School board turns down Christian program
RVS Briefs: From the May 3 meeting
After spending more than two years trying to establish a Christian-based Kindergarten to Grade 2 program in Airdrie, Rocky View Schools (RVS) board of trustees has decided to shelf the pilot project indefinitely.
“This is always a tough decision, especially when you’ve got a lot of people who put a great deal of work into it,” said Trustee Don Thomas.
In November 2010, the Shepard of the Hills Lutheran Church sent a formal proposal to the superintendent of schools asking RVS for a Lutheran-based program of choice in Airdrie. The formal proposal was presented in February 2011 to the trustees and the pilot project would have been hosted at Herons Crossing School starting in September 2012.
RVS’ board agreed to green-light the two-year pilot program on the condition at least 30 students were registered by April 30; with complete and incomplete registrations accounted for, the program only had 28 Kindergarten and grades 1 and 2 students in total.
“We were quite clear we needed 30 students to make it economical, and we do not have that despite the best efforts of our superintendent,” said Trustee Colleen Munro.
Despite Murray Besenski, RVS associate superintendent of schools, presenting new numbers that would bring the total enrolment to 31 students — with complete and incomplete registrations — the board agreed their minimum requirement had not been met.
“We have to have a line… I think we also have to take a look at alternate programs and whether we’re offering choice to the people of our division,” said Trustee Sylvia Eggerer.
“I very much was in support of Cochrane Christian Academy,” said Board Chair Bruce Pettigrew.
“I would be very open to a motion that we could accommodate that program of choice in some other way.”
Besenski told the board all of the students who were completely registered for the now defunct program reside in the Airdrie area and would likely attend Heron’s Crossing.
He said some of the students who were not fully registered would be coming from the Calgary Catholic School system.
Thomas said he lamented the fact the program had reached this point, but asked for an amendment to be added to the original motion proposing the board continue discussions to see if the program could work and meet again in May 2013.
Trustee Bev LaPeare asked to add another amendment so alternate venues be considered during the ongoing discussions surrounding the Christian program in Airdrie.
“There are schools in the area that have space to accommodate this program,” Lapeare said.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be in Airdrie.”
The board voted in favour of both amendments and the motion was carried.
Rocky View Schools voted unanimously to approve a new agreement between the school board and the City of Airdrie, May 3.
The project, to begin construction in spring 2013, will add a new entranceway, lobby, offices and washrooms to the existing Bert Church Theatre.
Under the current agreement (signed by both parties in 1999), Rocky View Schools has first right to use the theatre between Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The City has first right to use the theatre outside of these hours.
The new agreement is very similar to the 1999 version of the document, with the newly constructed areas falling under the same insurance, usage and maintenance polices found within the original agreement.