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Board meeting highlights - June 17, 2021

Board chooses facilitator for PRSD’s Anti-racism committee
The board of trustees approved a recommendation from Superintendent Paul Bennett to retain the services of facilitators from the Alberta Civil Liberties Centre (ACLRC) to lead PRSD’s Anti-racism committee. The ACLRC is a 38 year-old registered charity organization that is focused on human rights and civil liberties connected to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, provincial and international laws. “ACLRC facilitators Pamela Dos Ramos, M.A. PhD and, Ayodeji Otiti LLP, LLM have extensive education and experience relating to human rights issues and we are confident they will serve PRSD well” says PRSD Board Chair Darren Kuester.

Trustees celebrate Superintendent Bennett 
Trustees extended their appreciation to Superintendent Paul Bennett for his service and dedication to Peace River School Division and presented him with a gift. Superintendent Bennett attended his last board meeting on June 17, 2021 and is set to retire on August 31, 2021. “We extend our deepest gratitude to Dr. Bennett for his service to students, staff, the board of trustees, and the communities we serve” says Kuester. “His dedication to PRSD and public education is second to none and this is clearly indicated in our consistently positive Accountability Pillar Results. We are very grateful for his innovative nature, leadership, and passion to provide students with the best educational opportunities possible. He will be surely missed and we wish him all the best in his retirement.”

Design funding meeting for new school in Manning
Rhonda Freeman provided the board with an update regarding the design funding approval from the Alberta Government for a new K-12 school in Manning. Freeman advised the board that a preliminary meeting will be held next week with PRSD administration and Alberta Infrastructure staff.  In March 2021, PRSD was advised of government approval for design funding for a new kindergarten to grade twelve school in Manning. Design funding approval provides funding for the project to be fully designed, to prepare drawings and specifications to capture program expenses.

Ministerial Approval of Sale of Bus Garages in Fairview and Grimshaw
The board reviewed a letter from the Deputy Minister of Education approving the sale of PRSD properties in both Peace River and Fairview that currently house PRSD transportation satellite offices. “The board is aware of the importance and operational efficiencies of ensuring a place is provided for the storage of buses and a meeting space for our drivers in the west end of the division” says Kuester. “We will ensure that a space be provided for our west end school bus drivers to meet and store their buses in the town of Fairview.”

School Bus Evergreening
Trustees approved that administration be authorized to purchase seven school buses to replace older models in the fleet as per Administrative Procedure 502, Acquisition of Equipment, which allocates funds to the replacement of buses older than 11 years. PRSD operates transportation services for approximately 3000 students in PRSD, Holy Family Catholic Regional School Division, Consiel scolaire du Nord-Quest and Grande Prairie Catholic School Division.

Grimshaw Library Joint Use Agreement
The board of trustees reviewed and agreed to an amendment to  the Grimshaw Library Joint Use Services Agreement. The agreement outlines the terms and conditions for the shared use of the Grimshaw Library located in the Grimshaw Shared School Facility that provides services to the community, Grimshaw Public School, and Holy Family School.

Facilities Department provides departmental update
Director of Support Services John Przybylski and Facilities Manager Jon Ruether provided the board with an annual overview of PRSD’s Facilities Department. The Facilities Department provides and coordinates maintenance on all school and support office buildings and land.  The department employs administrative and management staff, summer students and maintenance service staff that include electricians, plumbers, gas fitters, carpenters and maintenance staff. During the presentation, information was provided regarding Capital Maintenance and Renewal projects, Infrastructure Maintenance and Renewal Projects, Central Operations projects in progress and the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to facility related expenses. The pandemic has resulted in an increase of expenses of approximately $640,000.00 which includes increased staffing, cleaning, sanitizing and disinfectant costs, signage and floor arrows as well as plexiglass barriers for schools.  PRSD’s Capital Plan was also reviewed with the board and includes the following projects being requested for approval: New K-12 School in Manning, New School in Red Earth Creek and modernizations for Fairview Jr Sr High School (FHS), Worsley Central School (WCS), TA Norris Middle School and EE Oliver Elementary School (EEO).  Some projects completed by the facilities department over the past year include upgraded lighting and paving/concrete work at FHS, WCS and EEO, and renovations to Central Operations. On the horizon is the ongoing maintenance to PRSD schools and the completion of the Transportation Shop located at Central Operations in Grimshaw which is expected to be completed by September 1, 2021.

School Board Trustee elections

In preparation for the School Board Trustee Election on October 18, 2021, the board of trustees approved that the PRSD Returning Officer be authorized to put in place additional voting stations if required. The board also approved that PRSD partner with local municipalities whenever possible to conduct the elections and allow for advance voting where partnering municipalities are offering advance voting.  The board also reviewed the PRSD 2021 Election Communication Plan.

Canadian Association of School System Administrators and the Canadian School Boards Association Conference
Vice-Chair Crystal Owens and Ward One Trustee Marie Dyck will participate in the Canadian Association of School System Administrators (CASSA) virtual conference from July 7-9, 2021. The annual conference joins school system leaders across Canada together to learn and share information on current topics in education. Anti-racism, Mental Health, Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action are some examples of topics on the virtual conference agenda. 

Board approves the use of locally developed courses
The board approved the continued use of Forensic Studies 25-3 and 35-3, locally developed courses provided by Edmonton Public Schools. Locally developed courses are developed or acquired and authorized by school authorities to provide students with learning opportunities that compliment provincial programs. The courses provide unique opportunities for students to explore unique and a wide range of interests. Alberta Education requires that all locally developed courses be approved by the Board of Trustees.

Board continues membership to Rural Caucus of Alberta School Boards
Trustees voted to continue their membership with the Rural Caucus of Alberta School Boards as a way to ensure the voice of rural Alberta School Boards is heard. “The Rural Caucus provides rural school boards with a voice on issues and concerns that are unique to rural school boards” says Kuester.

Jun 21, 2021

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