Sask Rivers cancels Jan. RM meeting

The Sask Rivers Education Centre/ Daily Herald File Photo

After a successful meeting with RM and rural representatives in November, the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division has cancelled a similar meeting scheduled for late January due to a lack of response.

A meeting with Indigenous representatives planned for the same day will still go ahead.

“We will see what the respondents are looking (at) closer to the meeting, but for now, that (meeting with Indigenous leaders),” director of education Neil Finch said.

Finch expected the cancellation notice to be sent out on Jan. 16.

According to discussion during the board of education’s regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 15, the planned RM meeting on Jan. 29 had only received one response since the notice was sent out. The board discussed other ways to gain interest but decided it was best to cancel it for this year.

Finch said he bad timing was likely the reason for the lack of response.

The meeting with municipalities in November, 2022 led to the creation of a resolution at the 2023 SARM convention brought forward by RM of Prince Albert Reeve and current Saskatchewan Party candidate for Saskatchewan Rivers Eric Schmalz.

The resolution to improve connectivity for rural schools received overwhelming support at the SARM convention in Saskatoon in March, 2023.

After Schmalz introduced the resolution, he was supported by Ryan Scragg, the Reeve of the RM of Garden River.

The resolution, which is available at the SARM website reads: “Whereas there currently exists a disparity with respect to internet connectivity between urban and rural schools in the province of Saskatchewan. Whereas there is a need to bridge the connectivity gap of broadband service provided to rural schools when compared to urban schools. It is crucial for rural students to have equitable access to technology and learning opportunities.

“Be it Resolved that SARM lobby the provincial government, including the Ministry of Education and all internet service providers in Saskatchewan, to jointly review and make recommendations on expanding broadband service to rural schools.”