HPSD wants bus drivers exempt

Richard Froese
For The Express

High Prairie School Division wants bus drivers exempt from mandatory entry-level training (MELT).
HPSD board opposed the new plan by the provincial government at its board meeting March 20, says a news release March 22.
“Trustees passed a motion to write a letter to the premier and the ministers of education and transportation to request that all school bus drivers be exempt from MELT,” says Tammy Henkel, who chairs the board.
The board will send letters to the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) and the Public School Boards’ Association (PSBA).
Trustees also reviewed a proposed motion from the ASBA to exempt school bus drivers from (MELT) for the ASBA fall general meeting.
Discussion focused on the legislation and how it relates to the division’s process to recruit and train bus drivers.
Trustees are especially concerned how it affects spare bus drivers.
Spare drivers will be required to complete more than 60 hours of training, which the board says will add to the cost.
The board is also concerned that drivers will be required to complete training for air brakes.
That’s the same required for drivers of semis and other load-driven Class 1 and Class 2 vehicles.
All HPSD buses have air brakes.
Although air brakes increase the cost of a new bus, they have decreased maintenance and operating costs over the life of the bus.


The board formed a committee to examine board advocacy, including goals and objectives of the division.
West End Trustee Karin Scholl, Joussard – Kinuso Trustee Lorrie Shelp and Slave Lake Trustee Steve Adams will assist communication officer Kyle Nichols assist with communications and messaging.


Trustees discussed the ASBA zones and the role they play to support education.


HPSD teacher mentor coach Corinna Horsman updated trustees on her work.
“The goal of the mentorship program is to provide confidential, non-evaluative support to all new teachers in the division,” Horsman says.
She outlined her process to provide mentorship and supports to teachers.
Horsman discussed initial support for new teachers and new teacher orientation
She showed the New Teacher Handbook and the weekly newsletters she sends to new HPSD teachers, which includes resources, information, and general supports. Henkel says trustees often hear staff give top marks to the program.


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