Calgary Catholic School District will test having one principal oversee two schools to cut costs

The Calgary Catholic School District plans to test having one principal oversee two schools simultaneously as a way to cut costs.

Pilot project will start at four schools in September 2020

The Calgary Catholic School District will be testing a pilot project that will see a single principal oversee two schools simultaneously, as a way to save money. (François Gagnon/Radio-Canada)

The Calgary Catholic School District plans to test having one principal oversee two schools simultaneously as a way to cut costs.

The pilot project, which will start in September 2020, will see one principal overseeing both St. Andrew and St. Thomas Aquinas schools, and another principal overseeing both Corpus Christi and St. Henry schools. All four are K to Grade 6 schools.

The main reason for the project's implementation is the recent provincial budget, district spokesperson Sandra Borowski said.

"We do want to continue creating efficiencies where possible and where it makes sense. We also want to ensure that the schools that we know have lower student populations remain viable," she said.

In December 2019, CCSD had said it was trying to find ways to manage $11 million in reduced funding and additional costs of about $6 million associated with growth in operations.

In February's budget, the province made it clear school boards are expected to dip into reserves to pay for their operational costs as provincial funding for K-12 education remains flat.

Borowski said the four selected schools are in close proximity with each other and have low student populations, so resources can be easily shared without compromising student education.

"Workload will be different, but it likely won't be too much that they can't delegate time appropriately between the two schools," she said.

A letter was sent out to parents at Corpus Christi and St. Henry schools on Tuesday, informing them of the upcoming change.

"Let me assure you that this model will not compromise the effectiveness of student learning," said principal Frank McClernon, who will be overseeing both schools.

McClernon said the model has worked successfully in other districts. 

Alberta's Education Act does allow for principals to be assigned to more than one school simultaneously. 

The pilot project's results will be evaluated after the school year.

With files from Lucie Edwardson


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