Francophone school faces uncertain future


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December 9, 2014 9:05 AM

Andre Denis, board chair at the Conseil des Écoles Fransaskoises and Donald Michaud, acting director of education at the Conseil des Écoles Fransaskoises, explain the school's situation to parents and stakeholders at recent meeting. - Photo Submitted

At a recent meeting, electors, stakeholders, parents and administrators gathered to discuss the fate of Ecole Sans Frontier, with options going so far as to suggest closing the school.

Due to financial concerns, all aspects of the school’s operations have been under review since last April.

Out of the 48 or so students that attend the school about 36 of them are from Alberta. According to Donald Michaud, the interim director of education, the level of services offered by the school outpace the revenue received from that province.

“It’s a little complicated in that we’re not part of the charter, for reasons I don’t know, I’m the interim director so I only got history until about last February,” he said. “But that makes it so that we have to negotiate directly with the school jurisdiction that would be normally responsible for those francophone kids in and around Lloydminster.”

Michaud said they’re trying to get a handle on what the costs will be and a decision on the school’s future will be made by the end of March.

“That decision could also be just to hold off on the closure until another time. In other words, it’s certainly not guaranteed and it’s certainly the last resort,” said Michaud.

“The board really wants and thinks the best arrangement is to have a full-fledged school for those kids and then we would know where we’re at. Then we can actually deploy our wings and start getting known a little better in the community and so on.”

Michaud said that the school act in Alberta and Saskatchewan gives students the right to education in French first language schools, so parents of Albertan children could possibly petition the school jurisdiction to establish a school there.

“So it doesn’t mean the school would disappear. It would just be different managers and maybe we would be buying services from them, but that is one of the alternatives that is being studied, is to transfer the school to Alberta.”

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