February 9, 2022 Board Meeting News

February 14th, 2022

Regional Office –

Alternate days for Barrhead Comp and R.F. Staples junior high students

Alberta Education requires schools to provide a minimum amount of instruction for students each year. High school students require 1,000 instructional hours, while Grades 1-9 students require at least 960 hours. Given scheduling considerations around busing and start/finish times for each school, the extra instructional time for many schools has been addressed using alternate operational days. On these days, students that don’t need the extra instructional hours are given the day off, but teachers still work and tend to use this time to collaborate with  teachers in other schools. 

Barrhead Composite High School and R. F. Staples Secondary School both offer programming for students in Grade 7 to 12, and both of these schools have consistent start and finish times for all students. This means that Grade 7 to 9 students end up receiving 1,000 hours of instruction, rather than the required 960. To date, these schools have not used an alternate operational day calendar to address the extra hours for junior high students.

At the February 9th board meeting, trustees considered whether these two schools should have alternate calendars. Both parents and school councils have indicated that they would support this change, so the board directed administration to prepare alternate calendars for junior high students at these schools for 2022-2023.

Transportation fees

Alberta Education provides $4.7 million in funding annually to allow Pembina Hills to transport our students to and from school. However, there are a few busing services that are not covered by provincial funding, and these so some services are offered for a fee:

  • Alternate Site Fee: Some students need to access more than one bus stop (for example, a child lives with his or her parents but needs to be dropped off with a grandparent). The extra fuel and time required to accommodate these requests necessitates a small fee.
  • Rural Transportation Fee: All students are assigned to attend a specific school based on the location of their home. Some families choose to attend a school other than their designated school, and in these cases families are charged the actual costs incurred to transport affected students to the alternate school.
  • In Town  Transportation Fee: Alberta Education only provides funding for in-town students who live more than 2.5 kilometers from their designated school. There is consistent demand for students who live closer than that distance, but want their children to ride the bus due to age and safety concerns. These families pay an annual fee.

Alternate Site and Rural Transportation Fees are charged on a cost-recovery basis, while In-Town Transportation Fees have historically run at a small loss.

The board reviews these fees on an annual basis with any price changes taking effect in the new school year. For the 2022-2023 school year, the board decided to keep all fees the same. Please see Rates Annex 4 (RA4) Transportation Fees for further information. 

External board committees

The Board of Trustees supports and attends meetings for a range of community organizations.  From time to time, new community organizations  request that Pembina Hills trustees attend their meetings.   Historically, trustees will attend the first meeting, and then the board will consider whether participation in the organization will be worthwhile and mutually beneficial. 

Two such invitations were received from the Swan Hills Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) Interagency Committee, and the Alberta Council for Environmental Education. After trustees attended meetings for both of these organizations, the board approved adding these groups to the official external committee listing as noted in Board Policy 08 Committees of the Board Appendix A.


Check out the board meeting agenda and minutes for more information. 

View a recording of the meeting here.


The next school board meeting will be held at R. F. Staples Secondary School, February 23, 2022 starting at 9:00 a.m.