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LPSD asking for preservation of status quo

If you’re concerned about education in Lloydminster, head to Jack Kemp Community School next week.

The Lloydminster Public School Division (LPSD) has put a call out to the residents of the Border City, asking for feedback on the possible changes planned for the Saskatchewan education system. The government had been working on a review of the current system, and previously released their report on the subject before the Christmas holiday.

The report has proposed three possible changes to the administration of Saskatchewan’s education system.

The first option would be a province-wide schoolboard, with appointed trustees instead of locally elected boards. The second would be a regional model, with four different boards and four different school regions. The last option would be a restructuring of the existing divisions, or the realignment of school division boundaries.

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The school division is now asking residents to come out to a public forum at Jack Kemp Community School at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 18, which is after the LPSD general meeting.

In a press conference held on Friday afternoon, Todd Robinson, the director of education for the LPSD, and David Thompson, the chair of the LPSD schoolboard, indicated they would want to see the current boundaries and structure for the division stay in place.

“After reviewing the three options outlined in the report, I cannot see how any of them will benefit education for students in the unique and complex bi-provincial nature of Lloydminster,” said Thompson, in a statement posted to the LPSD website.

“As a citizen of Lloydminster and Alberta resident, I have grave concerns that my tax dollars supporting education, will not be used to exclusively to support the children in the City of Lloydminster and the Lloydminster Public School Division. Under the current structure of locally elected boards, our trustees are able to provide the necessary resources to “determine program and service levels to respond to community needs and interests” for the students of Lloydminster.”

The LPSD schoolboard has expressed fears about the way funding might change if the current divisional boundaries were moved, or merged into a province-wide system. Robinson touched on the concerns during the Friday press conference.

“Our issue is around the seamless delivery of services,”

“If we were amalgamated, the expectations on the governing body and the administration would be much more stringent than they are now in trying to display that Alberta funds are actually staying in Alberta.”

Robinson wants to make sure there is no change for service levels for students on either side of the border.

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“Regardless of if you are an Alberta resident or a Saskatchewan resident, you can expect the same level of service in any public school across the city, and anything that would be proposed that would put that at risk would be a significant concern,” he said.

“The other thing that we would have some concern about is the loss of local representation or local voice through an elected school board.”

The LPSD will be presenting to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education the day after the public forum about the changes. If you want to provide feedback to the provinces about the possible changes, you can reach out to Lloydminster MLA Colleen Young or Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Richard Starke.

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