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Chamber president urges reconsideration of EPOS closure

EP OUtreach school 6114
ELK POINT - Elk Point and District Chamber of Commerce president Terri Hampson has sent an urgent plea to Alberta’s Education Minister, the Hon. Adriana La Grange, asking for a delay in signing the closure order for Elk Point Outreach School (EPOS) and asking the matter be turned over to St. Paul Education Regional Division for further budget assessment. 

After reading the viability report and attending the public meeting where the two-year transition plan was outlined and learning that the EPOS would have a $48,700 deficit, Hampson says, “Within 24 hours, we had secured $22,000 worth of funding for SPERD,” that amount included $12,000 in free rent on the building the school occupies.

“This, we had hoped, would have substantially affect their decision on May 20 to find the rest of the budget shortfall elsewhere, however it did not.”

Hampson feels the physical and mental health barriers the SPERD students face are “Not insurmountable when attending outreach schools, and students are successful in these types of learning environments. Sending students back to a school that didn’t work for them to finish off their Grade 11 and 12 years simply will not be beneficial to these students.” 

Hampson also said the closure is “a major blow to the town of Elk Point… in already uncertain times” and pointed out that EPOS teaches inclusiveness for all and provides learning and opportunities for its students. Those students, she said, “shovel walks for our elderly and homebound residents. They learn the value of volunteering. This is a safe place for students to learn and succeed.” 

Chamber meetings to resume 

The chamber will hold its first meeting since March on June 20, while following health protection protocols. Members are being asked to bring lawn chairs and bag lunches for a noonhour outdoor meeting on the grounds of the EcoCentre, where they can follow social distancing regulations while they discuss matters that have evolved during the past three months.