The provincial election is an opportunity for the Lakeland Catholic Community to get a better understanding of the strategies candidates have regarding publicly-funded Catholic Education.
About Lakeland Catholic
Lakeland Catholic School Division offers publicly-funded Catholic Education to eight schools in four communities.
Our election priorities are derived from our mission to provide excellent faith-based education in the Lakeland region. Currently, our division serves 2,600 students and 400 staff members in the Bonnyville, Cold Lake, Lac La Biche, and Waskatenau communities.
At Lakeland Catholic, we live by our mission: Christ our Model. Children Our Focus.
The next provincial election is scheduled for May 29, 2023. As you prepare to vote, Lakeland Catholic School Division would like to share our key messages for candidates.
What We Need to Know About Publicly-Funded Education
Our division has four main priorities for candidates of the 2023 provincial election:
Support for Publicly-Funded Catholic Education
Ask: How will you support publicly-funded Catholic education?
Alberta’s publicly-funded Education System is diverse and includes public, separate, Francophone, and charter jurisdictions. This provides Alberta families with choice as they determine the best fit for their child(ren)’s education. Our school division has always been a strong advocate for publicly-funded Catholic Education and ensuring our division can continue to provide faith-based learning for all students in the Lakeland region.
- A commitment to support publicly-funded Catholic education in Alberta
- An understanding of the importance of Catholic Education
Predictable and Sustainable Funding
Ask: What strategies do you have to create predictable and sustainable funding in education?
The Weighted Moving Average (WMA) does not fully fund growth as allocations are partially based on enrolment from previous years. Recently, Lakeland Catholic has relied on additional grants in order to maximize funding, which often require in-depth application processes that can be difficult for smaller boards, such as ours, with limited staff capacity.
- Strategies that will ensure funding is predictable and sustainable for school divisions
- An understanding of the importance of supporting and funding Catholic Education
- A commitment to budgeting for new schools and modernizations
Rural School Divisions
Ask: How will you address the challenges faced by smaller rural school divisions?
Lakeland Catholic, like many smaller rural school division, faces unique challenges, such as recruitment and retention of staff, communities spread across a wide geographic area, transportation, aging facilities, and limited access to wellness and therapeutic services, among others.
- A commitment to ensure rural school divisions' voices are heard
- An understanding that rural school divisions face unique challenges
- A commitment to ensure rural school divisions' needs are considered during budget deliberations
Funding for Early Learning
Ask: How will you ensure early learners receive essential learning opportunities?
Lakeland Catholic knows the key role Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten programs have in setting a student up for success as they begin their learning journey. Currently, the Alberta Government offers funding for half-day Kindergarten programming with Lakeland Catholic topping up those funds in order to offer full-day programming.
Full-day Kindergarten supports early literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional learning. More funding is needed in order for school divisions to universally offer full-day Kindergarten.
Only students with severe speech and language, behavioural, or fine motor skills delays qualify for Pre-Kindergarten program funding, and the dollars that are available are not sufficient for the interventions needed.
- A commitment to ensuring funding for Pre-Kindergarten and full-day Kindergarten for all students
- An understanding of the importance of early learning
Ask questions: stand-up for publicly-funded Catholic Education!
About the Candidates
Glenn van Dijken - United Conservative Party
Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul
Scott Cyr - United Conservative Party
Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche
Brian Jean - United Conservative Party