Smith School gets $20,000 from MD

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

M.D. of Lesser Slave River council agreed last week to an unprecedented $20,000 allocation of M.D. FCSS funds to a single applicant – that being Smith School. The decision followed an impassioned plea from school principal Brenna Liddell, explaining the need for a full-time family school liaison worker at the school.
“I’m asking you to invest $20,000,” she said, going on to explain how for some students, all sorts of issues get in the way of their learning. The liaison can and does help with that, but does not have enough time at the current level of funding to meet the need.
“Please ask yourself this,” Liddell continued. “Where would your money have a bigger impact?”
For four of the five councillors present, the answer seemed obvious. The fifth had some reservations.
“I’m concerned about the yearly commitment associated with what we do today,” said Brad Pearson, and made a motion to provide $8,000 instead.
Councillor Robert Esau wondered if Aspenview School Division could be persuaded to pitch in part of the cost. Unlikely, Liddell said; they’re running a half-million-dollar deficit this year.
Pearson’s motion was defeated by a 4 – 1 vote.

“We’ve got this pool of money that is for social good in the community,” said councillor Darren Fulmore, making a motion to provide the $20,000 as requested.
“My view,” said reeve Murray Kerik, “we have the money and this will do a lot more good for our community than volunteers at barbecues.”
Fulmore’s motion carried by a 4 – 1 vote, with Pearson opposed.
Aspenview School Division trustee Nancy Sand told council: “This does help us tremendously.”
Liddell: “I can’t tell you how important this is to us.”

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