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The Strengthening Local Schools Act (Public Schools Act Amended)

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S.M. 2008, c. 29

Bill 28, 2nd Session, 39th Legislature

The Strengthening Local Schools Act (Public Schools Act Amended)

(Assented to June 12, 2008)

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

C.C.S.M. c. P250 amended

1           The Public Schools Act is amended by this Act.

2           The following is added after subsection 41(1.1):

Moratorium on closing schools

41(1.2)     Except with the minister's written approval under this section, a school board may not close a school that pupils attended in the 2007-08 school year.

Minister's approval

41(1.3)     The minister may approve a school closure referred to in subsection (1.2) if the school board demonstrates to the minister's satisfaction that

(a) the closure is the result of a consolidation of schools within the area or community;

(b) there is a consensus among the parents and residents of the area served by the school that the school should be closed; or

(c) it is no longer feasible to keep the school open because of declining enrolment and, despite having made reasonable efforts, the board has been unable to expand the use of the school building for appropriate community purposes.

School closures

41(1.4)     A school board may close a school only in accordance with the regulations made under The Education Administration Act, and only after having made reasonable efforts to expand the use of the school building for appropriate community purposes.

3           The following is added after section 43:

Extended travel times

43.1(1)     In transporting pupils as required by section 43, a school board must use its best efforts to ensure that a pupil's one-way travel time to his or her designated school is not longer than one hour.

Phasing in extended travel time reductions

43.1(2)     A school board that needs time to comply with subsection (1) may phase in reductions in travel time over the five-year period beginning on the day this section comes into force.

Regulations respecting extended travel times

43.1(3)     If at any time the minister considers that school boards have not reduced extended travel times sufficiently, the minister may make regulations

(a) establishing a cap on a pupil's one-way travel time to the school that he or she has been designated to attend by the school board;

(b) entitling a person

(i) who is the parent or legal guardian of a pupil whose travel time exceeds the cap, and

(ii) who provides or arranges transportation for the pupil,

to reasonable compensation from the school board for that transportation;

(c) establishing reasonable rates of compensation or a method of calculating those rates, and terms and conditions of entitlement to and payment of compensation, including when payments are to be made.

4           The following is added after section 196:

Community schools program

196.1(1)    The minister may establish a program to strengthen the links between families, the community and local schools and, for the purposes of the program, may designate any of the following as a community school:

(a) a school whose future sustainability and viability is threatened by low enrolment;

(b) a school that is located in a neighbourhood with low socio-economic characteristics;

(c) a school that has a community school council that is actively preparing or implementing a community school plan in accordance with policies established by the minister.

Priority for early years schools

196.1(2)    In designating community schools, the minister must give priority to schools that offer programming for one or more grade levels between kindergarten and Grade VIII.

Grants to community schools

196.1(3)    The Minister of Finance, on the requisition of the minister, may make grants for the purpose of maintaining and strengthening community schools.

C.C.S.M. c. E10 amended

5            The following is added after clause 4(1)(v.1) of The Education Administration Act:

(v.2) respecting the conditions that must be met before a school board may close a school, and the process a board must follow to close a school;

C.C.S.M. c. P260 amended

6           Clause 8(2)(a) of The Public Schools Finance Board Act is amended by adding ", particularly as they pertain to students in kindergarten to Grade 8" at the end.

Repeal of school closure moratorium

7           Subsections 41(1.2) and (1.3) of The Public Schools Act, as enacted by section 2 of this Act, are repealed.

Coming into force: royal assent

8(1)        Subject to subsection (2), this Act comes into force on the day it receives royal assent.

Coming into force: proclamation

8(2)        The following provisions come into force on a day to be fixed by proclamation:

(a) subsection 41(1.4) of The Public Schools Act, as enacted by section 2 of this Act;

(b) section 5;

(c) section 7.