Clearview Public School Board seeks savings

School in Stettler will be the same as it always was next year, but the board is examining a way to reduce administrative costs and has approved an investigation into the effect of fewer administrations. Faced with a deficit of about $1 million in 2012-13, and the potential for another deficit projected to be $500,000, next school year Ken Checkel, Clearview Public School Board chair, said the board was entering an era of belt tightening.

School in Stettler will be the same as it always was next year, but the board is examining a way to reduce administrative costs and has approved an investigation into the effect of fewer administrations.

Faced with a deficit of about $1 million in 2012-13, and the potential for another deficit projected to be $500,000, next school year Ken Checkel, Clearview Public School Board chair, said the board was entering an era of belt tightening.

As a way to reduce costs the board id looking at administrative efficiencies.

There are three different school administrative entities in Stettler, all in the same building.

On May 23 the school board passed a motion to study the impact of reducing those three administrative groups to two. Currently the administration is separated into pre-kindergarten to Grade 5, Grade 6 to 8 and Grade 9 to 12.

“It has been suggested we should look at somehow combining those grades into a different configuration that would only have two administrators,” said Checkel.

“Basically take three schools and convert it into two.”

He added that because all the students are in the same building no one would be moving and the move would really only impact the administration.

To get to the point where they could reconfigure Stettler’s school administration, the board approved a pilot project for the 2013-14 year. In that time they will examine the potential benefits and consequences, both financial and educational, of different grade configurations.

“People took that to mean that we were going to, for the very start of next year, change the configuration to kindergarten to Grade 6 and Grade 6 to 12,” said Sheckel.

“That was not our intention. We are not intending to change the configuration starting Sept. 1, we are going to take the next year to study this to see if we do anything at all.”

The board has conducted public meetings this spring, including two in Stettler, and talked about this measure as one they were considering.

“We have been saying we don’t think this is a huge money saver but it is something we have to look at,” said Checkel. “The idea is not only to save money, but to see if there are some educational advantages in having our students managed in a different way.”

Though enrolment isn’t playing a factor in this decision, Checkel said Stettler does have very slowly declining enrolment. Enrolment is declining at greater rates in the district outside of the town.

More than half of students in the Clearview Public School Division attend one of the Stettler schools.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com