Edge School in Springbank has applied to partner with Rocky View Schools instead of the Grande Prairie School District.
In January, in response to the announcement of a partnership between Edge School and the Grande Prairie School District, RVS trustees raised concerns with the Province regarding the affect on local electors.
“An opportunity now exists to right the wrongs and also re-capture resident students,” said Superintendent of Schools Greg Bass.
“We have a unique opportunity to champion a new model of collaboration and innovation in the best interest of Alberta students. Operationally, I believe there is strong immediate and long-term potential to add value to the choices provided to parents and learning opportunities to our students.”
Trustees voted to approve a two-year pilot project taking on Edge School as an alternative school in RVS.
“We have no way to know if this is going to work until we take a stroll down this road,” said Trustee Helen Clease.
“A pilot gives us the opportunity to ensure our principles will be met. It is about students and providing choice for our students. We can accept it or we can force it to happen outside the division and in other boards like Grande Prairie. We are enhancing the public system by providing services for all of our students.
“I believe visionaries must be risk takers.”
Trustee Don Thomas agreed.
“The driving factor behind this is students and parents want choice,” he said.
“In the public system, we sometimes have a tendency to not recognize choice. There are reservations but I have a great deal of confidence and I feel this will be a strong partnership.”
Rocky View Schools has a successful public-private partnership with Prince of Peace School, he added.
The Edge School will continue to operate as a Grade 6-12 school with a projected 320 students under the agreement. The instructional fee that would be charged is the same in all RVS schools. Parents pay a program fee to offset the costs of program augmentation such as coaches, sports, therapists, nutritionists and trainers.
Trustee Bev LaPeare said the partnership between RVS and Edge School provides a phenomenal opportunity for students, but Trustee Bruce Pettigrew is concerned about the cost to parents.
“I don’t believe this is giving everyone equal access because it can be expensive,” he said.
“I will be supporting the motion but with some personal and philosophical reservations.”