Prairie Post (East Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jamie Rieger [email protected]­

The ben­e­fits of hav­ing South Cen­tral High School in Oyen a Gr. 7-12 school and Oyen Pub­lic School a K-Gr. 6 out­weigh the neg­a­tives, it was de­ter­mined by Prairie Rose School Di­vi­sion (PRSD) trus­tees at their March 10 meet­ing.

De­clin­ing en­rol­ment at the high school and a loss of ru­ral ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing for OPS make the move log­i­cal from an ad­min­is­tra­tive point of view.

“We gain $50,000 by mak­ing the change,” said PRSD su­per­in­ten­dent Roger Clarke. “With K-6 at OPS and 7-12 at the high school, both get a share of that ru­ral fund­ing.”

The mo­tion to make the move was op­posed only by Lois Bed­well and Lu­cille Hertz, who rep­re­sent New Brig­den, Oyen Pub­lic, South Cen­tral High and War­ren Peers schools for Ward 1 of the di­vi­sion. Lu­cille

“I don’t think its’s best for the stu­dents in Oyen,” said Hertz. “Grade 9 just moved over and we aren’t sure how that is even go­ing yet.”

The Grade 9 stu­dents were moved from OPS at the start of the 2019-20 school year af­ter lengthy con­sul­ta­tions with par­ents. At the time, en­rol­ment was ex­pected to de­cline at SCS from 90 to 70 stu­dents.

Con­sul­ta­tions and a sur­vey again were con­ducted to gauge the in­ter­est of mov­ing Grades 7 and 8 to the high school.

“When the sur­vey was done the par­ents said they pre­ferred hav­ing a K-Gr. 8 school and Gr. 9-12 for high school,” said Hertz.

PRSD chair Stu­art An­gle, how­ever, said he has only heard pos­i­tive feed­back.

“I’ve only ever heard pos­i­tive re­ports,” said An­gle. Trus­tee Arnold Frank said that when Red­cliff had a sim­i­lar tran­si­tion, it pro­vided more op­por­tu­ni­ties for the stu­dents.

“In Red­cliff, I watched it tran­si­tion and move to a more worldly en­vi­ron­ment. It has given them a bet­ter con­nec­tion and shar­ing in tran­si­tion­ing to the next level,” said Frank.“The tim­ing for this is per­fect as far as I’m con­cerned.”

Bed­well asked what the cost would be for get­ting the high school pre­pared for the ad­di­tional stu­dents.

“There will be shift­ing of teach­ers, but there will be very lit­tle cost. I don’t see any neg­a­tives. The teach­ers are still there, there will be no changes to the tech­nol­ogy or the trans­porta­tion. The teach­ers will be bet­ter uti­lized,” said Clarke. “There will be an op­por­tu­nity for shop and other cour­ses, and coach­ing sports for Grades 7,8, and 9. We gain fi­nan­cially.”

“Hav­ing the ju­nior high stu­dents at­tend the same school as the high school stu­dents is ben­e­fi­cial to the younger stu­dents and the teach­ers. If you al­ready know the stu­dent, then you aren’t start­ing over,” added An­gle.

Photo by Jamie Rieger

PRSD chair Stu­art An­gle and su­per­in­ten­dent Roger Clarke dis­cuss Oyen grade con­fig­u­ra­tion at their March 10 board of trus­tee meet­ing.

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