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The unfolding journey – Transportation funding crisis to headline upcoming meeting with local MLAs

Grande Prairie, AB – It may be difficult to imagine an educational disadvantage in our communities, yet even the youngest students at Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWPSD) can tell stories of transportation disparity. This Friday, PWPSD trustees will bring their ongoing fight for equitable transportation funding to the table during a meeting with local MLAs Wayne Drysdale and Todd Loewen, and Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Minister of Energy and MLA for Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley.

Top of mind for trustees is the amount of time students are spending on school buses, in relation to students in larger centers.

"Imagine boarding a school bus in the dark prior to 7:00 a.m., to return home 10 hours later at 5:00 p.m. Now imagine doing that at six years of age," challenges PWPSD Board Chair Dana McIntosh. "That's a 10-hour day for a young child – longer than most adults'."

Like other school boards in Alberta, PWPSD receives funding from Alberta Education based on a one-size-fits-all transportation funding grid calculation that does not adequately take distance and rural population sparsity into account.

In the rural communities dotted throughout PWPSD's boundaries – stretching from Hythe in the west, north to Bonanza and Savanna, east to Ridgevalley, and south to Grovedale – most students have a single option for schooling. These students can spend up to three hours per day on a school bus as a result of Alberta Education's inequitable transportation grid formula.

"In attempting to maintain this less than adequate service for our rural students, we now have a transportation funding crisis on our hands that has snowballed to a combined $5 million deficit over the past 14 years," adds Ms. McIntosh. "During that time, we have lobbied Ministers and MLAs on the issue, to no avail. Now we are asking county and town councillors, parents and community members to speak out on behalf of our students."

"With a provincial election on the horizon, we believe this is a critical time for our communities to join us in the fight for equitable transportation funding. Our rural families can't continue to pay the price."

The Board has typically bridged the gap using funding from instructional grants. The combined 14-year deficit equates to 50 fewer teachers, 350,000 fewer books, or cuts to a lengthy list of programs that can make the difference for at-risk students. The data has been assembled into an infographic entitled The Unfolding Journey, available online at http://bit.ly/PWPSD-The-Unfolding-Journey.

Photo: The ongoing impact of Alberta Education underfunding has resulted a 14-year transportation deficit for PWPSD that has pulled a combined total of $5 million from classrooms. The data has been assembled into an infographic entitled The Unfolding Journey.  

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Sears, Angela12/5/2018 11:43 AM05 Dec, 2018
Tour the Trades event exposes students to future career paths

Three PWPSD high school students joined with students from the two other local districts for a 'Tour the Trades' event on Tuesday, December 4. During the tour, the group was exposed to potential work experience opportunities and future career paths at trades-based businesses in Grande Prairie. 


Trades featured on the tour are in high demand and provide opportunities for students to talk with tradespeople on the job and learn about the trades and the steps required for certification. Prior to the tours, students complete the Alberta Education Workplace Safety Systems HCS-3000 course.

Students began the full-day tour at the Aquatera Wastewater Treatment Plant, followed by a visit to Stahl Peterbilt Incorporated. Lastly, the group toured the Public Works Department at the County of Grande Prairie to learn about possible career opportunities.   

Students can complete a three-day job shadowing experience at one of the industry partners during the summer months, thanks to a partnership between CAREERS: The Next Generation and school-based off-campus coordinators.

Left-right: Isaac Snider, Grade 11, Peace Wapiti Academy; Jax Drader, Grade 10, Eaglesham School; and Melissa Peters, Grade 12, Peace Wapiti Academy pose in front of one of the sanding trucks at the County of Grande Prairie.

View more photos on the PWPSD Facebook page.

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Sears, Angela12/5/2018 9:16 AM05 Dec, 2018
PWPSD Board News – November 29, 2018

​For news from the Peace Wapiti Public School Division Board meeting held on November 29, 2018, read the latest edition of Board News at http://bit.ly/PWPSD-BN-Nov-29-18.

In this issue:

  • Audited financial statements approved
  • PWPSD fall budget update
  • Upcoming school trip plans reviewed
  • Policy Review Committee Report
  • Three-Year Education Plan and Annual Education Results Report
  • Horse Lake Representative Report
  • Board pens letter of support for 2022 Arctic Winter Games
  • Continued support for NW AB Skills Canada Competition
  • Committee and meeting reports
  • Upcoming events

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Sears, Angela12/3/2018 9:36 AM03 Dec, 2018