Tag: advocacy

Board Votes Unanimously in Favor of School Advocacy Plan

Today was our first 2014 EPSB Board Meeting and I have much good news to share. First of all I am greatly honored by my trustee colleagues for re-electing me as EPSB Vice-Chair. I’m excited by the opportunity to serve the board once again in this capacity and support Sarah Hoffman as she serves as the Re-elected Board Chair.
The second piece of pride for me at this meeting was that our board voted UNANIMOUSLY in support of steps that our board will take to advocate for new schools that our communities badly need. School space issues are by far one of the biggest pressures on our district and our city — the fastest growing city in Alberta.
As trustees we need to make sure that we explain to our community the steps we have taken as a board and how we are doing everything within our power. We also need to engage with our community and ensure that we are speaking in stereo in our new school advocacy.
The board spoke unanimously: we want to work together with all other elected officials (our MLAs and City Councillors) to clearly communicate the space needs of current and future Edmonton Public Students. We are all in this together!
 Carried Unanimously:

That the Edmonton Public School Board:

a)  Share a copy of the 2015-2018 Three-Year Capital Plan with each Edmonton memberof the Legislative Assembly, the three Progressive Conservative Party leadership candidates and Edmonton City Council.

b)  Request to meet in person with them to develop a strategy to support them in their advocacy for Edmonton’s urgent school space and transportation needs for Edmonton children.

c)  Urge them to provide a timeline for construction and immediately prioritize the construction of new schools for Edmonton in accordance with the District’s Three- Year Capital Plan Year One priorities:

    1. K-6 Windermere Estates
    2. K-9 The Grange (Glastonbury or Granville)
    3. K-9 Heritage Valley (Allard or Chappelle)
    4. K-9 Ellerslie/The Orchards
    5. Mature Neighbourhood Replacement school as determined by the Infrastructure Strategy
    6. K-6 Meadows (Laurel)
    7. K-9 South East (Walker)
    8. K-9 Lewis Farms (Secord)
    9. K-9 Heritage Valley (Allard or Chappelle)
    10. Mill Creek School Replacement/Modernization

d) Provide an update to them on the announced 2016 modernization and construction projects and urge their support in expediting this work.

e) Urge the Government to work with school boards to create a clear and transparent process for the awarding of capital projects and new schools. 


Supporting documentation from EPSB.ca:


On May 2, 2013, the Government of Alberta announced funding for two new district schools through theBuilding Alberta’s School Construction Program. On February 10, 2014, funding for three additional school projects was announced, including two new schools and an expansion to Lillian Osborne School.

All five projects were submitted as new construction priorities in the Three-Year Capital Plan 2014-2017.

The new schools are:


On January 21, 2014, the Government of Alberta announced funding for four school modernization projects and a replacement school for Edmonton Public Schools. These projects were submitted as modernization priorities in the Three-Year Capital Plan 2014-2017.

The modernization projects will be for the following schools:


On June 24, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved Superintendent Robertson’s recommendation to build a new replacement school in the Greater Lawton area on the Rundle site. Read more about the replacement school project, including features of the replacement school.

What will happen after the school closure Moratorium expires?

How do we support public education in mature neighbourhoods? Today, and 20 years from now?

As former Trustee Sue Huff asked on her blog, if the outcome is school closure, is there ever a process that the community will support?

Here is a copy of the administration recommendation that passed unanimously this evening.


That after the Board articulates a set of principles to guide capital and accommodation 

planning, the Administration develop and implement a District infrastructure strategy

that identifies timelines and goals to provide high quality learning opportunities, respond

to community needs, address the deferred maintenance deficit, and right size district

space to efficiently meet short-term and long-term needs. That this recommendation replaces the motions approved on March 13, April 10, and September 11 2012.

This effectively means that no school closure recommendation will be coming forward from the administration in the 2012-2013 school year and instead the district will shift their attention to developing a long-term plan that they can bring back to the board in the new year.

I’ll post more thoughts on this at a later time, but right now I would urge you to check out the moratorium committee reports, the work the board has been doing in this area, and my previous writings on this subject. You can click here or search by tags on the right hand side of the page.

Community Gathering to strategize about schools in mature neighbourhoods: http://www.michaeljanz.ca/2011/04/ward-gathering-recap-celebrating-our-communities-and-our-neighbourhood-schools/

Are School Trustees Urban Planners? – http://www.michaeljanz.ca/2012/02/are-school-trustees-urban-planners/

To fully examine the work we are doing to try and support schools, and our growing infrastructure pressures,  please take a few minutes and read the research done through our school closure moratorium committee process. To see the information reports on the causes of closures, check out presentations on:

By administration numbers, our infrastructure costs outpace our revenues by $34.4 Million. Those costs are then paid for out of our operational budget (classroom dollars.) In some cases, there are very good reasons to do this (For example, keeping a small school open serving a high-needs population, or maintaining our commitment to choice in an area with limited educational opportunities.)

