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Rocky View Schools approves $1.7M for new and relocated portables

By: Allison Chorney

  |  Posted: Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 11:03 am

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Rocky View Schools (RVS) board of trustees voted to approve $1.7 million from instructional reserve funds for new and relocated portables in the 2014 to 2015 school year.

The approval includes the $850,000 contribution required by the Government of Alberta for the installation of 17 new and relocated portables, and the $860,000 for the purchase of three new portables for Mitford School in Cochrane.

Trustee Fiona Gilbert, who made the motion to accept the funding and purchase of additional portables, said, “I do so in protest because we shouldn’t have to fund that amount of money but the government says we have to.”

As reported in the March 10 edition of the Rocky View Weekly, the government informed the division of the new cost-sharing requirement when they received approval to relocate nine portables on Feb. 4.

The new requirement for school boards is $50,000 for each new and relocated portable to go towards delivery and set-up costs, which in RVS amounts to $850,000 for the 2014 to 2015 school year, and all of the costs to create connecting links from the portables to school or other portables.

“We shouldn’t have to be paying for this,” Trustee Bev LePeare said. “The government should have provided it.”

In the decision, Mitford School will receive four new units under the cost-sharing with the government, three new units purchased solely by RVS, and one relocated portable from George McDougall High School in Airdrie that was originally approved by the government to go to École Edwards Elementary School in Airdrie.

RVS Director of Facility Planning John Wheatley explained to the board the need at Mitford, stating the board had requested six new additional portables for the school but received approval for only four.

“The deficiency at Mitford is the prime problem we’re faced with now,” he said.

Without the three new portables and one relocated portable the board approved for the school, the school would be at 108 per cent utilization by September 2014. With the approval of the additional units, the school will still be at 100 per cent capacity.

The decision to move the relocated portable to Mitford when it was government approved to go from George McDougall to École Edwards, was made because École Edwards school administration had advised the school does not require the additional unit to accommodate students in the 2014 to 2015 school year.

Prince of Peace Lutheran School in the Chestermere area will receive two relocated portables from Muriel Clayton Middle School in Airdrie, a point of contention for Trustee Sylvia Eggerer.

Eggerer, who opposed the decision, said she would rather see the portables relocated to Mitford School so the division would only need to purchase one new unit.

“I cannot support something that is fundamentally wrong,” she said.

She added the number of out-of-area students that attend Prince of Peace is about 57 per cent and she would rather see resources going to students that are in the boundaries of the district.

“The whole division is paying for students that are coming from Calgary into Prince of Peace School,” she said, adding she is not opposed to the program but would like to see students within the area getting the available resources first.

However, Wheatley said utilization at Prince of Peace for 2013 was 109 per cent and without the two portables the school would be at 115 per cent utilization.

“They are one of our schools and they need to be treated as such,” LePeare said.

Other schools that will receive new or relocated portables include: two new units for Rainbow Creek Elementary School in Chestermere, two new units for Elizabeth Barrett Elementary School in Cochrane, two relocated from Ralph McCall School in Airdrie to Meadowbrook School in Airdrie, and four relocated units from George McDougall in Airdrie to Herons Crossing School in Airdrie.

The board originally asked for 19 new portables and nine relocated units but received approval for only eight new units and nine relocated units.


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