2021 School Board Elections
As in past years, election of PHSD’s Board Trustees has been conducted by elected authorities within the local jurisdiction. Trustee’s directed Administration to draft agreements requesting local municipalities conduct the 2021 PHSD Board election.
The Board appointed Treasurer Tracy Leigh as Returning Officer and Assistant Secretary-Treasurer Veronica Lindquist as Substitute Returning Officer for Pembina Hills School Division.
Advance voting will be available subject to the provision that the municipality holds an advance vote; should the municipality not hold an advance vote; no advance vote will be held for PHSD.
As the Local Authorities Election Act makes provision for an elected authority to provide voting for “Incapacitated Electors at Home” and “Institutional Vote”, Trustees authorized the Returning Officer to conduct voting stations for both Incapacitated electors as well as Institutional voters, subject to municipality provisions.
Special Ballots, primarily used for electors who are physically incapacitated, studying, or working away from their ordinary residence or vacationing; will be provided, subject to municipal availability.
Canada Safe Return to School Funding
Pembina Hills received $3,216,350 of the Canada Safe Return to School Funding provided by the Federal Government.
• $1,200,000 of this was directed to support the increased costs for delivering online services to students, due to the pandemic.
• The remaining balance of $2,016,350 was allocated to Co-op Pool, Facilities, Transportation and Vista Virtual by Board motion on October 28, 2020.
Request Approved To Access Reserves
The board had submitted a request to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange in Oct. 2020, seeking approval to use $1.7 million in reserves. The funds were requested to cover the additional costs due to increase enrolment in the online program with Vista Virtual School. Treasurer Tracy Leigh reported that this request has been approved.
Trustees Advocate For School Bus Speed Limit Changes
The board had submitted a letter to Transportation Minister Ric McIver in Feb. 2020 to request a meeting to discuss changes to the speed limits for school buses. The current regulations direct school buses to travel at a maximum of 90 km/hr or the posted speed limit, whichever is lower. The board would like to change this direction to allow school buses to travel at the posted speed limit. This change is supported by local data, feedback from bus drivers, division administration, and other school divisions in Alberta.
As they have not yet received a response, Trustees submitted a follow-up letter on February 4, 2021. Trustees will also reach out to the Minister and local MLAs by phone.
The next school board meeting is at the Regional Office on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, starting at 9:00 a.m. Members of the public are invited to view a livestream of the meeting on the Pembina Hills School Division website.
Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette