as a board ask to meet,” Hansen stated.
“If we can meet with those four, we can lobby, say what we believe and explain what’s happening with inclusive funding as well as with our indigenous students.”
Hansen was clear there is a need to talk to more than just Alberta Education, since there are issues facing WCPS with the large number of group homes in the region they serve plus the mental health supports that many students need. She added that trustees were unimpressed with the response to questions from the Ponoka News in the April 11 edition. In that story, Alberta Education responded it felt that inclusive eduction funding was enough for WCPS.
“They obviously made it very clear to the media that they are not looking at our numbers.”
Trustee Kelly Lowry, one of two Lacombe/Blackfalds trustees, pushed for the board to ask the various municipalities that make up WCPS to lobby the government on their behalf as well.
“This affects our communities, it can’t be just left on our laps,” she stated.
“I believe we are doing a really good job doing what we are mandated to do. We are also doing a really good job on social services and in health and fulfilling an indigenous affairs job as well. We are fulfilling a lot of roles and doing a really great job, but do these other ministries actually know we are doing more than just education?”
The plan was get the requests out soon and a meeting with the various ministers in short order.