Clearview analyzes implications to Stettler schools amalgamation

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A motion passed unanimously at the Clearview Board meeting on May 23, 2013 that directs the Superintendent and Stettler School Administration to analyze the potential benefits and implications of amalgamating in whole or in part all of the Stettler schools.
A pilot project would be established for the 2013/14 school year with the following configuration: a pre-Kindergarten to Grade 6 school and a Grade 7 to 12 school, with an outreach component.
Councillor Karen Holloway expressed her concern about implications to the Outreach program.
She was assured that during the pilot there would be no change in the outreach location or administration and public consultation would be sought before any final decisions were made.
“The idea (of combining schools in Stettler) has been around for some time and support has ramped up,” said Chairman Ken Checkel.
With the Stettler Elementary School principal leaving at the end of this school year and ongoing budget constraints, councillors felt the timing was right to proceed.

Budget
A motion to approve the 2013 – 2014 Spring Draft Budget with a projected deficit of approximately $500,000 was passed.
After having planned deficits for a number of years, trustees are moving toward a balanced budget as reserves wind down. Last year’s deficit was approximately $1 million.
“The school principals have revised their budgets in accordance with the board’s directions,” said Secretary Treasurer, Lewis Hill when presenting the budget.
In a site-based decision-making model, the board sets the parameters, allocates the dollar amounts and the principals make the final budget decisions based on their student populations.
“There are issues with every budget but through the hard work of our principals and administration,” said Karen Holloway. “This budget is going to provide excellent student programming than we thought possible when we held our community meetings.”
Overall the district will see a reduction by 5.3 full-time equivalent (FTE) certified staff and 7.6 FTE support staff positions.
Other than the Stettler Complex and Coronation, most schools will see only minor adjustments to staffing hours.
Stettler Middle School will be down one teaching position, Wm. E. Hay will be down 2.7 teaching positions and Stettler Elementary will be down 0.4.
The Stettler Complex will also reduce its support staff by 3.7 FTE, and Coronation School will cut support staff by 4.4 FTE.
The Coronation School Budget has met the board’s request that it deal with 50 per cent of its deficit in the 2013-14 year.
Stettler Elementary was allocated $74,281 to top up funding for the full-time elementary program and pay the extra supervision costs related to the double-run busing schedule.
Network administration costs of $12,000 were transferred from the Wm. E. Hay budget to central technology and the school resource officer. Costs were taken out of Wm. E. Hay expenses and allocated amongst all the schools.
Patty Dittrick, Yvette Cassidy and Peter Simons were the trustees who voted against the motion.

Modernization
Approval was given to submit a Capital Plan to the Department of Education to modernize the Stettler Middle School.
The deadline for submissions is May 31, 2013.
Secretary Treasurer Lewis Hill, assured the trustees that changes can be made to the plan once submitted. For example, an amendment to include a gym at the Middle School would be favourably considered by the department if it were a joint venture with other community partners.

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