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Tuesday, 28 March 2017 08:00

PRSD trustees discuss additional support for school councils

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Prairie Rose School Division (PRSD) administration and board trustees will do some more research before deciding whether to contribute to costs associated with taking part in the Alberta School Councils Association (ASCA).

Trustees discussed fees and subsidizing of fees or memberships in the ASCA at the March 14 regular meeting. The discussion was held because administrators have been asked if the school division will help cover any of the costs for members of school councils to attend an upcoming provincial conference.
Ryan Boser, secretary-treasurer, said there hasn’t been interest from school council members for a number of years, but this year some interest has been expressed. He said the board could consider covering some of the costs associated with attending the provincial conference and/or choose to pay the membership fee for every school council in the division to be a member of the ASCA.
Those membership fees, at $60 per school council, would be just over $1,000 for a year.
“That would allow every school council to access, free of charge, their resources,” said Chair Stuart Angle about ASCA membership. “They have a lot of online resources, a reduced fee for their conferences, newsletters, etc.”
The board has in the past agreed to pay for the yearly membership for all school councils to see what the uptake of its use would be.
“I don’t really remember any school council using those resources,” added Trustee Kathy Cooper.
Cooper said she would like to see the board support school councils again by paying for those membership fees, but as well if possible to help cover the costs of some attendance at the provincial conference as it can be very expensive to take part.
Trustee Arnold Frank said he would like to better understand what people would like to see who are interested in attending the conference and how the school division could be of assistance.
Trustees bantered around the idea of covering the costs for a certain number of people to attend from the division, such as three or four. Trustee Graeme Dennis said he would like to see the board help parents who are interested in attending.
“We’ve always spoken about building leadership and capacity. This would just build leadership and capacity in our school councils,” he added.
Trustees suggested school principals, who are knowledgeable about their school councils, should be asked their opinions about what options could be most beneficial, as well as those on school councils.
The board will discuss the issue again at a future meeting once that feedback has been gathered.
Charitable donations
Trustees had a good look at the charitable donations received in the school division from Sept. 1, 2015 to Aug. 31, 2016.
PRSD is a registered charity and as such since it can issue tax receipts, it has to file its information with the Canada Revenue Agency.
For that school year, the division as a whole received a larger than normal amount of cash donations, primarily around the building of the new Schuler School, in the amount of $840,242.96 and $3,900.10 worth of non-cash gifts for a total of $844,143.06.
Dispersed through the year was $336,749.06. Held back to be dispersed this year was $488,444 for the Schuler School project and $18,950 for the Irvine playground project.
Notable areas where donations were received and spent included $27,307.64 for the playground at Seven Persons School; $250,705 for the new school in Schuler; $9,500 for school activities in Jenner; $6,727.25 for SKILLS and $23,058.32 for Badlands Baseball Academy in Oyen.
Audit services
Trustees agreed to continue using the auditing services of Avail LLP for the next three years.
“We have a great working relationship with these auditors,” said Ryan Boser, secretary-treasurer. “They also provide consulting all year for us which is a value-added service.”
Trustees commented on how much they appreciate the thorough explanation of the audit offered up by the company officials each year in their presentation to the board.
“I really appreciate the effort they put in to making it understandable for us,” added Frank.

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor