By J.W. Schnarr
Education Minister David Eggen has announced the new Education Act would be delayed a year for consideration. And while the delay itself is not much of an issue for Horizon School Division, any substantial changes made by the Notley government could cause issues with the board’s transportation policy, among others.
“All the new regulations that we’ve been working on for the last three years, the provincial regulations are also delayed by a year,” said school superintendent Wilco Tymensen.
“They are going to take a look, and slow down, and make sure (those regulations) align with NDP values,” he said.
One of the dilemmas caused by the delay is that the board has been working on revising their transportation policy, which would come into alignment with the new Education Act.
A change in the Act now could impact the policy further.
“That puts a wrench in our plans for our own policy,” said Tymensen. “We’ve been looking at policies for transportation and 15 other big areas. But transportation is the big one involving parents.”
That transportation policy was tentatively slated to be revisited in the fall, but that date may have to be moved back until spring or later, depending on when the province comes back with their Act.
In 2015, the board has been combing their policies and updating or changing them to ensure they were going to be in alignment with the Education Act when it was officially released. Tymensen said while the delay may not cause issues with those revised policies, any substantial changes to the act could result in policies needing to be aligned once again.
“The bigger concern will be if they end up making significant changed in the Education Act and the regulations,” he said. “That will mean we will have to revisit all of those policies and update them to be in alignment with the new regulations. The delay isn’t going to be a significant issue… changes will put a lot more work on our plate.”
Tymensen said it is difficult to select one particular area he hopes to see changes within the act, citing the current success of Alberta schools.
“If we have one of the highest educational systems, and our kids are performing near the highest in the world, we want to make sure we maintain that.”