Chairs prep for new year
New names and new schools top of mind
By: Kevin Ma
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 15, 2012 06:00 am
St. Albert needs a new school, says the city’s new public board chair, and she hopes this will be the year the city gets it.
School is back in session and so are St. Albert’s school boards. The Greater St. Albert Catholic and St. Albert Public school boards picked new chairs this month to lead their districts into the new school year. Sturgeon School Division elects its chair next month.
Back for a third consecutive year as chair is Joan Trettler, who is heading up the public (formerly Protestant) board. Board members elected her at an organizational meeting last week.
“I think our district is going in the right direction,” and needed stability of leadership Trettler says, when asked why she let her name stand. Staffers have been busy redoing signs, stationery and brochures this fall to reflect the district’s new name and status as the public board.
The change has had little effect on students, Trettler says, as the district has always been largely non-denominational.
“It certainly will impact who’s eligible to run for the school board next election,” she added, as it will be open to all non-Catholics instead of just Protestants.
The board’s main focus this year will be to get a new school built in northeast St. Albert, Trettler says.
“Although we’re not growing dramatically, we really are out of space at the elementary level.”
The district has grown by about 200 students or two per cent this year, Trettler says, citing initial estimates, and has no facilities in the fast-growing regions of Erin Ridge and Oakmont.
“We need a school in that area for those children.”
This school has been on the board’s wish list for a long time, Trettler admits, but she’s optimistic this wish will be granted this year.
“The premier has promised that there will be new schools, and we obviously need one.”
The Catholic board gave former vice-chair Rosaleen McEvoy its top seat at a meeting in late August.
They might not be the public board anymore in St. Albert, McEvoy says, but it’s otherwise business as usual at the district’s schools.
“Our mission, vision, and values remain exactly the same,” she says, and they still welcome students of all faiths.
One of those schools no longer exists: the Catholic board turned Georges P. Vanier School over to the Sturgeon board this summer to set up that board as the public board in Morinville. Vanier’s students are now in portables attached to Notre Dame and Georges H. Primeau.
McEvoy said the board plans to “continue on as we always have in Morinville.”
Board members took Alberta Education Minister Jeff Johnson on a tour of those portables on Monday, McEvoy says.
“When you go in it, it’s just like being in a building. There’s no feeling of (being in) a modular or anything.”
She congratulated staff and volunteers for getting the new classrooms ready on time.
The Catholic board’s top priority this fall will be making sure that its students have the programs they need, McEvoy says.
Sturgeon School Division chair Terry Jewell was not available for an interview.
The Catholic and public boards next meet on Sept. 24 and 26, respectively.