Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
On December 14th, Prairie Rose Public Schools held their monthly board meeting.
The items on the agenda included an emergent discussion on division wide mileage and meal rates, a field trip request for Irvine School, and the structure of two Board Commitees.
The meeting began with a presentation from Oyen Public School, where Principal Jason Duchscherer outlined academic programming, instructional strategies and facility improvements at Oyen Public School, including changes made in response to feedback received from students and the assurance survey data collected in the Spring of 2021.
“Much of the decisions that we make here at Oyen Public are driven by data. So with our quantitative data, we have our map assessment. So the measures of academic progress in literacy, and all students are to take this assessment twice a year, so once at the beginning of the year and once at the end of the year,” said Duchscherer. “This allows us to have norm reference standards to see the improvement that our students are making against others their same age as them. One of the actions that we’ve taken over the last year and a half is now we have two teachers at Oyen Public who have taken on the lead of literacy instruction. And they work very closely with our learning coaches to change and improve instruction for all our students.”
One of the changes made at Oyen Public school was the introduction of a flex period first thing in the morning, where students work on their basic math skills. The school is also working strongly with a newer Prairie Rose possibility in agriculture, with grade three students hatching chicks this year.
Secretary Treasurer Ryan Boser brought forward the results of a review of mileage and meal reimbursement for Prairie Rose Public School staff as compared to other Divisions.
“We’ve been at the same rates for several years. I don’t know the exact number of years, but it’s been over 10 years where we’ve been at 50 cents a kilometer for mileage and our breakfast rate for reimbursement is $11. Our lunch rate is $15. And our supper or dinner rate, which some people call it, is $25,” said Boser. “You as a board asked me to collect some information with regards to other school boards in Alberta, as well as provincial and federal policies with regards to meals reimbursement rates and mileage rates as well. Coming back with data, I think it’s an appropriate time for the administration to recommend to the board to increase those rates. I think that we’ve seen over the last, you know, 18 months through the COVID pandemic where the price of fuel has increased quite a bit.”
It was recommended that the mileage rate be increased to 0.54 per kilometre and that breakfast financial reimbursement be increased to $15 and supper to $30. The changes would apply to all Prairie Rose staff when conducting official business beginning January 1st. The motion to do so was carried.
Superintendent Reagan Weeks brought forward Irvine School’s field trip request to take students to Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto in late April 2022. The motion to approve the trip was carried, with a note that the board has approved this trip in previous years.
Weeks also asked the board to vote on two separate motions to rescind two governance policies, Student Board Advisory Committee and FNMI Committee, as both were not consistently reviewed by the board on an annual basis.
“The ad hoc committee structure allows more flexibility for the board to be responsive and to remain in compliance. And so we feel like the student voice committee is better served using that structure,” said Weeks. The Student Board Advisory Committee was recommended to be renamed to the Student Voice Committee and become an ad hoc committee. However, the FNMI Committee will be dissolved, as it was noted that the policy is outdated, and the Board already receives regular updates from other sources.
The motion was carried.