Board Votes To Review Viability Of Lakedell And Pipestone Schools

Pipestone Flyer

    On September 24, 2013, the Board of Trustees of Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools made the difficult decision to undertake a review of education programs and school viability at Lakedell and Pipestone schools as part of the Board’s mandate to provide quality education programs and services to students.        

    The Board has been involved in a public consultation process since 2008. As part of that process, a comprehensive review of all educational facilities in the Division was undertaken by the Board in 2009. The intent of that review was to create educational spaces that are sustainable, given reductions in educational funding from the Government of Alberta due to declining student enrollment and increasing costs.

    Declining student enrolment within the school division and at Lakedell and Pipestone schools since 1995 has impacted the quality of education and the financial realities of the school division. The Board believes it must undertake a review of education programs and school viability as part of its mandate to provide a consistent level of programming and services that benefits students and improves their learning.

    The vote to undertake a review means that the Board has agreed to gather information over the next five (5) months about both the positive and negative impacts of Lakedell and Pipestone schools remaining open or closing. This includes potential impacts on such important stakeholder groups as students, parents, staff and communities.

    “The Board understands that this is a very difficult and emotional conversation to have,” said Dr. Terry Pearson, Superintendent of Schools. “It is important to discuss with the communities the impact low student enrollment has on the quality of education and the financial realities of the division. The Board believes it must sit together with parents and community members to discuss this issue,” stated Pearson.

    Should the decision be to close the schools, students would be directed to attend Falun Elementary School. The Minister of Education has committed to providing modular classrooms at Falun to accommodate the increased student enrollment.

    A public meeting will be held at the Lakedell School on February 12, 2014 and on February 19, 2014 at Pipestone School. The meetings will begin at 7:00 p.m.

    After all input and information gathered has been reviewed, the Board will vote on March 25, 2014 to either keep Lakedell and Pipestone schools open or close them effective June 30, 2014.