Flooded school scheduled for reopening

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After experiencing a major flood in July, Prince of Peace Lutheran School will reopen to students Sept. 17, according to Rocky View Schools (RVS) Superintendent of Business Operations Larry Paul.

The flood caused damage to 95 per cent of the school, according to Paul. Trustees voted Aug. 14  to approve a plan to temporarily house the approximately 460 students from Prince of Peace at Holy Redeemer School in Calgary, until repairs to the school could be completed.

Paul updated the RVS Board of Trustees at its regular meeting Sept. 11.

“I have heard back from the insurance company investigation team. They’ve determined that the break in the line was due to a tightening rod that had corroded,” he said. “They put a different pipe in there to address that problem.”

Paul said another fault in the waterline was found in the course of making repairs to the school and this has also been corrected.

RVS does not own the school building, Paul said – it is leased from Sage Properties, which was responsible for the necessary repairs and clean-up. The cost to RVS is still being determined, he added, as a response from the insurance company regarding the division’s business interruption insurance has not yet been received.

School fees

Vice Chair Fiona GIlbert, sitting in for absent Board Chair Todd Brand, said the division had received a letter in August from the Minister of Education David Eggan approving its school and transportation fees for 2018-19.

Trustees approved a five per cent increase to transportation fees at the May 17 RVS meeting.

The increase came after trustees approved a plan April 12 that the division said will save $1.05 million in its transportation budget. Through extensive consultation with parents and schools, RVS addressed the budget shortfall by picking up urban students to fill rural buses, changing the length of cul-de-sac a bus will enter from greater than 400 metres (m) to greater than 800 m and adjusting bell times while maintaining early dismissal on Fridays.

RVS said it found itself with a significant transportation deficit as a result of the provincial government’s introduction of a bill in 2017, which prevents school divisions from charging transportation fees to students living more than 2.4 kilometres (km) from their designated school. Other factors impacting the transportation budget include flat increases in grant funding from the government for transportation and increased operational costs due to the provincial carbon levy.

Fees per student who live less than 2.4 kms from their designated schools or who attend a school other than their designated school will be set at $294 per year, up from $280 in 2017-18. The maximum a family will pay is set at $588 per year.

Non-resident fees for students accessing a bus within RVS will increase to $472 per year from $450. Students accessing a bus outside the RVS area will increase to $1,050 per year from $1,000.

School fees for optional courses, programs, activities or goods are set each year by the individual schools, within parameters set by the division and in accordance with its policies.

Bill 1: An Act to Reduce School Fees, passed by the Alberta Government in 2017, eliminated the fees schools could charge parents or guardians for instructional supplies and materials. For 2018-19, the fees schools within RVS could still charge increased by 12.8 per cent, from $9.4 million in 2017-18 to $10.6 million.

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