Southwest Edmonton Needs New Public Elementary, Junior and High Schools

Southwest Edmonton Needs New Public Elementary, Junior and High Schools

Since I was first elected school trustee in 2010, advocating for the construction of new K-9 and High Schools— especially for the Southwest— has been a top priority.  However, the responsibility for allocating new schools falls solely in the hands of the Provincial Government — not the school board or the city council. This has been the case since 1994, and it is important for you to know the board of trustees are exhausting every single opportunity advocate for new schools, and to make sure public school families get their fair share. Edmonton Public school families are competing for their fair share of school construction money against not only against Calgary and other rural Alberta communities but publicly-funded Catholic and Francophone schools as well. Your voice can help.

We need your help:

First: Write to your school trustee. Your stories and letters put arrows in our quiver. Our Facts tell, but your stories sell our case for new schools. Second: Write to your MLA. Emails and written letters help amplify our presentations. They need to hear that Albertans believe new schools are a sensible investment in community and are a timely economic stimulus.

No new schools were built between 2002 and 2010

The opening of three new schools (two K–9s and one K–6) in the 2016–2017 school year and the scheduled opening of 11 new schools (seven K–9s, two K–7s, one K–6 and one 7–9) in the 2017–2018 school year have relieved some of the immediate enrolment pressures that resulted from no new school construction from 2002 to 2010, despite the rapid student population growth in new suburban areas that occurred during the same time.

We gladly share our data:

Our metrics are comprehensive. We prioritize our school requests for new construction and major additions based on a review of all land development plans, policies and data for the City of Edmonton, and analysis of pre-school and student residency data in suburban areas, including but not limited to: number of current students residing in an area and projected students, the historical pace of development and the amount of development remaining in an area, utilization of the schools that the majority of students residing in the area attend, average distance travelled by the students to their designated school, accommodation of alternative and special education programs, and partnerships, current state of development of the proposed site, new capacity represented by recently funded capital projects, and much more. You can read all about this by searching “Three Year Capital Plan” on epsb.ca

We’ve been asking for high schools for the last 5 years

A request for additional high school space has been made by the board in the previous last five capital plan submissions, not including this years’ draft submission. Focusing on attendance area high school enrolment and space, the High School Accommodation Framework 2016–2019 has concluded that additional capacity is needed now and in the near future to accommodate increasing high school student enrolment in the District. The District will need at least 8,000 additional spaces to accommodate these students, thus new high school requests require increased prioritization.

More spaces means more program choices

School space and program placement (especially high-demand programs such as French immersion or Mandarin Bilingual), School community renewal projects, new construction opportunities in developing areas, growth of alternative and special education programs, and efficient management of our existing resources is extremely complex. To continue to provide high quality learning environments and supports for students and community members, the District works closely with our partner organizations, where possible. A strong working relationship with our partners at the City of Edmonton has contributed to the initiatives in mature and developing communities. EPSB continues to look for additional opportunities to work with agencies and organizations that support students, their families and the broader community.

Want to learn more? Send me an email and I’ll buy you a coffee: michael@michaeljanz.ca

Michael Janz is Past EPSB Chair and the Trustee for Ward F. Visit his website at www.michaeljanz.ca