Northern Lights School Division is proposing a few changes to Alberta’s Education Act. Nicole Garner, Communication Officer for the division, says now is the perfect opportunity for NLSD to display changes they believe would benefit their students, “it allows us to show what we think is best for students in our division.”
The proclamation for the proposed Education Act has been extended which means the board is able to reiterate what they stated with the former government, “now that there’s a new government in place, we want to make sure they are aware of our proposals,” explains Garner. The board will draft letters to be sent out with two main changes.
The first is the age of entrance into Kindergarten. Garner says the board believes the province is going towards a December 31st birthday cut-off as to the current March 1st cut-off. “The board has supported the December 31st change and we’re waiting for the province to mandate it, which they will support and want to display that.”
Another change the board hopes the province will make is the busing distance, currently the province pays for busing of in-town student who live more than 2.4 kilometres from school. Garner says the board hopes that’ll change to 1.6 kilometres. “For some of these kids they’re too young to be walking that far and in northern Alberta, in the winter that’s too far for any kid to walk.” Many of the division’s schools, like Bonnyville and Cold Lake, offer in town busing, however if a student lives within the 2.4 kilometre radius the parents are responsible for the busing fees. The cost ranges from $380 to $500 a year depending on the age/grade level of the student. For many parents the change would be a welcome relief.
The board is unsure when they will receive a response to their proposed changes, though they are hopeful it’s within the current school year.