Edmonton Public Schools becomes first jurisdiction in Alberta to commit to collecting race-based data

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Estabrooks said the school division will be looking to learn from the Toronto district school board, which has already done work on collecting race-based data. 

While Edmonton Public Schools has data on students who self-identify as First Nations, Métis or Inuit, there is no broader collection of race-based data. Estabrooks said creating a model to do so will be a “significant undertaking” for the school division and could take up to two years.

“It will take time and in order to this right, doing it right in my mind means consulting with community and talking about why we’re collecting the data and how we’re going to collect it and what are we going to use it for, and having that conversation with community, as we go along, is so important,” Estabrooks said.

Trustees also voted in favour of a motion to have Estabrooks officially take on the duties and responsibilities of Ward A trustee instead of holding a byelection to replace former trustee Cheryl Johner. She resigned in Junefollowing racist comments made during a board meeting.

According to the motion, a byelection in 2015 cost more than $187,000. Superintendent Darrel Robertson told trustees during the meeting that if a byelection were to be held, it would likely be more costly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A byelection would also likely be held in January, just months before the scheduled municipal and school board election in October 2021. Trustees noted it wouldn’t be very practical to have someone serve such a short time prior to the election.

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