By MorinvilleNews.com Staff
Morinville – The Greater St. Albert Catholic Regional Division (GSACRD) announced Thursday afternoon it had begun the research to determine interest in a non-faith based education in Morinville.
In response to a request for a secular school option from a number of local parents, and after discussions with Minister of Education Dave Hancock, the public Catholic school board entered into an agreement with Pivotal research Inc. to conduct a two -phased approach to determining need. Surveys have been sent to all Morinville parents who currently have children in GSACRD schools. Additionally, approximately 400 Morinville residents will be contacted by phone to gauge public interest in secular education.
“This data will tell us the number of students and families for whom a non-faith based education is preferred,” said GSACRD superintendent David Keohane in a release Thursday. “We also recognize the importance of public opinion regarding this issue so a telephone poll will be conducted with a random sample of residents in Morinville that represent the demographic of the whole community. Together, these two data collection strategies will provide statistically accurate results and a strong foundation upon which to make future decisions.”
Surveys are to be completed by May 16 and can be completed online or by return mail. GSACRD anticipates releasing the results of the survey by the end of May.
The school board has been talking to other boards who may offer the non-faith-based education option, as GSACRD has said it is not prepared nor can it provide the option under its mandate of Catholic education.
“Our work at the division continues as we meet with school divisions interested in providing a non-faith education and ensuring regular contact with the Minister of Education to work together to provide an option for Morinville
parents in September 2011,” said Board Chair Lauri-Ann Turnbull in the same release.
The survey has come under criticism from the parent group, the chair of Sturgeon School Division and a number of residents, all of whom believe the question should be put to the whole of the community and not just those residents who have children in GSACRD schools and a number of randomly chosen residents.
GSACRD and the independent consultant hired to do the survey counter that the 400 residents provide a statistically significant sampling to accurately reflect the views of the community.
The full survey may be viewed by clicking here.