Hussar, Gleichen united in school approach | DrumhellerMail
Last updateTue, 21 May 2024 12am

Hussar, Gleichen united in school approach

Parents in the Hussar-Gleichen area hope to present a unified solution to the east Wheatland school conundrum. The future of small schools in the corridor has been debated as Golden Hills, this year made the resolution to go ahead with closure of Hussar high school
and transferring Grade 9 students from Rockyford and Hussar to other schools. Parent councils from Hussar and Gleichen are forwarding the idea of creating a K-12 centrally located school in the Wheatland east area. This was a proposition by the board last year when they were completing its capital plan, but it was amended to continue with a 7-12 central school to serve students from Hussar, Standard, Rockyford and Central Bow Valley in Gleichen. The Hussar and Gleichen parent councils see a K-12 as more beneficial for the communities. “Our communities, Hussar and Gleichen, have gotten together; we’ve had a number of town meetings and sent out surveys. I am very confident to say our communities want the central K-12,” said CoreyAnn Sandum, chair of the Hussar Parent Council. “We think a stand alone K-12 is the only real solution, because if they pull out the grades 7 to 12, our K-6 is not sustainable either. If they start pulling teachers, support staff and caretakers, all of a sudden our elementary schools are no good either.” She says most, in the community, recognized the high school in Hussar was unsustainable. “We are very positive about our elementary and our junior high program, it is strictly the grade 10-12. We knew the kids weren’t getting what they deserved. As far as Hussar was concerned the 10-12 closure was almost a necessity,” she said. Sandum said with the closure of Hussar high school, the deadline is approaching for parents to decide where they will send their children. She says many are opting to send their kids to Drumheller or Strathmore rather than Standard. “They are closing Hussar, but Standard isn’t an answer. If you are going to move your students out of Hussar, why send them to a school that doesn’t have more programs?” she asks. In fact, she has heard of neighbours looking into hiring a charter to get students to Strathmore. Golden Hills board chair Ron Kenworthy said during the debate last year, when they were finalizing their capital plan, he amended the motion to make it a 7-12 school. “I made an amendment and the board went with it," said Kenworthy. “The reason was our concern about small children on lengthy bus rides. That’s our major concern.” He adds the board is open to discussion with the community. Sandum says the bussing schedule did not change much when they studied moving grades 7-12, adding there are many other communities across the province that operate centrally located schools. Dollars and cents wise, she sees the K-12 option as more viable than building a new school and maintaining elementary schools in each community. “We are saying if you build this school centrally, you’ll have three communities fundraising, and volunteering, and you can have the programming,” she said. “We’ll get the options we don’t have now.” While often it is said if you take a school out of the community, it will kill the community. Sandum feels a centrally located quality school would actually strengthen the communities. “We can say, ‘you can live in a small town, you have the small town 4H Clubs, hockey teams, spaghetti suppers and the small town feel, and you can put your kid on a bus and in 10 minutes you can have an absolutely fantastic brand new school to go to,’” said Sandum. She says council hopes to present the plan to Golden Hills in the near future.

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