The school year for Clearview students will end on June 19 Superintendent Peter Baron advised trustees at their regular meeting on May 6.
Baron also said of the three options Alberta Education is considering for the 2020/21 school year, the most likely scenario will be a fall return with restrictions— enhanced cleaning, social distancing, different grades going to school on staggered days, separation on playgrounds and alternate bussing arrangements.
The other two options are less likely—returning to school without restrictions or the continuation of online education.
Online education isn’t an ideal option.
It has been particularly challenging for younger, at-risk and high needs students.
It also negatively impacts relationship building and forging friendships which is important for students of all ages.
Other challenges include parents feeling overwhelmed; some students with unreliable internet connections; parents unfamiliar with technology; students who need special learning supports, and teachers and students missing one-to-one relationships.
The mental health of students and staff is an ongoing concern.
Teachers are maintaining relationships with students and parents through Google Meets, YouTube sharing, e-mailing and phone calls.
They are reading to their classes online, using learning tools such as google classroom, videos and online assignments and continue to make available learning packages for families unable to access reliable technology or those uncomfortable with online learning.
Due to the reduction in funding by the Alberta government this spring, Associate Superintendent, Peter Neale, advised that 46 regular school bus drivers were furloughed at the end of April.
Twenty-seven school-based staff had asked for consideration of an earlier furlough before the end of April, and 25 staff were furloughed at the end of April.
Clearview has maintained 34 school-based support staff who continue to support students at-risk or high needs students.
Revenues and budget
Associate Superintendent Peter Neale has been meeting by phone and online with school principals to finalize numbers for the 2020/21 spring budget.
The new funding formula provides an additional $1 million or five per cent increase for instructional budgets compared to 2019-20.
Transportation Services will receive a five per cent increase and Facilities Services a 13.13 per cent increase.
Traditionally, Facilities and Transportation shortfalls were funded from instructional dollars so the increase in these two areas allows more dollars to flow to the schools.
The Coronation School is projected to end the school year with a $125,000 deficit. School principals are accountable to balance their budgets.
The Coronation School’s population decreased by 50 students over the last two years so some restructuring is required.
Per board policy, the Coronation School will re-pay the deficit over two years from their budgeted allocation.
Coronation Outreach School
A decision was made, on recommendation from Principal Brown, that the Coronation Outreach school be closed, the leased building be returned to Alberta Health Services and these services be moved to the Coronation School.
The Board stressed they are not reducing services to students who need an alternative learning model, but it is simply a change in delivery location.
Outreach schools on separate campuses are considered by Alberta Education as stand-alone schools.
As such, this decision triggers the necessity for the School Board to consult with stakeholders and the community before a final closure vote can be taken. This consultation will happen soon.
Coronation School has requested $25,000 in funding to maintain this program within the school.
Castor and Stettler will continue to maintain Outreach Schools off-campus.
Other agenda items
Clearview will donate $131,000 of unspent dollars from their allocation under Alberta Education’s School Nutrition Program to local food banks in Coronation, Castor, Stettler and Big Valley.
Roofing maintenance will be undertaken at the Big Valley School, Stettler Elementary School and Wm. E. Hay Stettler Secondary Campus costing $623,431.
Superintendent Peter Barron, after six years, will be leaving his Clearview position at the end of July to become superintendent of the Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools.