Regular Board Meeting Summary - November 15, 2022

Regular Board Meeting Summary - November 15, 2022
Posted on 11/21/2022
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The High Prairie School Division Board of Trustees met via Zoom on Tuesday, November 15, 2022, for their regularly scheduled meeting. Trustees approved the agenda with no additions and then moved to the scheduled agenda items.


The Board received a delegation from the division's auditors, MNP LLP, for their presentation on the audited financial statement. The audited financial statements can be found on our website,


The next agenda item was a discussion regarding transportation. Superintendent Poloz provided an update on transportation services for students across the division. Transportation services in Ward 1 have all routes covered, albeit with limited spare drivers. Ward 2-3 currently has sufficient spare and full-time drivers. Ward 4 has experienced significant driver shortages, both full-time and spare drivers, which resulted in the cancellation of 5 routes within the Town of Slave Lake for students living within 2.4 km of their designated schools. Training a school bus driver takes approximately six weeks and our in-house trainer is limited by legislation to train no more than three drivers at a time. 


The Board discussed the request by the Public School Boards' Association (PSBC) for the submission of advocacy points. The Board has approved two main advocacy points, Timely and Appropriate Mental Health Resources for Students and Preserving Local Governance. It was recommended by administration and approved by the Board of Trustees to present Transportation/MELT as a third point to recommend to PSBC.


The Board also discussed the request for a meeting by PSBC. The Board recommended that PSBC be given the dates for the upcoming board meetings and for PSBC to be given the option to attend the meeting remotely, at their discretion.


The next item discussed was options for parental support regarding busing concerns and the Divison's mental health proposal. At a recent school council meeting, parents asked about the option for a form letter to be drafted regarding busing and also about mental health to increase advocacy and awareness. In previous discussions with professionals in the field of advocacy, it was noted that form letters are not as effective as personalized letters with real-life stories from the author. Administration was requested to provide a list of key speaking notes to Trustees that can be shared with interested parties.


Trustees discussed questions that arose from the most recent C.J. Schurter School Council meeting. Trustee Hughes brought forward questions from the meeting, including:

  • options for drivers to be trained in the ward in which they reside and would work (with the current approved training location for HPSD, C.J. Schurter School, the location is not available until after school and on weekends. HPSD is currently training all drivers who have applied and are accommodating their schedules to provide training.)
  • remuneration and benefits for school bus drivers (school bus driver benefits are very competitive. The pay rates and benefits are public as part of the negotiated agreement with the school bus driver's union, CUPE)
  • who to talk to about becoming a school bus driver (the recommendation is to speak with the HPSD Transportation Department, specifically the Acting Director of Transportation and their designates, and the drivers themselves)
  • double school bus runs, (double school bus runs encounter several issues operationally. Additional staff would be required to staff the school both before and after regular instruction to supervise students at the school. The other concern is that with the negotiated remuneration, drivers receive a base pay rate and a per-kilometre rate. This would result in a pay increase of approximately $5 per driver for the second run, which would take the driver at least another 30-45 minutes)
  • how are the transportation boundaries calculated? (the routes are calculated by walking distance from the child's house to their designated school. This includes any paved or concrete walking paths)


The Board requested further information on the boil water advisory that was present in Ward 1 in October. The affected schools were provided with bottled water, signage for not drinking water at fountains and sinks, and water fountains and water bottle filling stations were deactivated. Trustee Scholl asked if there was an interest to request administration to develop an administrative procedure to address emergencies such as this boil water advisory. Currently, HPSD has  Administrative Procedure 178 - Emergency Response Plan dealing with responses to arising emergencies.


Trustees approved an amendment to the 2022-23 Capital Plan regarding current supply shortages. The change will be to substitute the current capital budget item of a 1-ton cargo van with a 3/4-ton truck at the current market prices.


The Board approved the 2021-22 Annual Education Results Report (AERR) as presented in closed. The AERR was presented in closed as the data within is currently embargoed by Alberta Education.


The Board accepted the letter of resignation from Superintendent and CEO Laura Poloz. Superintendent Poloz has worked for the division for 38 years and is retiring at the end of the 2022-23 school year.


The Board received and accepted the Finance Report and then adjourned the open meeting.

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