Chinook’s Edge School Division officials will be reviewing their cold weather operation guidelines in light of the plunge in temperatures that hit the region earlier this winter.
“Anytime we go through a spell of weather, we try to review our (inclement weather policy) and see if we can tweak it or make it better,” said Kurt Sacher, superintendent of schools with Chinook’s Edge.
“It has evolved over the years,” he said, adding that the district follows what’s called a temperature line to help with deciding when to close schools or stop bus operations.
He noted that one thing that might change is the wording in the policy when it comes to windchill.
“When the windchill is below minus 45, we would consider closing the school in a given area or across the division if the temperatures were like that everywhere. That is confusing though because what it means is it includes minus 46 or minus 47, but it doesn’t include minus 45. So we are considering changing the language to ‘at or below’ minus 45,” he explained.
“That is just an example of the kind of thing that we are reviewing.
“Another thing we are looking at is that on the website it talks about ambient temperatures and windchill, and the decision is always made based on windchill.
“So we are looking at removing the conversation about ambient temperatures,” he said.
Sacher said that the overall policy is typically reviewed about every two to three years.
Moving forward, any proposed changes will be gone over by groups including the board, administrators, the central office leadership team, and members of the Parents Matter group that will meet on Jan. 31.
Meanwhile, the board is also concerned about rising costs associated with the carbon tax.
According to board highlights, in 2022 the GJ price was $2.63.
This number has increased to $3.26 per GJ in 2023 and is anticipated to rise to $6.33 per GJ in 2027.
This would represent an extra $450,000 for Chinook’s Edge School Division.
Sacher said it’s important to let people know that these increases affect the division when it isn’t provided with proportional funding to accommodate such spikes.
“It will take away from our ability to do what we have always done as a school division. You have to fill the void from somewhere,” he said.
“So there could be a classroom impact from decisions that are made affecting our facilities department and our entire operation,” he said.
“When the carbon taxes keep going up, we need to be able to pay those bills. If you aren’t given additional funding specific to the carbon tax, then it has got to come from somewhere else.”
The Chinook’s Edge School Division serves 11,000 students in just over 40 schools.