Each year, school divisions across the province are required to submit a Three-Year Capital Plan to Alberta Education. All school divisions are also required to have a 10-Year Capital Plan on file that is approved by the School Board.
Some things should be noted when reading the document, including the following:
- The Capital Plans are a list of capital priorities that the Board would like the Provincial Government to fund. They are a “wish list” submitted to the Government for consideration in its infrastructure planning process. The Government decides which projects are approved for funding and when they will go ahead.
- The School Division does not receive annual funding that it can use to construct new schools or do major renovations to an existing school. The School Board cannot requisition funds from taxpayers to pay for new schools or major renovations. If projects do not receive approval from the Provincial Government, the School Division cannot move forward with construction.
- While the plans are referred to as a Three-Year and 10-Year Capital Plan respectively, that does not mean that all, or any, of the projects will actually be approved or completed within that timeframe. Sometimes it takes many years for a project to be approved, even if it is ranked at the top of the School Division’s Capital Plan.
- While the plan includes scheduled start dates, end dates, and costs, those are estimates and suggestions only. The dates are determined based on how quickly the Division wants to move forward with the project and how quickly construction could start if the project was approved immediately. The dates usually also reflect any work that has already been done to move the project forward, such as negotiating a location with a municipality. The suggested dates and costs are used to help the Provincial Government assess the project and determine whether or not to approve it. If, and when, the Government approves a project, it will determine the actual timelines and budget for that project.
- The School Division is required to rank all of the projects, but that does not mean that the projects will proceed in that order. For instance, a modernization project, which is a renovation of an existing facility, may move forward before the construction of a new school. This could be due to a variety of factors, including cost. As well, it is possible for priorities to shift, particularly if there are emergent issues that increase or decrease the urgency of a particular project.
If you have any questions about the Northern Lights Public Schools Three-Year and 10-Year Capital Plans, please feel free to contact our Division Office in Bonnyville.