Did trustees approve the National Sport School deal?

In a recent Calgary Herald article about the National Sport School, Richard Cuthbertson wrote, “Earlier this year, [Board Chair Pat] Cochrane approached the province and the city to ask for $3 million a piece (savings from the high school project) to fund the new sport school.”

Yet ARTICS can not find any motion (see our notes below) by the board of trustees to direct the Chair to approach anyone to fund a sports school. With a funding model as unique as this, one would think that not only would there need to be a motion, but that there be solid debate around the effects of such a decision on the entire school district, considering that the school would be bypassing all the other schools on the trustee approved priority list.

Gene Edworthy, chair of Education Matters Charitable trust was quoted in the same Herald article. “Edworthy said the charity was approached by the CBE last spring about the idea of raising money for the new building. “We’re going to go out into the community and ask people to support it,” he said.”

Again, we can’t find a vote of the board of Trustees directing anyone to approach Education Matters to help fund the National Sport School with support from the community. Both Chair Cochrane and Trustee Lane sit on the board of governors for Education Matters.

So we ask the simple questions: When did the Board of Trustees approve building a National Sport School? Who directed the Chair of the Board of Trustees to ask the city and province for funding and who approached Education Matters on the CBE’s behalf to look for support from the community to fund the National Sports School?

The following are all the board motions that refer to National Sports School. Click on the date to view the source document:

(May 27, 2008) BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Board of Trustees receives the report regarding the National Sport School relocation proposal for information in the form as submitted with the Private Agenda held May 27, 2008.
Passed unanimously

(Oct 7, 2008) BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Board of Trustees approves the closure of Ernest Manning High School and all programs and schools therein (Regular Program, CBe-learn and National Sport School), effective September 1, 2010, or such later date as may be required by construction timelines or to ensure the non-disruptive redirection of students to the new school. The closure shall be conditional on the planned new school building being satisfactorily completed three months, more or less, prior to the redirection of students to the new facility and all necessary student accommodation needs being fully met throughout the transition from Ernest Manning High School to the new school.
Passed unanimously with Trustee Dirks absent

Immediately after the above, a “what’s new” was put out with the following: “Students in the regular program at Ernest Manning as well as those in the National Sports School and CBe-learn can all be accommodated in the new school, to be built on the corner of 69th Street and 17th Ave. S.W.”

(Nov 19, 2008) BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Board of Trustees receive the report regarding National Sport School Update for information.
Passed unanimously

(Jan 27, 2009) BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Board of Trustees approves in principle the administrative proposal for accommodation of the National Sport School at Canada Olympic Park; and THAT Administration be authorized by the Board to proceed with negotiations as discussed in camera and report back to the Board of Trustees as soon as possible.
This passed 5-1 with Trustee Ferguson opposed and Trustee Dirks absent

(May 26, 2009) BE IT RESOLVED THAT Administration be authorized to negotiate an agreement regarding the terms of a long term land lease at Canada Olympic Park for a new National Sport School.
Passed unanimously

(Jun 22, 2010) BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Board directs Administration to pursue and negotiate, in accordance with the general boundaries and criteria outlined in the Gift, Donor and Partnership Recognition & Private Sector Engagement report, and subject to subsequent Board approval, the immediate “Private Sector Engagement” opportunity presented by the National Sport School (“NSS”) as a “Unique System Initiative”.
This passed 4-2 with Trustees Ferguson & King opposed and Trustee Dirks absent

(Jan 25, 2011) BE IT RESOLVED THAT Administration is authorized to negotiate a lease agreement with WinSport Canada for a nominal consideration to allow for the relocation of the National Sport School to Canada Olympic Park.
Passed unanimously

The following are some other relevant mentions of the National Sport School on the CBE website.

Note: There is no mention at all of the National Sport School in the “Ten year system student accommodation and facilities strategy 2012/13 – 2021/22″

(Feb 2009) “The National Sport School allows these students to train and compete while receiving an education exceeding the standards of Alberta Education.”

(Apr 5, 2011– discussion of 2012-2015 capital plan) “The sale of surplus CBE property is an alternative funding model that the CBE uses to develop funds for new schools or additions to schools. In the past, the CBE has developed their own P3 private/public partnerships. Alberta Education has indicated that the borrowing regulations are under review. Alternative funding methods were used for the National Sport School and the Career and Technology Centre.”

(Apr 27, 2011) “The unique and innovative school will move in September from its current home at Ernest Manning High School to a new five-story office tower currently under construction on the west side of Canada Olympic Park. “Quality education along with expanded educational facilities and opportunities for student athletes is at the heart of WinSport Canada’s vision for the future,” said Dan O’Neill, president, WinSport Canada, who added future plans are also underway for the National Sport School to construct its own building at the Park.”

(Jun 14, 2011 – report on 2011-2014 accommodation plan) “Issue: With the closure of Ernest Manning High School, the National Sport School will need to be relocated. Status: Complete. Summary: CBE has reached agreement with WinSport Canada to provide leased space for the National Sports School at Canada Olympic Park, effective August 2011.”

(With notes from Trina Hurdman)

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