Small crowd for final meeting on Clearview tour

Clearview School Division’s 10th and final “community consultation meeting” on the 2013 tour attracted about 45 people Monday night

Clearview School Division’s 10th and final “community consultation meeting” on the 2013 tour attracted about 45 people Monday night in Stettler.

The trustees took their show on the road to speak with stakeholders in all parts of the district, with cuts looming across the division.

A small crowd gathered at the William E. Hay Composite High School cafeteria to hear how the school board and the four principals in the Stettler school complex and the Stettler Outreach School would handle the budget shortfall.

Two representatives from Alberta Education’s Zone 4, Doug Coffin and Maureen Melnyk, as well as a representative from MLA Rick Strankman’s Stettler office, were present as observers.

Clearview School Division’s almost $33-million budget is poised to receive about $400,000 less in provincial funding in the next school year, said superintendent John Bailey.

Stettler parents in attendance at Monday’s meeting were concerned the bulk of the reduction of teaching staff would likely occur in Stettler.

They wanted to know how much money could be saved by division by closing or reducing grade configurations in Donalda, Botha, Byemoor and Big Valley.

Reducing the number of trustees from seven to five was another cost-saving suggestion, and parents asked whether any staff reductions were planned for the central administration office.

The tone Monday was somewhat different than the other consultation meetings, as the mood didn’t suggest a school division trying to solve budget problems together, but rather a division of schools, each looking out for its own interests.

One parent said he didn’t care whether teacher reductions had occurred in other schools in past years.

“At the end of the day, I don’t care what happened yesterday,” he said. “I am looking out for No. 1 and where my kids are going, and want to know how you are going to make it work now and in the future.”

School board trustees said they would consider all input from the consultation meetings before making their final budget decisions at their regular meeting next Tuesday.