Parents request transfer of Benalto school

Benalto School supporters have formally requested the building be turned over to them. Those trying to save the school want to assume the title as part of their bid to maintain it as a charter school.

Benalto School supporters have formally requested the building be turned over to them.

Those trying to save the school want to assume the title as part of their bid to maintain it as a charter school.

An application is already before Education Minister David Eggen, who has two months to make a decision.

Whether Chinook’s Edge School Division is willing to turn the school over to a community-led group will now be up to the board. The next meeting the proposal can be discussed is June 22.

Carol Rambaut, the president of the hamlet’s booster club, was among a group of Benalto School parents who met on Wednesday at the school with Chinook’s Edge associate superintendent for corporate services Shawn Russell to make the purchase offer, which would be for a token $1.

“Because (the school division) said they had no interested parties at that point, we thought we better scramble and get ours in,” said Rambaut.

The school board voted in April to close the school following this school year because of low enrolment and high per-student costs.

Those fighting to save the school have been concerned about how quickly the school division appears to be moving to dispose of the school. A tour of the school during class hours earlier this week by a private school upset parents and students.

Some of the fears that the school division was fast-tracking efforts to unload the school building were eased after Wednesday’s meeting. However, parents are determined to keep their proposal on top of the pile.

Charter schools — of which Alberta has about a dozen — are run by a non-profit group and funded by Alberta Education and must meet provincial education standards.

Russell said he assured Benalto supporters that the school division is following the legal process set out when disposing of property. A pair of appraisals are required before tender documents are prepared and advertised for a month.

A final decision will be made by the board in public, although discussions on offers will be held in camera, which is typical when legal, land or personnel issues are being considered.

Should the school go through the full tendering process, it is unlikely the board could make a decision before September given the summer break.

While it appeared the school division was moving quickly, the process to sell off assets is detailed and takes considerable time, he said.

The school division can dispose of property without going to tender if the new owner is another school board, municipal, federal or provincial government or a community association and other non-profit group. Ministerial approval is required before any deal is made.

Red Deer County has been advised of the school’s availability and council will discuss it in camera following Tuesday’s meeting. The county had voiced its support for keeping the school open.

Just Posted

Alberta hiring more paramedics and buying new ambulances, none for Red Deer

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer is not concerned the provincial government didn’t… Continue reading

‘My nightmare began again’: Close call as bus carrying Humboldt crash survivor rear-ended

CALGARY — A terrifying ordeal for Humboldt Broncos survivor Ryan Straschnitzki this… Continue reading

Halifax airport operations normalize after Boeing 747 runway overshoot

HALIFAX — The Halifax Stanfield International Airport has resumed normal operations a… Continue reading

Bentley family left without a home grateful for community support

Central Albertans are coming together to support a Bentley family left homeless… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP ready for new mandatory alcohol screening law

Red Deer RCMP are ready to enforce a new law intended to… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer and District Kennel Club Dog Show at Westerner Park

The Red Deer and District Kennel Club is holding a dog show… Continue reading

Pence aide out of running to be Trump’s next chief of staff

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top pick to replace chief of staff… Continue reading

Swath of South faces wintry mess: Snow, sleet, freezing rain

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain… Continue reading

‘I killed my best friend’: Opioids’ fatal grip on mayor, pal

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

Brothers, 20, face second-degree murder charge in death of teen: police

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Police west of Toronto say two brothers have been… Continue reading

A young mayor, his friend, and a fatal attraction to opioids

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

GM fights to retain key tax credit amid plant closing plans

WASHINGTON — General Motors is fighting to retain a valuable tax credit… Continue reading

TTC union asks provincial government to step in on transition to Presto

TORONTO — The union representing transit workers in Canada’s most populous city… Continue reading

Small pot growers find roadblocks on path to microcultivation licences

Yan Boissonneault’s daughter was turning blue. Without warning, his baby had stopped… Continue reading

Most Read