Willow Park School


  • 2023 Election: K-12 Education Priorities

    Posted on    Posted in BGSD, Black Gold School Division, Board, General

    Downloadable/printable PDF brochure

    One of the main roles of the Black Gold School Division’s (BGSD) Board of Trustees is to advocate for educational funding and regulatory matters to ensure Black Gold students have the same opportunities, levels of service, support and quality of learning as all Alberta students.

    With the provincial election coming up on May 29, 2023, your trustees believe that the government has a responsibility to continually improve Alberta’s K–12 public education system. We encourage the members of our school communities to become informed voters, and to each out to their electoral candidates via social media, email, letters and/or in-person to find out how they will support:

    Funding for Students

    Through the funding and assurance framework, the Black Gold School Division (BGSD) prioritizes fiscal prudence.

    Weighted Moving Average (WMA) – While BGSD appreciates the predictability of funding with the WMA, it does not fully fund student enrolment growth because the number of funded students is always less than the actual number of students in the school system. As WMA funding allocations are partially based on enrolment from previous years, we are always lagging behind when trying to meet the needs of current students.

    The Alberta Government needs to fund school authorities based on the number of students as measured in the fall of each year, to help boards match the number of students with the number of teachers, support staff, and other resources necessary to support student success.

    Access to Grant Funding – While BGSD appreciates the additional grants and targeted funding provided by the Province, application processes can be difficult for the smaller school boards, especially those with limited staff capacity. In addition, potential approvals for grant funding take place later in the school year, which limits the ability of school boards to plan and hire in advance.

    The Alberta Government must provide access to grant funding before the start of the school year to allow for appropriate planning for student programming and resourcing. 

    Reserves – The Division ensures transparency to the public for dollars spent in addressing the needs of students. Accumulating and maintaining an operating surplus or reserves would allow for the mitigation of potential emergencies. Reducing red tape, such as reserve requests, supports local school board autonomy.

    We encourage voters to ask their electoral candidates: Should your party form government, how will you ensure that annual funding meets the needs of a growing school community and the School Division’s ability to address unforeseen events.

    Spaces for Students

    Capital planning is a priority for the Division to address the need for new schools, and to replace aging modulars and other school infrastructure to address space utilization and student enrolment challenges.

    In our 2024-2027 Capital Plan, we requested a new 1,000 student capacity high school for Beaumont, and the renovation and modernization of Ecole Corinthia Park School and East Elementary School in Leduc, and Robina Baker School in Devon.

    We believe that the government must include school boards in any consultation on the capital planning process to ensure equity in funding and provide for adequate and appropriate learning spaces for students.

    Operations and maintenance funding should be adjusted to ensure that the real costs are met. Also, any adjustments to operations and maintenance funding should be considered in consultation with our school board.

    Ask your candidates: How will you work to ensure that schools are built or replaced in a timely fashion and that funding adequately meets the needs to keep schools operating?

    Support for Students

    The Black Gold School Division has a duty to support students’ physical and mental health needs, which can be complex and require the services of other professionals, such as counsellors, psychologists, occupational and/or physical therapists.

    Cross-ministerial support at the provincial level would ensure students’ mental and physical health needs are supported, including the recommendations of the Child and Youth Well-being Review. We believe it is also critical to properly fund the community-based social service agencies that assist schools to provide the wraparound services to students and families.

    Ask your candidates: How will you ensure that community-based social service agencies that partner with schools to provide the wraparound services to students and families receive equitable and sustainable funding?

    Transportation – Student transportation continues to be a priority for the Black Gold School Division with rising costs, inflation, and the challenges caused by shortages of school bus drivers. 

    The Division is facing increasing transportation costs, particularly due to increases in fuel, wages and insurance. We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss solutions to alleviate pressures and ensure fair and equitable funding for student transportation, and to discuss solutions to alleviate staffing challenges.

    Ask your candidates: Should your party form government, how will you work to create a more affordable and equitable student bus transportation system for Alberta families?

    Our Stories