The Modernized Municipal Government Act (MMGA)/ Bill 21 is an important piece of legislation that impacts many stakeholders including school boards. Since Bill 21 was introduced on May 31, 2016, the Calgary Catholic School District, along with the Alberta School Boards Association, other school boards and partners in education have been working collaboratively with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Ministry of Education to address the needs of school boards.
On Tuesday, November 22, 2016 Minister Larivee, Minister of Municipal Affairs, introduced House amendments to Bill 21, as well as a Discussion Paper on further changes to the MMGA for consultation. The amendments in the two documents clearly indicate the strength of our advocacy and collaborative work with the ministries of Municipal Affairs and Education. The needs of school boards have been heard and supported in the following amendments:
- Mandated JUAs for municipalities: JUAs support collaborative decision making and ensure that municipalities and school jurisdictions work together to promote what best meets the needs of students and citizens of the municipality.
- Exemption of school boards from off-site levies: Ensures that school boards will not be subject to off-site levies for school capital projects.
- Notification to school boards about amalgamations: Support for collaboration between municipalities and school boards on proposed amalgamations.
- Benefiting area contribution structure: A new structure allowing for the parcels of land to be combined providing for larger sites; a definite need for building of high schools.
The continued collaborative approach between provincial and local governments and school boards, has provided us with the best opportunity to develop creative community solutions. There is still work still to be done but we are very pleased and encouraged that the needs of school boards have been incorporated into the MMGA amendments and Discussion Paper providing an opportunity for further discussion. As elected officials, Calgary Catholic Board of Trustees will continue to work with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Ministry of Education to ensure continued success for our students.