Seba Beach School Considered for Closure
January 16, 2020 - At the Regular Board Meeting held on January 14, 2020, the Board of Trustees served a Notice of Motion that Seba Beach School be considered for closure effective June 30, 2020, and that the Board decision on the closure of the school will be made at a Special Board Meeting to be held Wednesday, March 17, 2020, at the Centre for Education in Stony Plain (4603 – 48 Street).
It is important to note that the closure decision has not been made. The time between now and March 17, 2020, will be used to receive information from parents and other interested parties and to examine all information related to the viability of Seba Beach School.
On March 17, 2020, the Board will deliberate the closure issue and will make a decision.
The Seba Beach School Viability Report can be found here.
An extensive Question and Answer document regarding the impact of a potential closure of Seba Beach School can be found here.
The Board invites parents, staff and community members to a public meeting to be held at Seba Beach School on February 4, 2020, from 6:30pm-8:30pm. At this meeting, the Board will review the impact of a potential closure of Seba Beach School and stakeholders will have an opportunity to reserve a 10-minute window to directly interact with a Board member and a member of Parkland School Division’s Executive Team regarding specific concerns or questions.
Written presentations on the possible closure of the school will be accepted any time during a 3-week window after the public meeting takes place and members of the public may request to form a delegation to present their input at the Board meeting on March 10th.
The Trustees are very interested in receiving your input and comments as they consider this important decision about the future of Seba Beach School.
Finally, recognizing that considering a closure of a school is an emotional issue that evokes strong feelings, both administration and Trustees have appreciated the respectful and thoughtful dialogue that has occurred with parents, staff, and community members to date. We ask that future discussions continue to respect Parkland School Division’s Code of Conduct.
Thank you for your anticipated cooperation with the process.
Shauna Boyce, Superintendent
Parkland School Division
Potential Closure of Seba Beach School Q & A
- Why is Parkland School Division discussing the possible closure of Seba Beach School?
After years of declining enrolment and providing a special allocation of funding to operate the school and in light of the current financial situation, the question of viability at Seba Beach School is on the table. The viability study examined whether Parkland School Division is providing the best education for students for the dollars expended and choices available. PSD Trustees want to ensure that high quality education is available for all PSD students in the future.
- How would the closure affect the attendance area defined for Seba Beach School?
The Seba Beach School attendance area would split to become part of the attendance areas for Tomahawk School, Wabamun School, and Entwistle School. Exploratory discussions have taken place with Paul First Nation and representatives have expressed a willingness to look at options for transporting their students to alternate PSD sites. Options for cross attendance choices to other schools could be explored with any families interested. Those are available where space and resources permit and are reviewed by school Principals on a year-by-year basis. Cross attendance students may apply for bus service for a fee if it is available and criteria is met as per Administrative Procedure 850: Transportation Services.
- How would the closure affect the attendance areas for other schools?
The attendance area for Tomahawk, Wabamun and Entwistle Schools would become larger as it would now include the area for Seba Beach School. Viable options for Paul First Nations students who attend PSD schools would be further discussed with Paul First Nation.
What are the program implications for other Parkland School Division schools and for the Seba Beach School students if they were to attend elsewhere beginning in 2020-2021?
Currently, students from the four West End schools join together at Seba Beach School for the Career and Technology Foundation (CTF) courses, which include Sewing, Shop, Guitar, Foods, Wellness and Art. Entwistle, Tomahawk and Wabamun Schools bus their Grade 7, 8 and 9 students to Seba Beach for one week of programming three times per year.
Should Seba Beach School close, it is expected that each of its former students’ receiving schools would either:
• Accommodate CTF programming on-site, or
• Select a new school to host a combined program.
Seba Beach School was originally selected for the CTF site because of its available space and resources: it has the classroom space to accommodate approximately 75 junior high students for one week, and it has on-site shop and food programming facilities. Entwistle School, Tomahawk School, or Wabamun School could accommodate students similarly, although the resources available may change the programs offered. Resources can also move with the students. With all factors considered, the West End CTF program benefits from, but is not dependent on, the continued operation of Seba Beach School.
What are the educational impacts of closing Seba Beach School?
