WHEREAS the Province of Alberta is undertaking a complete rewrite of the School Act; and
WHEREAS the Province of Alberta is gathering public input into education; and
WHEREAS across the province, municipalities feel that locally elected school boards are an integral part of local governance;
WHEREAS local school boards can best deliver education services through increased authority with natural person powers;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC strongly support locally elected school boards and request the province ensure in the new education act that:
1. School boards have the authority to responsibly undertake local education priorities and
2. School boards are given natural person powers.
Approximately 30 days ago, Honourable David Hancock, Minister of Education, asked for input on revisions to the School Act. Minister Hancock went on to state that he would like to introduce a revised School Act in the spring session of the Legislature. As the spring session sits before the spring convention of the AAMDC, another opporunity for municipalities to support local school boards may not be available if this resolution is not dealt with at the fall convention.
School boards are an integral part of local governance and their co-operation with municipalities is essential to the future of our communities. Local school boards need to have the authority to undertake local educational priorities as they see fit. Part of that authority and responsibility lies with school boards having the ability to perform duties similar to those of a municipality through natural person powers. To allow the school boards more statutory flexibility and the opportunity to create new and innovative solutions to localized issues will help the education of our children reach new heights.
The County of Stettler strongly supports the school boards in their pursuit of natural person powers and urges the rest of the AAMDC membership to recognize and assist the important role school boards play in the strength and future of Alberta’s communities.
Resolution ER1-09F: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to preserve the Small Schools by Necessity Grant.
The last major revision of the School Act occurred in 1988 and reflected the policies that were the foundation of educational thinking at that time. Education has initiated a review of the School Act to determine whether it meets today’s needs and philosophies. The ministry has engaged Education staff, a broad cross-section of stakeholders and members of the public in consultation on a vision for education and the possible changes to the School Act to enable this vision.
The new legislation is intended to be an enabling, overarching framework for the broad governance structures of the education system. It is also expected to reflect the nature of the public interest in a strong education system and ensure that the rights, needs and expectations of individuals and groups are in balance with the rights, needs and expectations of society as a whole.
Education thanks the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties for its input into this exciting process of shaping the future of education in Alberta.
In April 2011, the Government of Alberta introduced Bill 18, the Education Act, aimed at enhancing student access to education and empower local school boards to be more responsive to the diverse learning needs of students and their communities. Further, the bill includes the granting of natural person powers to school boards. As the timeline for passing the Act spans until Fall 2011, the AAMDC will continue to monitor this initiative and accepts that the intent of this resolution is well on its way to being met.