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The Board Connection

Advocating for infrastructure and mental health supports

March 28, 2019

Public education matters. Whether it is ensuring students have welcoming learning spaces, supports for student mental health, or funds for our growing student population, Edmonton Public Schools’ needs are diverse and great.

Earlier this month, the Board of Trustees highlighted some of the greatest needs and priorities for our students and our schools. We are shining a light on the need for mental health supports in our classrooms, as well as our many infrastructure needs.

Did you know that:

  • More than half of our schools are over 50 years old?
  • The cost for necessary repairs to our buildings is $768 million?
  • The provincial government decides how much money school districts get to fix, repair and maintain buildings and that our funding is inconsistent?
  • We have to take $28 million out of classrooms to repair our older buildings because we do not get enough funding from the province?

These are troubling facts. But the Board of Trustees is continuing to advocate to the provincial government for additional funding to repair some of the District’s older buildings.

We will also continue to advocate for a new high school in the city’s southeast. That is our top infrastructure priority. Without it, Edmonton Public Schools will be out of high school space by 2022. It takes about three years to build a new high school, so funding for this space is urgent.

We have almost 102,000 students and each of them deserves a great learning space and to have all of the supports they need, when and where they need them. For example, many of our students need and deserve access to mental health supports in order to thrive in and out of school.

Did you know that:

  • By age 25, about 20 per cent of Canadians will develop a mental illness, with about 70 per cent reporting their symptoms started in childhood?
  • Early intervention is vital?
  • Mental health funding is unstable and is often tied to charitable organizations, short-term project pilot project and grants?

The Board of Trustees is advocating for increased funding, along with more collaboration between health and education.

We are tireless in our efforts to ensure our students have learning spaces that foster their growth and success. Additional supports are needed to help us achieve our vision of Success, One Student at a Time. Public education matters.