Academic achievement varies between individual students and there is no reason to expect education would be negatively impacted by a move to another school. While students, parents and staff are very fond of Seba Beach School and have appreciated their successful years as a school community, moving the students to other Parkland School Division schools will provide the opportunity to ensure that strong educational programming can continue into the future.
Parkland School Division staff would work to ensure a smooth transition for every student impacted. Parents will be well informed of transition plans for students generally, and additionally individualized transition plans will be developed for students identified with mild, moderate or significant needs. Individualized transition plans could include the following: tour of new school, identification of support team and early introduction of the support team to the students and family, individualized programming planning in new school and assurance of responses to a variety of individualized needs. (For example: specialized equipment.) School staff would be working closely with the students and families and the process will be guided by the school administrators.
How many students would need to be relocated as a result of the closure?
It is expected that 66 students will be designated to other Parkland School Division schools for the 2020-2021 school year. Based on residences of current students and bus route patterns, a distribution could look like the following: (Please note, peer groups and family requests could be considered for alternate placements based on capacity at receiving schools and available transportation).
What be the needs and the extent of busing if the school were to close?
At present, three dedicated buses serve the Seba Beach School attendance area: two that travel to Seba Beach School, and one that travels to Memorial Composite High School. In addition, one Entwistle bus picks up Seba Beach students at three stops in the Seba Beach area and carries on to Memorial Composite High School.
If Seba Beach School were to close, attendance areas would be adjusted based on distances to alternative schools, bus availability, transport patterns, and ride times. Ride times would not significantly be impacted and would fall within expected Division limits.
Based on the above information, it is recommended that, should Seba Beach School be closed, its attendance area should be split between the Entwistle School and Wabamun School attendance areas. This realignment would not require any additional buses to transport the students.
One bus currently transports PSD high school, French Immersion and Evergreen Catholic students through the Wabamun transfer site. In a closure scenario, two buses would be reassigned to transport former Seba students to Wabamun.
Buses serving the revised Entwistle School attendance area would then accommodate the students from Entwistle. The nine students, who are currently cross attendance students from Tomahawk attending Seba Beach School, would be either directed back to their designated school, Tomahawk School or given the opportunity to explore another school of choice should space and resources allow.
What are the financial implications of closing Seba Beach School?
A review of the various funding components received by the Division shows that the overall net financial impact of a Seba Beach School closure would be a savings of $1,032,881.
InstructionSeba Beach School currently employs 5.5 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) certificated teaching staff, 2.6 FTE educational assistants and 1 FTE secretary. Existing Seba Beach School staff would be placed in other applicable vacancies within the Division, as per Administrative Procedure 470: Reduction of Staff. However, the closure would still result in staff reductions for the Division that would result in a savings of $288,000.
If Seba Beach School were to close, there would be several significant financial implications for the Division. The figures provided below, based on the draft Final Budget for 2019-2020 school year, and actual results for the years prior. Assumptions have been made based on Alberta Education’s current funding formula with allocations based on the Division allocation model in place for the 2019-2020 school year.
Based on the budget for 2019-2020, the school-based cost per student at Seba Beach School is $13,497, compared to the division average of $7,097. These amounts do not factor in the cost of plant operations and upkeep (i.e. maintenance, custodial work, utilities and insurance).
We receive some funding from the government (“small school by necessity”) for small schools when they are more than 25km from the nearest school. To this end, the closure would result in two more schools eligible to receive funding (approximately $230,000). Currently, our west end schools are located too close to each other to receive the full extent of this funding.
Above and beyond the provincial funding, the Division allocates funds to small schools based on our established allocation model. This model was developed by the Division to support our small schools, and is not intended to mirror revenue received from the government. The allocation model for small schools was updated in 2019-2020 in response to changes in overall Division revenues, and in an effort to provide funding to the small schools that had the greatest need. The four West End schools all require extra funding through the allocation model, with Seba Beach School requiring the most at $182,000.
Seba Beach School has received a special allocation each of the last three years, and this amount has increased each year, tripling in size since 2017-2018, as enrolment has continued to decrease at Seba Beach. The 2019-2020 contingency allocation for Seba Beach School was $131,581 which would be allocated back to other schools within the division should Seba Beach School close.
Infrastructure maintenance and renewal (IMR) funding under the current funding formulas is determined based on multiple factors, including the building’s student population and square meterage. If Seba Beach were to close, the IMR funding would be reduced by $11,919. This reduction in funding is offset by the maintenance work that is done at the school. Over the last three years, $225,000 worth of maintenance has been completed at Seba Beach School: an average of $75,000 per year.
