Red Deer Public Schools is concerned the provincial government will develop education regulations over the summer, without proper input from locally elected school boards.
The province is pushing forward with work this summer while senior administration and trustees have limited availability, said Nicole Buchanan, who is the new school board chair for the district.
“We believe an essential element for sound decision-making is the engagement process with all stakeholders involved, so there is concern.”
Buchanan said when trustees met with Education Minister Adriana LaGrange and Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan on Friday, they were told the government is moving ahead fairly quickly on education matters.
But the board did welcome work to reduce red tape in the Education Act, which is a significant concern for many school boards, Buchanan said.
Red tape reduction will make it “easier for our limited resources to be focused on what is best for teaching and learning,” she said.
She said LaGrange, a former school board chair with Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools, also expressed the importance of local autonomy at the board level.
“I think she truly believes and recognizes how important the voice of the community is.”
Buchanan said Red Deer public, which was one of the first school boards to establish gay-straight alliance policy, will be watching what direction government takes on the clubs.
“Red Deer public supports the benefits that GSAs create and the impact they have made for the safety and well-being of our students. Any erosion to any of these protections would cause us extreme concern.”
Delaying the provincial budget until October has also left questions for the local school board when it comes to funding for school nutrition programs and classroom improvement.
“In Red Deer, the nutrition program greatly impacts and benefits so many students. Those kids look forward to that meal, and it’s hugely beneficial to those families, so we’re hoping that funding remains the same,” said Buchanan.
The school board and MLAs toured the nutrition program at Fairview Elementary School on Friday.