By Cole Parkinson
With elections a year away, the Horizon School Division board of trustees have made minor adjustments to their ward boundaries in advance of the December cutoff date.
The board has been discussing the changes for the past several months and during their Oct. 26 meeting, they were updated once again. At their September board meeting, the board carried first reading of Policy — BE Wards.
“The question that came up was specifically around the Etzikom Coulee area and whether or not the attendance boundary is the Etzikom Coulee or the Wrentham highway,” explained Wilco Tymensen, superintendent of schools. “In our system, we have to have one. You can’t have an overlapping attendance boundary.”
Additionally, board members were reminded of the process when Wrentham School was closed and the board at that time provided an option for families with students to attend Warner School or Taber schools.
“At that time, it was probably close to 50/50, I don’t have the numbers, but in conversations with the board in the past, it was evenly split. Since that time, it fluc- tuates year to year in terms of where those individuals are,” continued Tymensen.
In the area around the Etzikom Coulee and Wrentham Highway, there are nine students with eight going to Taber schools and one going to Warner.
“Ultimately, the question is — do you set the boundary at the Wrentham highway? (Highway 61) Those individuals that are south, (the board) have an option of saying you have to drive into the Taber boundary to get picked up as per policy, or do you make a grandfather exception for those eight individuals? Or do you say the boundary is actually the Etzikom Coulee and you have one person who lives north of it, and you either grandfather that individual and say we will continue to pick them up or do you expect them to drive into this boundary? You have a number of options to explore. You can continue to say all individuals in that area are continued to be grandfathered,” added Tymensen.
As far as the policy itself, Tymensen stated there were no other changes in the policy from the prior board meeting.
Second and third readings of the policy were carried unanimously.
There was also a few other minor changes within the boundary structure.
“This is not the only change. There is a skinnier corridor that has historically been in Marie’s Logan (Ward 1) and that is being subdivided into Taber and Vauxhall. There is the Grassy Lake area where it was not in alignment between Grassy Lake and Taber. There was also, on the south side of the Warner area where the boundary was actually further north,” said Tymensen. “All of the ward boundaries are coterminous with the school attendance boundaries. There is about five locations where the change was. We shared those and there was no conversation or concern around them, except for this one.”