School cuts shouldn’t focus on Stettler staff

Just when Stettler and its larger schools thought they were safe from any Clearview School Division cuts

Just when Stettler and its larger schools thought they were safe from any Clearview School Division cuts, they now appear poised to suffer the biggest impact.

Up until this week, it seemed that small, rural schools would be the prime targets for cuts as Clearview continues its road show of “community consultations” to get ideas to cut costs and the division’s $1-million deficit.

Now, this week, Clearview trustees revealed that that Stettler schools would suffer the brunt of the cuts to teachers this summer.

“Six or seven” of potentially eight teachers eliminated will come from Stettler schools.

How can that be, when class sizes at Stettler’s William E. Hay Composite High School could reach 30 to 35 students, while Byemoor School will alone have a total of 29 students from kindergarten to Grade 9?

Board trustee Patty Dittrick told Town of Stettler council that some other trustees feel that as long as parents are taking their children to schools, the doors should remain open, even if one school — Byemoor — will have a junior high school teacher for just three students.

That’s a teacher with an average annual salary of $96,000.

Along with the Byemoor parents fighting to keep their school open, where did they and the trustees learn about economic sustainability.

The math simply doesn’t add up.

Considering that most of those rural residents have roots in farming, since when is it more economically wise to hire a full-time employee with a high wage to care for three trees in an orchard and cut significant staff in a large orchard of hundreds of trees?

Perhaps they need to go back to school for a refresher course in math and business.

Although trustees are voted to represent their home communities, their top priority is to focus on the entire division, and not narrow their sights just on their own area.

As the title of Clearview trustee clearly defines, the elected official for the entire division is accountable to all students, families, schools, teachers and communities in the division and responsible to make decisions for the good of the entire division.

During the so-called “community consultation” meetings, the division is focused on doing what is best for the entire division, even if that means closing or consolidating schools to provide quality education to all students the most cost-effective and proficient way.

— FROESE’N TIME


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