Seba Beach School’s five-year maintenance costs include (but are not limited to):
• Roofing - $262,100
• Air handling units - $275,947
• Fire detection system - $230,369
• Boilers - $125,585
• Hot water distribution - $522,373
• Finned tube radiation - $541,537
• Pneumatic controls - $101,567?
The remaining outstanding amounts of deferred maintenance include many of the interior components of the building (e.g. lockers, millwork, countertops, washroom fixtures, flooring, etc.).
At $766.74, Seba Beach School has the highest 5-year maintenance cost per square metre of all PSD West End schools (with the next closest being Entwistle at $523.70), and the highest utility cost per student at $606.06 (compared to Wabamun School, which is the next closest at $349.84).
There are no capital needs anticipated at other schools that would be receiving Seba Beach School students. Custodial expenditures for Seba Beach School in the 2019-2020 school year are estimated to be $75,331. If Seba Beach School were closed and its students were moved into neighbouring schools, Parkland School Division’s Facilities Services has estimated that supplies at those schools would increase by $500 resulting in a net savings of $74,831.
The Facility Condition Index (FCI) rating is a quantifiable number that directly relates to the general condition of the building. Generally speaking, the higher the number, the worse the general condition of the building. The average FCI rating of Parkland School Division schools is 16.18%. Seba Beach School has the highest FCI of all our West End schools with an FCI of 21.76%. The next closest school in the West End is Entwistle at 16.16%.
Summary of Financial Implications
It is expected that the Division's operating reserves will have a balance of $2,272,115 or 1.71% as of August 31,2020. Although the Division has budgeted for a reduction in operating expenses by $1,904,724 from the last year's actuals, there is still a significant shortfall in funding. The Division is preparing for another $3 million-dollar shortfall for the 2020-2021 budget based on provincial government’s declaration that education funding will remain flat moving forward.
The net savings of just over $1 million dollars from a closure of Seba Beach School would mean the Division needs to further reduce expenses by $2 million rather than $3 million.
The above mentioned fiscal realities also make it increasingly difficult for a Board to subsidize schools with operating reserves.
What is the financial and educational impact of keeping Seba Beach School open?
Seba Beach School has a long history in Parkland School Division of providing good educational programming to its community, and we expect that would continue. The low utilization rate of the building requires PSD to highly subsidize the school to continue to meet those needs. Keeping Seba Beach School open means funds continue to be reallocated from other schools to maintain service levels. In addition, funds would need to be allocated to address 5-year maintenance costs and deferred maintenance.
If Seba Beach School is closed, what happens with the school’s computer equipment, learning materials, etc?
Instructional resources and equipment would be moved to schools receiving former Seba Beach School students. Any surplus materials and equipment would be made available to other Parkland School Division schools.
What is the Board of Trustees long-range Capital Plan?
All new school facilities are funded from the Province of Alberta through Alberta Education in consultation with the Department of Infrastructure. Each year, school jurisdictions submit facility needs for the next three years and await funding and approval from the province. Due to its current enrolment level, Seba Beach School is not being considered in Parkland School Division’s long-range capital plans. The Board’s long-range capital plan can be found here.
If Seba Beach School is closed, what is the proposed use of the building?
Alberta Education’s Disposition of Property Regulation will guide our process and requires that all school boards consult with other boards and municipalities with respect to their needs when land and buildings become surplus. If the school closes, PSD will meet with appropriate representatives regarding the future of the facility.
Although it would be the Division’s intention to find a new owner for the school building, until such time as ownership was transferred the Division would continue to incur costs for basic utilities, security, yard care and insurance.
When is the parent/public meeting?
A public meeting will be held on February 4, 2020 from 7-8:30 p.m. at Seba Beach School. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the implications of closure of Seba Beach School. We encourage you to attend. The Board of Trustees would like to hear from you.
How can I contact the Board of Trustees with my views?
Written comment will be received until February 25, 2020. Please direct your comments to:
• To book a delegation to present at the Regular Board Meeting on March 10, 2020, as per Board Policy 7, please provide five business days’ written notice of intent, and schedule your appointment with:
Parkland School Division