Black Gold School Division
Black Gold School Division’s (BGSD) Board of Trustees values the importance of building and maintaining relationships with partners and key stakeholders within our communities, with municipalities, and the provincial and federal governments. Our trustees advocate for educational funding and regulatory matters to ensure Black Gold students have the same opportunities, levels of service, support and quality of learning as all Alberta students.
The BGSD Board of Trustees is pleased to share its advocacy priorities as we seek solutions to the various challenges faced by our division.
With the provincial election coming up on May 29, 2023, your Board of Trustees believes that government has a responsibility to continually improve Alberta’s K–12 public education system. We encourage you to each out to your electoral candidates via social media, email, letters and/or in-person to find out how they will support:
Through the funding and assurance framework, the Black Gold School Division (BGSD) prioritizes fiscal prudence.
Weighted Moving Average (WMA) – While BGSD appreciates the predictability of funding with the WMA, it does not fully fund student enrolment growth because the number of funded students is always less than the actual number of students in the school system. As WMA funding allocations are partially based on enrolment from previous years, we are always lagging behind when trying to meet the needs of current students.
The Alberta Government needs to fund school authorities based on the number of students as measured in the fall of each year, to help boards match the number of students with the number of teachers, support staff, and other resources necessary to support student success.
Access to Grant Funding – While BGSD appreciates the additional grants and targeted funding provided by the Province, application processes can be difficult for the smaller school boards, especially those with limited staff capacity. In addition, potential approvals for grant funding take place later in the school year, which limits the ability of school boards to plan and hire in advance.
The Alberta Government must provide access to grant funding before the start of the school year to allow for appropriate planning for student programming and resourcing.
Reserves – The Division ensures transparency to the public for dollars spent in addressing the needs of students. Accumulating and maintaining an operating surplus or reserves would allow for the mitigation of potential emergencies. Reducing red tape, such as reserve requests, supports local school board autonomy.
ASK YOUR CANDIDATE: Should your party form government, how will you ensure that annual funding meets the needs of a growing school community and the School Division’s ability to address unforeseen events.
Capital planning is a priority for the Black Gold School Division (BGSD) to address the need for new schools, and to replace aging modulars and other school infrastructure to address space utilization and student enrolment challenges.
In our 2024-2027 Capital Plan, we requested a new 1,000 student capacity high school for Beaumont, and the renovation and modernization of Ecole Corinthia Park School and East Elementary School in Leduc, and Robina Baker School in Devon.
The Alberta Government must include school boards in any consultation on the capital planning process to ensure equity in funding and provide for adequate and appropriate learning spaces for students.
Operations and maintenance funding should be adjusted to ensure that the real costs are met. Also, any adjustments to operations and maintenance funding should be considered in consultation with our school board.
ASK YOUR CANDIDATE: How will you work to ensure that schools are built or replaced in a timely fashion and that funding adequately meets the needs to keep schools operating?
Student Wellbeing – The Black Gold School Division has a duty to support students’ physical and mental health needs, which can be complex and require the services of other professionals, such as counsellors, psychologists, occupational and/or physical therapists.
Cross-ministerial support at the provincial level would ensure students’ mental and physical health needs are supported, including the recommendations of the Child and Youth Well-being Review. We believe it is also critical to properly fund the community-based social service agencies that assist schools to provide the wraparound services to students and families.
ASK YOUR CANDIDATE: How will you ensure that community-based social service agencies that partner with schools to provide the wraparound services to students and families receive equitable and sustainable funding?
Transportation – Student transportation continues to be a priority for the Black Gold School Division with rising costs, inflation, and the challenges caused by shortages of school bus drivers.
The Division is facing increasing transportation costs, particularly due to increases in fuel, wages and insurance. We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss solutions to alleviate pressures and ensure fair and equitable funding for student transportation, and to discuss solutions to alleviate staffing challenges.
ASK YOUR CANDIDATE: Should your party form government, how will you work to create a more affordable and equitable student bus transportation system for Alberta families?
Download/print the 2023 Election: K-12 Education Priorities brochure (PDF)
On November 22, 2021, the Board of Trustees, together with seven other school boards, penned a joint letter to the ministers of Education, Finance, and Transportation expressing urgent concerns regarding the serious challenges facing our contract bus operators (CBOs) in trying to secure reasonable insurance coverage, and requesting that this urgent matter be taken into consideration when determining the 2022-2023 Alberta Education Transportation funding model, as school boards cannot sustain the continued use of reserves to support CBO insurance premium increases. Read the letter.
On February 9, 2021, the Board of Trustees wrote to the ministers of Education and Transport urging them to take action to ensure a viable and sustainable insurance system is in place so that small contract bus operators can access affordable insurance, which in turn will allow students to access safe transportation and equitable access to K-12 education to help support Alberta’s economic recovery. Read the Letter.
On November 23, 2020, the Board of Trustees wrote to the Minister of Education requesting that the curriculum review process be transparent and include content that was delivered through the original development process in 2013, of which Black Gold School Division was a part of. Read the letter.
On October 28, 2020, the Board of Trustees wrote to the Minister of Education, Minister of Infrastructure, and Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation to advocate for the inclusion of increased structural integrity in the plans for the gymnasium roofs of the new schools being built as part of the P3 SB2 bundle, in order to support the possible future installation of solar panels. Read the letter.
On October 22, 2020, the Board of Trustees send a letter to the City of Leduc requesting that the number of school resource officers be increased in the City of Leduc. The Board proposed that the City add another RCMP or a Peace Officer as an additional resource to the school community. Read the letter.
On October 22, 2020, the Board of Trustees sent a letter to Leduc County requesting the reinstatement of an RCMP officer to the School Resource Officer position to serve the schools and communities of New Sarepta, Calmar, Thorsby and Warburg. Read the letter.
On October 22, 2020, the Board of Trustees sent a letter to the Town of Thorsby, asking Council to consider contributing to the costs of the proposed School Resource Officer position to serve the schools and communities of Thorsby, Warburg, New Sarepta and Calmar, should Leduc County agree to reinstate the RCMP SRO. Read the letter.
On October 22, 2020, the Board of Trustees sent a letter to the Village of Warburg, asking Council to consider contributing to the costs of the proposed School Resource Officer position to serve the schools and communities of Warburg, Thorsby, New Sarepta and Calmar, should Leduc County agree to reinstate the RCMP SRO. Read the letter.
On October 22, 2020, the Board of Trustees sent a letter to the Town of Calmar, asking Council to consider contributing to the costs of the proposed School Resource Officer position to serve the schools and communities of Calmar, New Sarepta, Thorsby and Warburg, should Leduc County agree to reinstate the RCMP SRO. Read the letter.
On October 21, 2020, the Board sent a letter to the Minister of Education requesting that Alberta Education base the WMA calculation for 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years on an amended formula that uses the 2020-2021 projected enrollment numbers, rather than the September 30, 2020, actual numbers. This way, school divisions will not experience significant shortfalls in their upcoming budgets, so that they can continue to provide all Alberta students with a world-class, high quality education. Read the letter.
On October 20, 2020, the Board of Trustees sent a letter to the Minister of Education, urging her to implement much-needed changes to the new Alberta Education Special Education Early Childhood Services Program Unit Funding (PUF) model to mitigate serious unintended consequences that are causing the program to fail the vulnerable children it is designed to support. Read the letter.