The Golden Hills School Division (GHSD) #75 once again held information meetings in the four schools in East Wheatland being affected by declining enrollment. The only difference this go around from previous meetings is they are looking for parental support from the communities for their proposed consolidated school at a specific location that was passed by the GHSD board earlier.
The proposed site for the 450 student capacity school is located on the south east corner of highways 840 and 561, just north of the AVB greenhouses. Superintendent Bevan Daverne gave a positive public relations power point presentation to the four communities touting the wonderful opportunities and benefits that this consolidated school would have.
“This location is the best compromise,” stated Daverne.
At the Standard meeting residents were still very concerned about the now chosen location, stating that the land use, water and sewage (septic field) will not work in the proposed location. While Daverne tried to answer questions from the floor, there are still many factors that need to be resolved before the government will pump the amount of money needed to fund this large of a project.
Daverne stated that the previous working group, who met from December 2011 through March 2012 (and who had equal representation from all four communities), came to the conclusion that a consolidated school was the only way to go.
Where the school will be located is a big deal. Parents were more supportive of a stand-alone school because they felt it could be a shared school for their community – not a school in another town. Sheri Skibsted, who currently has her two girls attending Standard school in Grades 7 and 9, stated “currently parents who have children in Rockyford, Hussar, Gleichen and Standard in the K-6 grades take 100 per cent ownership of their schools. However once their children hit Grades 7-12 and attend Standard school the feeling of ownership diminishes from parents of the other three communities.”
The new consolidated school would cause all communities to take 100 per cent ownership and be equally partnered in their childrens education.”
GHSD is looking for parents of East Wheatland who have children attending schools in these communities to give them feedback, which they are looking to present as part of their capital plan to the government. There is still plenty of work to be done before this can happen. GHSD is planning to apply to the County for monies (hoping for the $1.68M that is held in the reserve fund).
At the end of the meeting in Standard a question came from the floor asking Daverne “If this proposed location falls through what is Plan B?” His reply was, “If the proposal doesn’t go through (and the GHSD Board says this is the best shot). We will do the best we can with the existing schools in each community. We (the GHSD) are very eager to hear back from as many parents as possible asking the huge question “Is this something that you (parents) can support?”