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Future of St. Mary’s high school classes up for debate

Grade 10-12 students at St. Mary’s could be switching schools sooner rather than later. The Grande Prairie and District Catholic Schools board recently passed a motion asking to start the public talks about removing the grades, citing low enrollment rates.

“I think they believe when it was built it is a K-12 school, and that their high school numbers would increase over time. That just hasn’t occurred,” says County of Grande Prairie CAO Bill Rogan.

With around 45 students in question, the County wants to know what sort of impact it will have on bussing times.

“As I understand, schools have an education budget and they have a transportation budget. One shouldn’t impact the other, but that’s a conversation to have with the boards,” Rogan adds.

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The board, however, says the potential changes would have minimal effect on those who rely on school buses to get to class.

“We believe there will be a negligible impact on bussing as there is adequate space on the current Immersion bus that leaves the area and travel to St. John Paul II and St. Joe’s. The ride time from St. Mary’s to St. John Paul II is approximately 19 minutes (20 kilometres) school-to-school during the afternoon hour rush.”

The GPCSD says it has no intention to change any of the other grades at Sexsmith Catholic School, where K-9 would still be offered regardless of where the decision on the high school grades comes down. The Public meeting will take place at St. Mary’s Catholic School on March 19th.

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