School board must put local students' needs first
Dear Editor, I feel compelled to provide greater understanding of the issue of portables for schools in Airdrie and Cochrane.
At our most recent board meeting, Rocky View Schools (RVS) trustees raised the issue of providing portables for Prince of Peace School near Chestermere while asking some schools in Airdrie and Cochrane to deal with overcrowded student situations, which could be alleviated by portables placed in those municipalities.
The crucial issue revolves around providing extra space for students at Prince of Peace. Operating now at 99 per cent capacity the expectation is that 40 more students will cross their doors next year.
In Airdrie, there are four schools operating in that same capacity range while Cochrane has one and extra modular classrooms were requested from Alberta Education (AE) to accommodate that growth.
AE did not authorize those extra portable classrooms but expected that eight portables presently at Langdon School could be re-distributed to account for growth.
The problem is that the majority of the students who presently attend Prince of Peace and a majority of the students who will make up next year’s growth reside in the city of Calgary.
RVS is not required to provide space for them whereas by law RVS must provide space for students in Airdrie and Cochrane.
RVS policy IC section 6.2 specifically refers to schools over 85 per cent capacity, which should not register out-of-area students because of accommodation difficulties.
However, the RVS motion put Prince of Peace as the first priority over three other RVS schools for modular placement.
This contravention of policy should cause concern for parents elsewhere in RVS.
I am unsure whether the reporters present were able to discern the difficulty trustees had with a motion, which contravenes standing RVS policy and the priority placed on the principle of who RVS should serve first.
For my opinion, RVS has been diligent at accommodating new students but it cannot be at the expense or inconvenience of those students we are required by law to serve.
Don Thomas, RVS Trustee for Airdrie