By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Less than two months after Sturgeon School Division’s (SSD) public school commenced operation, Grade 1 to 4 students will be moving to a new venue beginning Monday according to parents of students in the program. The division has decided to remove classes from the Morinville Community Cultural Centre to their division office, located next to the Ray McDonald Sports Centre in Morinville. The move is set to take place Friday night and Saturday according to reports from parents who said they were informed by a teacher Tuesday afternoon.
One parent who is ok with the decision is Thomas Kirsop who, together with his wife Marjorie, fought for a non-faith-based option in Morinville.
“Without diminishing the value of the Town of Morinville’s contribution to the public education of children in an environment free of faith based bias – if the Sturgeon School Division feels they can provide better educational opportunities in space within their office structure, I support them fully and encourage them to move forward,” Kirsop said in an e-mail interview Tuesday.
Kirsop said he was pleased with the work Sturgeon School Division had accomplished thus far.
“As a parent I have full confidence that whatever decisions they make are indeed based on the best interests of the children, the families, and all of the public they represent,” Kirsop said, adding he did not have that same confidence when his children were in Morinville’s schools run by the Greater St. Albert Catholic Regional Division.
Another parent who spoke on condition of anonymity said the move seems to be based on the size of facility rather than the environment at the Community Cultural Centre. Unlike Kirsop, she is not confident the decision is the correct one. “I am not sure what they [SSD] are thinking,” she wrote, noting it means another upheaval for her child who was just becoming settled at the new school facility.
As recently as Oct. 4, Sturgeon School Division seemed pleased with the facility at the Community Cultural Centre, writing in a frequently asked questions page on their website that “the centre offers bright and cheerful classrooms where students are excited to work on the Alberta curriculum.”
A request for an interview with Sturgeon School Division Superintendent Dr. Michèle Dick was not immediately answered Tuesday afternoon; however, e-mail documents received by MorinvilleNews.com indicate Grades 1-4 students will be moving to the board room and the Coronado Room at the Sturgeon School Division Office. The school board will move their meetings to other venues so students can use the facility spaces without having to pack up each day as is the case at the cultural centre.
Indications are modular units to be located near Ecole Georges P. Vanier School are still on target to arrive sometime in December with students occupying them in the new year. At that time, a classroom within the GSACRD school will be made available for teachers operating in the modulars.
We will continue to follow the story seeking official word from Sturgeon School Division.