Rory J. Koopmans, B. Admin., Ward A, Edmonton Public School Trustee Candidate, Woodcroft (Westmount) Public Library Terminal #XV, Edmonton, Alberta
June Vth, MMX
Hon. David G. Hancock, QC, MLA, Minister of Education, Progressive Conservative, Edmonton-Whitemud
I just attended the West-Central Plenary Session for Edmonton Public Schools at Ross Sheppard High School. I left the meeting realizing that governments are in a tight spot & that both the old Public Board & the newly elected Board to be sworn in on October XIXth, MMX will be damned if they do & don't. The prospectus I see from you that Alberta Education is taking even more taxing & special powers away from the Trustees. Really not advisable when I & many others have suggested II you in emails and by face that you give Trustees their power back. If you think the Alberta Health Services Superboard under your buddy Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky is even doing a subpar job, you are dreaming in technicolor.
I. When schools die, a community dies. That sense of community is being robbed not just in Edmonton Puiblic, but in districts all over the Province where you are failing to meet infrastructure & child needs. Forcing Chairman Don Fleming & other Boards to dig into regular reserves, emergency funds, and in certain circumstances take on bank loans and other debts just to keep their schools at an even keel with the newer (& richer) suburbia schools.
II. Parents are dreading the fight with one another because if one school closes & its the school of their best friend & neighbour, then family, friendships and trust bonds get destroyed. Plus the parents know that they'll eventually have their school on the chopping block again when funds are cut. They'll have to then then have II dig even deeper & fight harder II save that school. Which might all be for naught as budgets must be met.
III. Trustees have zero power. I have noticed this since time immemorial when Halvar C. Jonson took away Trustee taxing power & Lyle Oberg made it so plebiscites could only take place in election years II raise extra contingency funds. Well this makes zero sense. It means that the Board who initiated the fundraiser plebiscite can't get a chance II show it can spend the extra dollars wisely. It falls to the new board. This is not only unjust, its quite frankly democracy derailed!
IV. Truck kids into older schools by bus. Why build new schools when the facility's in place just need standardized structural repairs? And then are serviceable as solid infrastructure for another 50-100 plus years. Arguably, retaining walls and materials in older schools are built with much sturdier & longer lasting materials. Lets take advantage of that diligent construction David!
The children of suburbia are not the only future. There are poorer, immigrant family's and family's who live in the outskirts who have a strong faith in the system. Seems to me that if all Edmonton Public & Edmonton Catholic Schools were converted into multi use facility's in which Muslim's, Hindu's, Jews or any group could join, a lot less schools would have to close.
Source: Ross Sheppard High School.