The Cold Lake Configuration Committee held its inaugural meeting on Monday, November 4 at the Cold Lake Energy Centre.
The committee consists of an administrator and 1-2 parents from each NLPS school in Cold Lake. Over the next two years, the committee will analyze the factors affecting enrolment and capacity at the schools in Cold Lake, explore potential solutions to address capacity issues, share information and potential options with parents and the community, and collect feedback to provide the NLPS Board of Trustees.
The committee spent most of its first meeting reviewing the current configuration and enrolment at the schools in Cold Lake and what the projected enrolments look like for 2021-22 and 2022-23, when at least three schools are expected to be at or overcapacity.
Committee members also discussed rumours that have been circulating in the community about the configuration process and potential solutions. In particular, there has been some discussion amongst parents that the configuration process will result in the closure of Art Smith Aviation Academy.
"We are proceeding on the assumption that Art Smith will continue to be in operation as an alternate program within Northern Lights," explained Paula Elock, NLPS Secretary-Treasurer. "There is no plan to stop operating that program."
As well, while the committee is not restricted in the options it can explore, due to the timelines in which configuration needs to be addressed and the current economic situation the province is facing, it is unlikely that new construction (modernization or expansion of an existing facility, construction of a new school or even installation of modulars) will be a viable solution.
The committee's next meeting is scheduled to take place in February. At that time, committee members will start discussing potential options for configuration and what methods it will use to collect input from the community.