Plant Operation and Maintenance

Annual revenue $66.0 million & IMR funding $14.5 = Total $80.5 Million

2010/11 audited costs

Custodial $37.9 + Maintenance $25.2 +Utilities $24.3 + IMR 12.3 + Facilities Admin $9.6 + Amortization $5.0 = Total $114.3 Million

Advocating to our Ward F MLAs

In the calm after the storm, you and your parent council might need to update your advocacy contact list for the MLAs who overlap our schools. In your relationship building, here are a few ways to connect with the new MLAs for our ward. (Thanks to Daveberta for the contact info)

We also look forward to working with our new Minister of Education Jeff Johnson. Exciting times ahead!

Edmonton-Riverview Incumbent: Kevin Taft (LIB)

PCSteve Young (FacebookTwitter)

Edmonton-Strathcona Incumbent: Rachel Notley (NDP)

NDPRachel Notley (FacebookTwitter)

Edmonton-Whitemud Incumbent: Dave Hancock (PC)

PCDave Hancock (FacebookFlickrTwitterYouTube)

Edmonton-Centre Incumbent: Laurie Blakeman (LIB)

LIBLaurie Blakeman (FacebookTwitterYouTube)

The EPSB Foundation

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to sit down with Sandra Woitas who is the Executive Director of the EPSB Foundation. Sandra has devoted many years to public education, community service and volunteerism in the Edmonton Community and was also named one of the Edmontonians of the Century.

I’ll admit that in a perfect world, I wish we didn’t need to have a foundation. I wish that we had a fully-funded public education system and that our government invested in early learning, especially for the highest risk populations who need it the most. But they don’t, so that’s where the Foundation comes in.

The foundation is working hard to try and deliver full-day kindergarten in 15 different Edmonton schools. This goal was established by the foundations board of directors.

The Foundation hosts info lunches every couple of weeks, completely open to the public– You are invited! They also host a major fundraising event in May, the “Ready For Life Breakfast.”

In addition to raising valuable dollars for some of the most needy kindergartens in Edmonton, The Foundation plays an amazing friend-raising role for Edmonton public. Their advocacy for the importance in investing in early learning and kindergarten programs helps reach out to many sectors and raise awareness for the importance of public education, especially to those without school-age children who might not have been in an Edmonton Public Facility for a few years!

So don’t be shy and don’t worry, you can come to a foundation event with no obligation to give! It’s an exciting organization supporting a very important cause.

Follow them on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/#!/EPSFoundation

To learn more about the foundation: www.epsb.ca/foundation

3rd annual Ready for Life fundraising breakfast While enjoying a breakfast made by students, you can learn more about the Foundation from students, staff and community members directly involved. Please note that breakfast is free, but we will ask our guests to consider making a contribution.

When:  Thursday, May 24, 2012; 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Where:  Ross Sheppard School; 13546 – 111 Avenue

Contact us to register.

EPSB Advocacy Priorities & Public Education Forum


(1 Kingsway Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5H 4G9 (Edmonton Public School Board Offices))

On April 4 our school board is hosting an Education Forum with representatives from all political parties. Lesley Macdonald will moderate the evening, and I encourage you to attend and bring a friend!

Whether or not you are able to attend, you can submit questions for the forum by visiting: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/J592QHW To attend, register by March 30: http://www.epsbeducationforum.eventbrite.ca If unable to attend personally, you can view the webcast of the forum at: http://www.livestream.com”/edmontonpublicschools

It’s looking like it could be one of the most competitive races Alberta has seen in a long, long time.

So when the candidates come to knocking on your door, ask their opinion on some of these important issues.

Our four key advocacy priorities for the election period are:

1)      Adequate, sustainable, predictable funding for public education —  In terms of predictability, the recent three-year commitment by the Province is a great start.  Meeting the needs of all students continues to be complex, challenging, and rewarding work.  It requires, however, enough funding to build staff capacity and supply the supports and resources needed in the classroom to meet the varying needs of students (from gifted and talented students to FNMI students to English Language Learners to special education students, etc.).

2)      Funding for public education needs to be viewed an investment, not an expense — investing today will lead Alberta to greater prosperity in the future. It will also reduce crime and unemployment in the future.

3)      More flexibility in both infrastructure funding and formulas is needed – this would enable us to create meaningful long-term partnerships  and better allow our schools to operate as community hubs.

4)      Mandated Half-Day Kindergarten for all students AND fully funded Full-Day Kindergarten for students with socio-economic vulnerabilities  — because early learning is critical to students’ lifelong success and we want to ensure all kids are “ready to learn” when they hit Grade 1.