Thursday, May 26, 2011

Important Message Re: MTS Capacity

We are writing today to make you aware of a concern that we believe will have a significant impact on the students of MTS.  You may be aware that when McKenzie Towne School was originally built, it was designed for approximately 450 students, with the option of adding an additional 6-8 relocatable classrooms to accommodate up to 650 students in the school.  These capacities were based on 25 students per class.

The school is expecting enrolment of 500 students next year, which is over the 450 that the school was built to accommodate.  However, we have been informed that we will not be receiving relocatables for the foreseeable future.  According to the CBE, due to the school utilization calculation of Alberta Intrastructure, McKenzie Towne School is not yet nearing capacity in terms of student space.  The calculation is based on student enrolment numbers and school square footage, including common areas.  The CBE has recently recalculated our capacity, and based on the utilization calculation, the CBE and the Province rates the school at 607 student capacity before relocatables are added.  You may be wondering how decisions are made regarding relocatables and by whom.  We have learned that the provincial government is responsible for providing relocatables to schools.  The government considers the square footage of a school when determining capacity, while the CBE considers number of classrooms.  Based on this recalculation, we would anticipate an additional 157 students in our school before relocatables would be added.

MTS currently has 18 classrooms.  Next year we anticipate 23 classes, of which 7 are half time Kindergarten classes, resulting in the need for 19.5 classrooms.  So, where will these students learn?  We have been advised that partitions will be added and some of the common areas of the school will be used for classroom space.  This means that the current use of those common areas for educational opportunities will be modified and there may be additional impacts in terms of noise, disruption, space, etc.  In addition, this problem will only continue to increase without the necessary classroom space over the years to come.  Without additional space, there could potentially be 3 teachers and up to 60 students sharing each set of two classrooms in the near future.

Many parents are concerned about the detrimental impact this will have on the students' education.  Appropriate classroom sizes and spaces are a necessary part of a good education.  This is not a budget funding issue.  The capacity utilization formula was in place prior to the school being built.  The school population was predictable and projected and the promise of relocatables to accommodate that population was made in May of 2008.  The CBE has not followed through on this commitment and it is the students that will feel the impact.

If you have concerns, you are encouraged to make your voice heard.  The CBE has a responsibility to plan for the needs of the students and to allow parents to be engaged in this process.  Our area Director, Jane Rogerson can be reached at 403-777-8780 or, Trustee Carol Bazinet can be contacted at 403-294-8241 or  Our MLA, Art Johnston is our representative in the provincial government and can be contacted at (403) 215-4380 or to discuss concerns relating to the utilization calculation itself or potential funding for relocatables for our school.  Mr. Johnston will be attending our next school council meeting on Monday May 30th, where the capacity concern will be our topic of the month.  We encourage you to join us for this important meeting.

1 comment:

  1. Where design meets reality... At least it looked pretty on paper! So who is held responsible for our children's inconvenience?