Rocky View Schools (RVS) will be petitioning the province once again for modular classroom units.
The Board approved the request for 22 modular units to be sent to the province during their meeting on Thursday, November 2.
According to briefing notes provided by RVS, the request also asks for the relocation of 12 classroom units and one washroom unit.
"There are 990 additional students in RVS schools this year. With no new schools across the division until 2026/2027 at the earliest, these additional modulars and modular relocations are critical to meeting students’ space needs," RVS stated. "The units are requested for schools with expected utilization rates of more than 100 per cent, based on accommodation changes and projected enrolments."
In March March 2023, RVS received 10 new modular classrooms and two classroom relocations, although the division stressed that they requested 32 new units.
"In addition, five surplus modular units were awarded to RVS on October 24 which the Province will pay to deliver and set up. If approved, these modular units will help mitigate RVS’ enrolment issues in the short term but will also increase the stress on core school buildings which will have more students than they were built to accommodate."
According to RVS, the province announced decisions about modular requests in March of each year.
RVS also announced that as part of the ongoing Balancing Airdrie Student Spaces initiative which is meant to allow Airdrie families, staff and other key stakeholders to have their say on how the division can manage student enrollment, an additional meeting will be held as part of the engagement.
"About half of the 990 new RVS students were welcomed into an Airdrie school in September emphasizing the need to find a longer-term space for students solution in the city. The engagement will seek stakeholder feedback and insights to help inform the Board’s decision," RVS stated.
RVS underlined that while they have been advocating on behalf of the division to the province, it is not likely that Airdrie will see any new schools shortly.
"...The earliest a new elementary school in Airdrie could open is 2026 or 2027 and a new high school, optimistically, in 2028. While the potential new schools will help, they do not fully solve RVS' ongoing space challenges given the city grows by 300 – 500 new RVS students each year."
RVS added that because of the size and scope of the ongoing Balancing Airdrie Student Spaces public engagement, it is expected the Board may receive significant interest in delegations on the topic.
"In support of the Board’s commitment to hear from as many stakeholders as possible, an additional Board meeting dedicated to delegations presenting on this topic will be held Tuesday, March 12, 2024."
The initiative has several phases, with phase one to begin this fall. This phase is meant to provide a space for 'Information sharing to provide stakeholders with the possible outcomes of each solution, resources, data and an opportunity to ask questions.'
According to RVS's website, later this fall, there may be news on three potential solutions including:
- Converting one middle school into a high school;
- Grade 8 students stay in the current school for Grade 9; or
- reorganizing the grade structure across Airdrie.
However, RVS underlined that any changes to grade configurations or school boundaries will not take effect until September 2025.
"Given the current overutilization of some schools, it is possible to select decisions for specific schools that may need to be implemented for the 2024/25 school year."
Phase two is slated to begin in January 2024 and last till March. In this phase, 'feedback and dialogue options for input collection, information gathering and discussions, both in-person and online,' will occur.
The Board aims to decide at the public meeting scheduled for April 25, 2024.
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