By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Parents seeking a secular education for their children met with Greater St. Albert Catholic Regional Division (GSACRD) board members Monday night for two-and-a-half hours to discuss and debate how the division will proceed with short-term plans to provide a non-religious education for their children. What is certain is that those seeking a secular education will get it, but GSACRD will not be providing it.
“It wouldn’t be us who would be providing the program, said Board Chair Lauri-Ann Turnbull. “It will certainly be us who will be working hard to find partners who will provide that in our community.”
Also up in the air is whether the secular program will take place in Morinville or if bussing will remain an option. Either situation could prohibit Morinville parents from running for school board trustee. Turnbull said GSACRD’s short-term goal is to have a secular option in place for Sept. 1. “All these other things that we need to address as we move through this process would be more into the medium- and long-term solutions,” she said. “To run for trustee – that wouldn’t be an option until 2013.”
Turnbull said she felt Monday night’s meeting went well and that both sides had an opportunity to discuss where the division is at in terms of providing a secular option for students by the fall.
“I think we’re both on the same page there that that is the short-term goal,” Turnbull said, adding her board will be meeting with Sturgeon School Division next week to discuss the possibility of providing such a program and that they are also open to the possibility of other educational partners taking on that role. But just who those partners are, Turnbull was not prepared to say. “We are in the process of having some conversations” she said. “ We are not at this time really able to discuss who those people might be as they’re still trying to decide whether or not they’d be willing partners.”
What Turnbull was able to disclose is the fact GSACRD would be employing the services of Pivotal Research to conduct a survey of the parents of Morinville’s 1,700 students. Results from that survey are expected to be received by the end of May at which time Turnbull said the results would be shared with the community.
Turnbull explained every Morinville parent will receive a survey by mail that could be completed online or by mail. Additionally, Pivotal will follow the 1,700 parental surveys with a random phone survey of residents with a survey sample of not less than 400 people.
Just what questions will appear on the survey will be left up to Pivotal based on conversations had between the delegation and the board and what the two groups would like to see in terms of information. “Pivotal will be forming those questions,” Turnbull said. “That’s absolutely not for us to be part of.”
MERCANTILE CLOSING SALE