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Under the Northern Lights - March 27, 2024

Three-Year Capital Plan

The Board approved the 2024-2027 Capital Plan. A replacement school for Vera M. Welsh Elementary School in Lac La Biche remains the division's top capital priority. This project was approved for design funding in 2023, but was not been approved for construction yet. Secretary-Treasurer Paula Elock explained that until that happens, it has to continue to be included in the capital plan as the division's top priority.

The only major change to the capital plan was to the division's second priority. Previously, this was a replacement school for North Star Elementary School in Cold Lake. This has now been expanded to a request for a solution to address school infrastructure needs in Cold Lake South. That will include looking at options for North Star Elementary School, Art Smith Aviation Academy and potentially Cold Lake Junior High. 

A new school for Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement remains as Priority 3 in the capital plan. Buffalo Lake is currently the only Metis settlement in Alberta that does not have a school located on the settlement. Most students from Buffalo Lake are currently bused to Caslan School. The Board's Truth and Reconciliation recently met with the Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement Council and discussed how they could work together to lobby for this project to move forward. 

Priority 4 on the capital plan is a modernization of Ecole Plamondon School. This has been on the division's capital plan for over 20 years and it has been noted previously that the scope of improvements may make replacing the school more feasible than a modernization at this point. The division has submitted a request to demolition of the three portables located at the school as they have been declared structurally unsound. That was originally part of the modernization request but is now being submitted outside of the capital plan since they can no longer be used.

In addition to approving the 2024-2027 Capital Plan, the Board discussed its advocacy efforts in relation to the plan. Board Chair Karen Packard committed to contacting the Minister of Education to set up a meeting to discuss the division's infrastructure challenges. 

ASCA Conference

The Board agreed to support the attendance of eight school council members to attend the Alberta School Councils' Association conference in Edmonton in April. The Board usually supports up to six school council members from throughout the division to attend, but interest in the conference was higher this year so they decided to support more attendees.