Minister of Education, Gordon Dirks
It has been five years since a small group of parents fought for public education in Morinville. Sadly, the ongoing school saga continues with the latest Alberta Education announcement. It was announced that the Catholic school division was granted another school in Morinville. That will make four Catholic schools (two elementary, one middle, one high school) to only one public school (that only goes to Grade 7). Can you see why so many parents are upset when your government announced yet another Catholic school when we still do NOT have a public junior high in town?
When your government made a promise to provide public education to school children in Morinville, why did they exclude junior high/senior high school students? Do they not have a right to public education?
The public school board, Sturgeon School Division’s no.1 priority for several years now is a new public junior high in Morinville. It was included in their capital plan, which has been submitted to Alberta Education. It was recently reported in several media that Sturgeon School Division’s request for a new public junior high in Morinville was denied due to an incomplete application. According to the spokesperson for Alberta Education, SSD’s application did not include information such as school site selection or details of grade configuration. As a result, they were denied the must needed public junior high school.
I was informed by several elected officials that selecting a school site is NOT a requirement when requesting a new school. In fact, the Catholic school board was approved for a new school in Morinville and they still have NOT secured a school site. The mayor has even confirmed no site has been allocated to either school division in Morinville. I’m quite troubled that Alberta Education is not aware of its own application process. In regards to the grade configuration, SSD made it quite clear they are requesting a new junior high school. Are you expecting them to include the number of specific grade levels? That’s completely ridiculous. Schools continuously amend the number of certain grade level classes based on student enrolment changes. In fact, Morinville Public School has recently added a Grade 5/6 class due to high student enrolment.
Also, if there was missing information on the application, why not make a simple phone call to the school division? Rather than clear up any misunderstandings, your government has chosen to neglect Morinville school children once again.
Morinville Public School gained 126 students this fall and projecting another 120 students next year. They went from 92 students to 547 students in four years. While I understand the school division has requested additional modulars for next fall, that is a great short-term fix but far from it being a permanent solution. I know the staff at Morinville Public School are doing everything they can given what they’ve got: housing junior high students in an elementary school building. While I love the staff and teachers at Morinville Public and my children love it there as well, I want proper CTS facilities. Is it fair that these kids do not have such facilities (no shop, no kitchen, no science labs, etc.) but all other junior high schools in Alberta have them?
Isn’t it about time your government fulfill its promise to provide public education K-12 to Morinville children? How much longer do we have to wait?
It’s too late for my son; he will have to be bussed out of town to complete his public education. But what about the 500 plus kids at Morinville Public School? What about future school children? These children deserve to be educated locally especially when the town’s growing population can easily support a public junior high.
Here’s a question: Name a town in Alberta with a population over 5,000 and has no public junior high? NONE – except Morinville.
Morinville has a population of almost 10,000 and still no public junior high.
The time to act is now. No more delay. These school children deserve better, don’t you agree?
Marjorie Kirsop (mom to 4 children)