Board Policy 15

SCHOOL CLOSURE

The Board believes that the students of the Division must have the opportunity to receive educational programs that are characterized by excellence, equity and efficiency. In achieving this objective it may be necessary to close a school or a portion of a school’s educational program for operational and/or financial reasons.

Specifically

  1. The Board will make every effort to keep all schools open in the Division. Annually the Board shall provide each school its annual budget allotment based on projected enrollment and discuss with the Principal, staff and School Council, the implications for the educational program for the coming year.

  2. The Board reserves the right to consider realignment of a school(s), or the transfer of a specific grade or grades if:
    1. The enrolment of individual schools is creating a multi-grade class situation,
    2. The proximity of the schools is appropriate, or
    3. The overall education of the student(s) is better served with such a change.

  3. The Board may:
    1. Close a school permanently or for a specified period of time;
    2. Close entirely three (3) or more consecutive grades in a school; or
    3. Transfer all students from one (1) school building to one or more other school buildings on a permanent basis.

  4. The Board will undertake any school closure in compliance with the terms of the School Act and Alberta Regulation 238/1997 – Closure of Schools Regulation.
    1. In the event of a possible school closure the Board shall prepare and review a report including the following items:
      1. The effect on the attendance area for that school;
      2. The ability of the proposed restructuring to provide an educational program that will meet the needs of student(s);
      3. Transportation needs and implications;
      4. The location and suitability of alternate school accommodations for the student(s) involved;
      5. Future enrolment projections for the school;
      6. The impact on the community;
      7. The financial and educational impact of not closing the school;
      8. The implications for the student(s) and staff, both those in the receiving school as well as those who will be transferred;
      9. Program space and financial implications for the receiving school;
      10. Factors relating to the school building:
        1. The age and life expectancy of the building to be closed;
        2. Building modernization requirements;
        3. General suitability to education program needs;
        4. School population compared to rated capacity of building.
      11. The educational and financial impact of the closing of school, including the effect on operational costs, outstanding debentures and the capital implications;
      12. The capital needs of the receiving schools that may have increased enrolment.
      13. The proposed disposal of the school, if entire school is closed.
    2. Where the Board is considering a closure, there shall be a notice of motion, at a regular meeting of the Board, proposing that specific schools, a school or a portion of a school, be closed.

  5. Within seven (7) days of the notice of motion, there will be effective communication to parent(s) of students attending the school, all staff members and the electors in the attendance area of a school being considered for closure.
    1. The Board shall communicate information and implications of the possible school closure, in writing. Such communication shall set out the following:
      1. How the closure would affect the attendance area defined for that school;
      2. How the closure would affect the attendance at other schools;
      3. Information on the Board’s long-range capital plan;
      4. The number of students who would need to be relocated as a result of the closure;
      5. The need for, and extent of, busing;
      6. Program implications for other schools and for the students when they are attending other schools;
      7. The educational and financial impact of closing the school, including the effect on operational costs and capital implications;
      8. The educational and financial impact if the school were to remain open;
      9. The time and location of the public meeting referred to in clause 5.2.1.
      10. The capital needs of the schools that may have increased enrolment as a result of the closure, and
      11. The possible uses of the school building or space in the school building if:
        1. The entire school is being closed, or
        2. Three (3) or more consecutive grades in the school are being closed entirely.
    2. Where the Board is considering the closure of a school, the Board:
      1. Shall organize and convene a public meeting for the purpose of discussing:
        1. The closure and the implications of the closure for the students, for the community and for the Division;
        2. Implementation plans for the closure; and
        3. Alternatives to the closure.
      2. Shall provide an opportunity for the council of the municipality in which the school is located to provide a statement to the Board of the impact the closure may have on the community, and
      3. May hold other meetings with respect to the closure at times and places as the Board may determine.
    3. The date and time of the public meeting referred to in clause 5.2.1 shall be:
      1. Posted in five (5) or more conspicuous places in the area or areas of the school or schools affected by the closure, for a period of at least fourteen (14) days before the date of the public meeting; and,
      2. Advertised in a newspaper circulating within the area or areas of the school or schools affected by the proposed closure, on at least two (2) occasions as close to as is practicable to the date of the meeting.
    4. A quorum of the Board shall be in attendance at this meeting.
    5. The Board will ensure that minutes of all public meetings held under clause 5.2 are prepared.
    6. Following the meeting referred to in clause 5.2.1, there shall be a minimum of three (3) weeks for electors to present to the Board further responses, including preferred alternatives, to the possible closure.
      1. Such responses shall be presented to the Superintendent and the party or parties may elect to present their own responses verbally at the next Board meeting or to have the Superintendent present the written response.
    7. The Board shall give due consideration to any submissions on the proposed closure that it receives after the public meeting referred to in clause 5.2.1.
    8. The final debate by the Board and the vote upon the resolution shall occur only after clauses 5.1 through 5.7 have been completed.

  6. All school closure procedures shall be initiated and completed within the school year in which the decision to close the school is made.
    1. Notwithstanding the statement in section 5 above, on the written request of the Board, the Minister may extend the school closure procedures beyond one (1) school year.

 

Legal Reference:

Section 33, 51, 52, 53, 62, 192, 222, 248, 249 Education Act

Petitions and Public Notices Regulation

 

Approved: November 14, 1995

Amended: November 5, 1998; January 16, 2018; August 21, 2018