The NLPS Board of Trustees met with MLAs and cabinet ministers, voted on position statements that will guide provincial advocacy, and took part in professional development as part of the Alberta School Boards’ Association (ASBA) Fall General Meeting this week.
“There was a lot of constructive conversation with school boards from across Alberta about issues that are impacting students in our classrooms,” said Board Chair Karen Packard. “We also had the opportunity to hear from the Premier and Minister of Education and to ask questions about some of those issues.”
Trustees also connected with all three local MLAs - Minister of Energy and Minerals Brian Jean, Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul MLA Scott Cyr, and Athabasca-Barrhead Westlock MLA Glenn van Dijken - as well as other MLAs and cabinet ministers at the MLA’s Breakfast held on Tuesday morning.
“Anytime that we are able to build relationships with provincial decision-makers it is valuable in the work we do to advocate for our students,” said Packard.
ASBA member boards approved six position statements at the fall general meeting that will form part of the provincial association’s advocacy work moving forward.
“We were happy to see the support for the removal of the reserve cap, which is impeding our ability to make decisions at the local level that directly impact our students and communities,” explained Packard.
Currently there are tight restrictions on how much money boards can have in their operating and capital reserves, and expenditures or transfers between reserves have to be approved by Alberta Education. In the case of NLPS, this has reduced the Board’s flexibility to address emergent issues and plan for the future.
The Board also supported position statements that call on the government to review the efficacy of provincial diploma exams, and remove barriers to dual credit opportunities for high school students.
“Dual credit programs provide some amazing opportunities for our high school students, but there are challenges for schools to be able to provide them, and for students to be able to access them,” explained Packard. “The resolution asks for the removal of some of the red tape that is creating barriers and for changes to funding to support the development and continuation of these programs.”
More information about the ASBA position statements is available on the association’s website: asba.ab.ca More information about NLPS Board Advocacy Priorities is available on the division’s website: nlpsab.ca