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RVS board of trustees tables Ralph McCall alternative calendar

By: Allison Chorney

  |  Posted: Thursday, Apr 24, 2014 06:00 am

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On April 17, Rocky View Schools (RVS) Trustee Sylvia Eggerer attempted to once more have the 2014 to 2015 alternative calendar at Ralph McCall School and C.W. Perry School approved by the board but the vote was ultimately tabled for further review by the Calendar Board Committee.

The issue was first discussed at the March 20 board of trustees meeting where it was decided in a five-to-one vote, with Eggerer opposing the decision, to direct Ralph McCall, the recently completed Herons Crossing School and C. W. Perry – set to open in September - to follow the division-wide calendar.

Ralph McCall has been running on the alternative calendar for the last 15 years.

“I really felt I didn’t portray at the last discussion how deeply this impacts the community and how deeply this has been ingrained in the last 15 years so successfully,” Eggerer said at the April 17 meeting.

“If something is making someone so pleased and they’re so pleased about the calendar and the way their school operates, we must be doing something right,” she added.

At the March 20 meeting after the decision to end the alternative calendar was made, a subsequent motion was passed that directed the division to investigate the feasibility of a division-wide alternative calendar. Eggerer used that vote to bring the issue back to the floor and suggested Ralph McCall and C.W. Perry, which will be heavily populated by students from Ralph McCall, be test schools.

Eggerer said she didn’t feel comfortable including Heron’s Crossing in the motion because she didn’t think the support from parents was adequately demonstrated at that school.

The alternative calendar Eggerer supported would have students start classes on Aug. 25, allowing for a longer break in October. The current RVS calendar has students starting classes on Sept. 2.

“Allowing a calendar to provide these breaks naturally is, in my opinion, a very good alternative,” she said.

Trustee Bev LePeare, who sits on the calendar committee, said it wouldn’t make sense to use schools in favour of the alternative calendar as a field test and would rather the test be done at schools that aren’t already using the alternative calendar.

“If there is any real desire to have this looked at for the whole division, we should not lose this opportunity to look at these people that have been using it for 15 years and are extremely happy with it,” Eggerer countered.

The motion was tabled in a split vote with Eggerer, Trustee Fiona Gilbert and Trustee Helen Clease opposing the decision to table it.

RVS Director of Communications Angela Spanier said she wasn’t sure of the date of the next calendar committee meeting but said the motion will likely be brought back to the board at the end of June or in September.

“I feel strongly about the alternative calendar,” Eggerer said.

“People were just really happy with the program at the school.”

“My concern of course is that it will be too late,” she added of tabling the motion. “I wish we could have just made a decision.”

Parent Council of Ralph McCall President Steve Goodall said parents just want to know if the alternative calendar will run next year.

“I think what we’re a little disappointed with is that we’re starting to run out of time,” he said.

“I don’t know what the hesitation is with the board.”

He said the move to investigate a division-wide calendar and then to table this motion seems inconsistent.

“We’d just like to know one way or another how it’s going,” Goodall said.

“If they are serious about bringing it across the division, we know it will take some work to get parents on board but this would be a perfect opportunity for them to try it out.”

He said the council respects the board’s decision but would like to work with them to find a solution.

“We feel the alternative calendar does have merit and does have value,” he said.

The proposed alternative calendar can be viewed online at www.rockyview.ab.ca and so can the approved RVS calendar.


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