Two Hills Mennonite School will be getting a playground structure after qualifying for a $250,000 grant from the province.
“This is something we’ve been lobbying for for several years,” said Board Chair Heather Starosielski.
According to Starosielski while very welcome, the news of the grant was also unexpected because the board had been told in January the school did not meet the criteria for the grant.
“It appears that they have looked at some of the circumstances further and now they have changed their mind, and they now qualify under the education playground grant program,” said Starosielski.
Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville MLA Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk was quite vocal in advocating for the school and the need for a playground structure according to Div. C Trustee Ruven Rajoo.
Rajoo made a motion to send a thank you letter to Armstrong-Homeniuk and to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange. That motion carried.
“This is not the first time she [Armstrong-Homeniuk] has advocated specifically for Two Hills Mennonite School,” said Rajoo, recalling the efforts to see exterior concrete work at the site completed.
Principal for Two Hills Mennonite School Ryan Morey was also present at the meeting. He thanked all the board trustees for their work for the school over the years.
“It’s been a long, long haul,” said Morey. “We really appreciate this little cherry on top so to speak, to acknowledge the hardship that our students went through and help them get a playground set up is fantastic and so I just can’t express how grateful I am for all of your work for making that happen.”
The funds for the playground will be released in two stages, with some coming once the playground equipment is ordered and the remainder coming when the project is completed.
Graduations on hold indefinitely
According to St. Paul Education Superintendent Glen Brodziak, the division currently has no idea what is going to happen with regards to graduation ceremonies.
“We know that the rules are we cannot gather. Last year, most or all of our schools in some fashion or in some form recognized the achievements of our graduates and we would expect that to happen this year,” said Brodziak.
“Beyond that we just don’t know.”
Brodziak said there had been talk of doing a full graduation ceremony for the 2020 grads whose event was postponed, but in light of the ongoing pandemic and the COVID-19 vaccine not being expected to be widely available until late summer or early fall,
“We just don’t know where or when grad will be.”
Division to give rebate for in-town busing
There will be a rebate at the end of the school year for families who paid for in-town bus services for their children.
The rebate will cover days where buses did not run because of a mandated switch to at-home learning by the province.
School fees to be collected in February
The board of St. Paul Education voted to resume the normal collection of school fees in February, after having deferred collection earlier in the school year.
According to Secretary-Treasurer of the board Jean Champagne, the majority of school administrators in the division were in favour of resuming collection of school fees.
“Pretty much everyone mentioned adjusting the fees just because of some changes to the programs,” said Champagne.
Board Chair Heather Starosielski noted they would still have their normal waiver procedures in place for families who are unable to pay the fees.
Glen Avon Trustee Justin Anderson made a motion to resume the regular collection of school fees in February. The motion carried.