Representatives of the city and both Lloydminster school divisions will be meeting routinely next year to hammer out a new agreement.
City council agreed to withdraw from the current seamless levy agreement, which was made in 2012, and enter negotiations to create a new one by January 1st, 2022. The seamless levy is paid by residents and is split between Lloydminster Public School Division and Lloydminster Catholic School Division to provide seamless delivery of education services whether they are in Alberta or Saskatchewan.
Mayor Gerald Aalbers says the current agreement is missing some pieces around public accounting and reporting, transparency and the ability for the parties to review and make amendments to it.
“The mechanism that was built eight years ago was good, but it wasn’t flawless. Some of the flaws identified was the ability to have those discussions, reporting and stuff like that. We’ve had a chance to discuss with the school boards and they were very open to that. We believe we can come forward in 2021 with something even better.”
Aalbers adds the three have been in talks since earlier in the year, but the elections caused them to push it further into the year. He says taxpayers won’t see the negotiations affect their bills in 2021 and any changes will come from the education property tax mill rate set by the provincial governments. He adds the boards have voiced their worries as they balance the effects of multiple different budgets.
“[Provincial] funding affects the school boards even more. The school boards have expressed that concern and that’s why we’ll work very diligently to make sure they’re aware as they go through their processes. If there is changes, that will have an effect and rather than plan for it halfway through the school year they would like to plan for it in the school year.”
The new seamless levy agreement will need approval from all three parties before being put in place. Administration notes the new agreement will embody the principles of the original while ensuring good use of taxpayer dollars.