School board representatives including superintendent, Jason Lovell, school trustee Trudy Bratland and secretary treasurer Roger Hall met with Rimbey town council last week.
The meeting was informative and helped to provide answers to some questions from town council and the school board representatives.
The need for police officer assigned to the Rimbey schools was an area of concern addressed by the school board representatives.
“Though attempts have been made in the past for visibility and relationship-building, this happens as a ‘one-off’ and then (the students) never see them again,” the school board report stated.
“They don’t have the manpower,” said Coun. Bill Coulthard.
Mayor Rick Pankiw pointed out two former peace officers were assigned to have a presence at Rimbey Schools, but, unfortunately, both have resigned from their positions and a replacement has not yet been found.
“One of our goals going forward is to have a peace officer in the schools. That’s what we would like to see.”
Bratland pointed out that Rimbey elementary school is a leader in the literacy program in Wolf Creek and that the high school has the highest graduation rate in Wolf Creek.
“The Outreach School (West Country Outreach School) and Rimbey high school are poster children for our school division,” she said.
The school board representatives noted they are appreciative of the joint user group agreement between town facilities and Rimbey schools which has a no fee charge during school hours.
The school board representatives thanked the town for being a huge supporter of the schools, noted the West Country Outreach Inter-agency meetings are well attended by town representatives and expressed gratitude that town council is receptive to work with schools to assist on road work on the side parking lot of WCO and improved the space for student vehicles.
The school board representatives suggested the town could maintain the bus lane and parking lot at Rimbey Jr/Sr High School as it is used regularly by the community all year round. However, Mayor Rick Pankiw pointed out the bus lane and parking lot is owned by Ponoka County.
Council was also asked about the request by the school council, the school and the school divisions for a crossing light at one intersection by the elementary school which was denied. There is a three-way stop sign at the intersection, which was installed last spring.
“The problem is the parents. They need to take some responsibility,” said Pankiw. “Is it the high school students? No, it’s the parents. The best and easiest solution is to close that block off.”
School board officials also questioned the fact the use of the town’s Zamboni was denied to clear off the ice on an outdoor rink at the elementary school that would be used by the community.
Pankiw explained that the town’s director of community services recommended that it not be used as it is designed for indoor use only. The town donated $3,000 towards the rink.
Pankiw questioned the officials as to why Rimbey was dropped, two years ago, from the priority list for receiving a new high school.
Lovell said the school is rated at being only 65 per cent utilized. He noted that a formula is used to determine the utilization rate and all available spaces are taken into consideration.
He also pointed out that the board had recently spent $2 million on upgrades to the school.