I am writing this letter in regards to a matter that was brought up in the last meeting of the Delia School Council.
As many people have read in the papers, Delia is in the beginning stages of the construction of a new school.
What nobody knew until the school council meeting is that in the background, without public consultation of any kind, there was a move to name the new school “Ray Martin Delia School or R.J. Martin Delia School”.
Who is Ray Martin? For the most part we in Delia don’t know who he is either. I had to search the internet and this is the information about him.
He was born in Delia, went to school here and then moved to Edmonton where his career and life was centered. So why in the world would our school be named after someone who did not have enough of an impact on Delia to even be known by most of the community?
I phoned the school trustee for our area and was informed that without Ray Martin, Delia would never had been approved for a new school. The reason the school should be named after Ray is that he phoned the then NDP Education Minister and talked him into approving the funding for the school.
The government would never have approved funding because of a phone call from a single person.
That is not, thankfully, how democratic governments work. Delia got the approval because of the intensely hard working people in the background who for years jumped through government red tape, filled out countless stacks of paperwork, reworked designs, and crunched numbers over and over again. They are the real heroes of the new school.
Our trustee also said that this is a decision that would be made by the Prairie Land School Division board of directors and that the parents and community of Delia do not have a say in this.
I appeal to the Alberta Education Minister, Nate Horner our MLA, and the members of the board of directors to please allow public consultation on the name of the new school.
The naming of a school is a huge thing in a small community like ours. It will be the name of the school for many generations to come.
Much has been written about the community spirit of the Delia area. More than a million dollars was raised by the area to pay for extras in the school that are not covered by government funding.
If the community was good enough to be used for fundraising then it only is fitting and fair that the community be good enough to be consulted in the naming of the new school.
For the greater good we as parents, students and citizens have given up so many rights, freedoms and enjoyments because of Covid.
With the naming of the school, we have a chance, if even for a little while, to think beyond the fear and restrictions we endure. If the public consensus is that we do name the school after a person perhaps, let the school children research all the amazing people who have done great things for the community of Delia, post the essays online, (and do I dare say, in newspapers) and have the community vote on the new name.
For those of you who are reading my letter I am asking, even if you are not from the Delia area, to please email the Prairie Land School Division board members and implore them in the name of democracy and decency to let us have public consultation before the name of our school is changed for the rest of its existence.
The email addresses of the board members can be found at https://www.plrd.ab.ca/governance.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope that it will move you to help the Delia community have a say in the naming of our new school.