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WRSD Trustees Discuss Future Options for Drayton Valley Schools

August 29

August 29, 2019

At the August 20, 2019 Wild Rose School Division Board meeting, trustees passed a motion to inform Alberta Education of a plan to explore future options regarding the number of WRSD schools in Drayton Valley. The motion was passed unanimously after Board discussion of the following information: 

  • Although H.W. Pickup School can continue to be used in the immediate future, yearly repairs and a permanent fix to the ongoing slab-movement issue may not be fiscally possible.
  • The portable classrooms at the Eldorado/DCS school building are getting close to their end of use.
  • Frank Maddock High School will soon be in need of modernization.
  • The new Evergreen replacement school is scheduled for completion by January, 2021 and although it is presently being built to open with a capacity for 250 students, it has been designed to be expandable to 400 students.
  • The WRSD overall school utilization rates in Drayton Valley are well below the government’s expectation of 90% or better. Our utilization rates will be even lower when the new Evergreen replacement school opens.

Factoring into the Board’s decision is the reality of declining enrollments and utilization rates across WRSD over the past several years. Our maintenance grant has been reduced each year as our student numbers decrease while the number and size of our school buildings has remained the same. This has resulted in ongoing unavoidable deficit spending in our Plant Operations & Maintenance department. A key solution to this problem is to reduce the number of school buildings in the division.  As such, trustees discussed the possibility of operating and maintaining fewer school buildings in Drayton Valley compared to the 5 school buildings we will have once the new Evergreen replacement school opens. 

The WRSD Board of Trustees values stakeholder feedback and consultation as an important part of this discussion and their decision making process. As such, this fall we will be initiating a process for stakeholder feedback on this matter. We are also requesting from the government a value management session that would include representatives from Alberta Education,  Alberta Infrastructure, WRSD, parents and local municipalities along with an architect and cost consultant. The value management session would provide the Board with various options for consideration and their related costs. Both the stakeholder feedback and value management results will be used by the Board to make the best possible decision for the students, staff and community of Drayton Valley.

Whatever the final decision turns out to be, WRSD is committed to ensuring all of our students and staff are able to work and learn in safe, welcoming environments that support 21st century learning. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Brad Volkman, Superintendent of Schools (403-845-3376).

Leave a comment:

Maureen Schwab said on August 29, 2019

My suggestion would be to close and remove the Eldorado School when other facilities are complete .

J Mcleod said on August 29, 2019

The reason your numbers are dropping are not necessary due to people leaving town. I used to work to St. Anthony and when evergreen closed they started opening up unused classrooms. When I left the whole school that was originally K-12 was reopened and back to full capacity. They didn’t fill it with catholic students, they are ones that were displaced. Wildrose have been losing money and students to the Catholic for years now. You guys have lost your minds if you think the people of this town are going to allow this to happen, you will hear them and they will not go down without a fight. When you do these consultations are you going to be up front and tell them where our declining student numbers are going, are you going to inform them that they have filled the Catholic schools so they won’t be crammed into what is left for schools in this town? What you are proposing is insanity.

Brad Volkman said on August 30, 2019

If we do end up with fewer school buildings in Drayton Valley, we will also need to modernize and expand the remaining schools so that students and staff do not feel crammed. We are working closely with Alberta Education to ensure our students and staff will have excellent learning facilities that are fully utilized in a fiscally responsible manner.

Sandy Babuik said on August 30, 2019

WRSD really needs to get The Max removed from the "teaching space" footprint on the Frank Maddock blueprints. That would make a big difference in the school utilization rate of FMHS.

Hanna Koss said on September 4, 2019

People arent leaving town they are transferring to the christian schools for better student to teacher ratios