The Board believes that parents have a right and a responsibility to make decisions about the education of their children. In order to exercise that right, parents need to have choices in the kind of education their children will receive.
The Board believes that alternative programs, pursuant to Section 21 of the School Act, that emphasize a particular language, culture, religion or subject-matter, or that uses a particular teaching philosophy should be made available where numbers warrant and when financially feasible.
The Board is committed to the belief that all students have right of access to quality education programs. Therefore, the Board is responsible for student outcomes, for assessing student achievement, and for monitoring results in all programs.
1. Parents or an organization of parents may request that the Board provide an alternative program.
2. The Board may provide an alternative program where numbers warrant subject to availability of classroom space, and rules established by the Board.
3. Where an alternative program is offered within a school, the Board shall maintain the integrity and viability of the regular education program.
4. The Board may restrict enrolment in the alternative program if there is insufficient space in a school, or to maintain the viability or integrity of programs within that school.
5. The Board may designate an alternative program to operate in a separate building or within a school building offering a regular program.
6. Alternative programs shall be under the direction of the principal of a school offering the regular program. However, he/she may assign a school administrative position with primary responsibility for the alternative program.
7. The Board may designate an alternative program to be an operating school. As such, parents of students attending the alternative program may form a school council pursuant to Section 22 of the School Act.
8. Where a school council has been formed for an alternative school program the Board may delegate by resolution, specific duties and functions to the school council. These same specific duties and functions may be delegated to other parental advisory bodies by Board motion.
9. All staff employed or assigned to teach or work in the alternative program shall be employees of the Board, and:
9.1 Enjoy the same privileges and benefits extended to all other employees through board policies and existing collective agreements; and
9.2 Shall be subject to all board policies, regulation, administrative requirements and requirements of the School Act and bona fide occupational requirements.
However, the Board shall seek the input of the school council, or other parental advisory body, regarding the employment and assignment of staff to an alternative program.
10. A school providing an alternative program shall provide courses of study and education programs prescribed by the Minister or approved by the Board and may not use any course, education program or instructional materials prohibited by the Minister or the Board. The principal, in consultation with the school council or other parental advisory body, shall be responsible for selecting curriculum resources to be used in the program.
11. A school offering an alternative program shall be operated in accordance with the requirements of the School Act, Alberta Learning policy and regulations, and the policies and regulations of the Board.
12. Parents of students wishing to enroll in an alternative program must become familiar with the program philosophy and rules established by the Board and the school council or other parental advisory body (as approved by the Board).
13. Budget allocations for an alternative school program shall be on the same per pupil basis as for any other school in the jurisdiction.
14. The Board may charge parents a fee for the purpose of defraying all or a portion of:
14.1 Any non-instructional costs that may be incurred by the Board in offering the alternative program; and
14.2 Any instructional material costs that are in addition to the costs incurred by the Board in providing its regular program.
15. The Board, school council or other advisory body (as approved by the Board) delegated decision making authority with respect to an alternative program, shall provide six months notice that it no longer plans to offer or support the alternative program. Notice of less than six months may be accepted by mutual agreement.
16. A school council or other advisory body (as approved by the Board) delegated decision making authority with respect to an alternative program may request a hearing before the Board to address concerns that cannot be resolved with the administration.
17. The Board may enter into a written agreement with a school council or other advisory body (as approved by the Board) regarding the provision of alternative programs.
18. An organization of parents wishing to implement an alternative program shall apply to the Board in writing no later than February 1st in the school year prior to the program commencement. The application shall provide:
18.1 Details about the proposed program;
18.2 Projected enrolments;
18.3 Information regarding services and resources being requested; and
18.4 Proposed arrangements for student accommodation and transportation.
19. The Board may enter into a written agreement with a school council or parent organization requesting an alternative program, and the agreement shall:
19.1 Outline specific details regarding the provision of the program and
19.2 Specify the areas of decision-making authority the Board delegates, by Board resolution, to the school council.
Reference: Section 21, 22, School Act