June 18th, 2024

School divisions celebrate funds for new school projects

By Lethbridge Herald on March 1, 2023.

The provincial budget 2023 has approved funding for a new elementary school on the city’s westside. Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – apulido@lethbridgeherald.com

With the provincial budget 2023 announcement, both Lethbridge school divisions had something to celebrate. A new westside elementary school for the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division and the modernization of Galbraith Elementary School in the Lethbridge School Division. 

The Holy Spirit Catholic School Division board of trustees chair Carmen Mombourquette said they were extremely happy by the approval of the new westside school, as this has been years in the making. 

“We have been, for years now, dealing with a space crunch. The ministry has been very good very appropriate and providing portables for our westside Father Leonard Van Tighem school, but we have simply run out of the availability and a space to put anymore portables,” said Mombourquette. 

He added that St. Patricks Fine Arts Elementary School as well as Children of St. Martha’s school are at full capacity and therefore the new school would have a great impact on education in the city’s westside. 

“Minister Neudorf and MLA Phillips are to be credited and thanked for their tireless work that they have done in advocating for this project. We know as a board oft trustees, they’re both very much in favor of this move and their work no doubt had influence in the final decision. Btut the ultimate decision was we simply ran out of space, and it had to be done,” said Mombourquette. 

The new school will be able to house about 450 students in Grades K to 6 and will be located just north of the Cavendish Farms leisure centret. 

Lethbridge School Division associate superintendent Christine Lee said they were very pleased to see the province is investing increased funding in the education area, in particular new money for classroom complexity. 

“I know our board has advocated for additional supports for the classroom and seeing that new money will add a lot of additional supports that we can provide next year in the classrooms and with the Galbraith Elementary modernization planning funds, that money moves us along the path to full funding eventually,” said Lee. 

She said in 2022 they received pre-planning funds and were able to do community engagement envisioning for Galbraith Elementary School and the new funds will be used to further that planning, do some more development and possibly even get into pre-design. 

“Galbraith Elementary is 111 years old and it is our oldest school in the division, and it is an absolutely cherished building, it is architecturally beautiful inside but it’s old and it needs new ventilation, heating, and electrical. Also when we do a modernization we update schools for new learning technologies and the way we conduct learning with open spaces,” said Lee.

Both school divisions had another reason to celebrate with approved funding for transportation costs reducing distance requirements for eligible ridership. 

“Transportation was probably one of the biggest investments areas in the education budget, they made a lot of changes there,” said Lee. 

She said they have reduced the distance for the eligible rider requirement. Students in Kindergarten through Grade 6 who live at least one kilometre from school, and two kilometres for students in Grade 7 to Grade 12, are eligible for busing – a change from the previous cutoff of 2.4 kilometres.

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Good news but surely won’t be enough.

Last edited 1 year ago by buckwheat