Province has “dropped the ball”: Chinook’s Edge

Funding cut affects vulnerable students, families

Chinook’s Edge School Division superintendent Kurt Sacher

A Central Alberta school division is appealing to the provincial government to address a funding shortfall for an important program that helps the region’s most vulnerable students.

Kurt Sacher, superintendent Chinook’s Edge School Division, said Thursday that they have received confirmation that nearly $1 million will be cut from the Regional Collaborative Service Delivery (RCSD) program for school districts throughout Central Alberta.

The funding supports students with special needs, many with complex and severe needs. RCSD is viewed as key to their success at school, home and in the community. The partnership, which began in 2013, involves Alberta Education, Alberta Health Services, Community and Social Services, and Children’s Services.

The severity of the needs of vulnerable students is increasing beyond the resources available, even before the current budget reductions, Sacher said.

The formula that the province uses to determine the amount of funding is flawed, he said, adding he believes it has affected Central Alberta unfairly compared with other parts of Alberta.

“To be blunt, we really believe the government has dropped the ball on this one.”

“It’s not just the parents of the vulnerable children who should be concerned,” Sacher said.

Teachers have a challenging enough job as it is, and when they need assistance to address the needs of a vulnerable student, and they don’t have it, it takes away from their ability to deal with the rest of their students, Sacher said.

Support through the RCSD program could come in the form of speech pathologists, mental health therapists, or nurses, he said.

“If speech and language issues are addressed early, you have a lifetime of success, and the reverse is true if you don’t have the resources,” he said.

“We finally had kids off of waiting lists (for mental health support). It’s been a constant challenge for us and we’re worried those wait lists will start going back up again.”

“The government is trying to navigate in difficult economic times and we understand that … we just really believe they’ve triaged the wrong area of funding out of the envelope. … This should have been higher up on the priority list.”

Chinook’s Edge has been advocating strongly for the province to not cut the funding, and with other Central Alberta school divisions, has requested an opportunity to meet and work with the provincial government on the matter.

The cuts will affect the next school year so there’s still time for the province to restore the funding, Sacher said.

Just Posted

Blackfalds firefighter battling cancer

A volunteer firefighter in Blackfalds for 15 years, Dave Sutherland now battling… Continue reading

Red Deer transit users are concerned about the future

But recreation centre users are glad facility hours were maintained

Community cardiac awareness dinner and show to be held

Continued focus to bring cardiac catheterization lab to Red Deer

Red Deer businesses react to 2.02 per cent tax increase for 2018

Chamber would prefer zero increase, while DBA thinks it’s reasonable

Bring on the rodeo says Red Deer County mayor

Canadian Finals Rodeo’s move to Red Deer good for whole region, says Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

RDC chosen to host 2019 men’s volleyball national championship

Sports enthusiasts in Red Deer will have more to look forward to… Continue reading

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

DJ Sabatoge and TR3 Band kick off Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest 2018

Central Alberta’s youngest DJ will open for TR3 Band kicking off Town… Continue reading

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month