CBE Board of Trustees Approves Updated Ranking Criteria for School Capital Planning

Oct. 20, 2014

The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) has reviewed the existing ranking criteria utilized for requesting new school construction and major modernizations, and has created a new set of criteria be used for requesting modular units as part of school capital planning.

Each year, the CBE develops a prioritized list of requests for new schools and major modernization projects as part of a Three-Year School Capital Plan. This important document outlines the need for new schools and school modernization projects across our system.

“The CBE is required to submit annually its plans for new schools, modernization projects and modular classrooms to the provincial government,” said Frank Coppinger, superintendent facilities and environmental services. “This year, school boards were asked to assign priorities to requests for modular classrooms.”

The annual plan and modular requests are approved by the Board of Trustees and are sent to the provincial government. Funding for all school capital projects are determined and approved by the Government of Alberta based on each school board’s capital plan and modular requests.  

The criteria the CBE uses for determining new school construction priorities was first established and approved in 2002 and has been reviewed and adjusted periodically. Earlier this year the public and superintendent of facilities and environmental services offered a review of the ranking criteria to ensure the process continued to be fair and equitable to all communities.

The CBE began a public consultation in May 2014 to determine whether any changes needed to be made to the process. An online consultation began to share information about the ranking criteria, to gather information about stakeholder values and to obtain feedback on the criteria. This input was then discussed in more depth at three focus group sessions:  one with CBE school principals and two with stakeholders from various communities. A drop-in open house was held in September for the public to view the proposed revisions.

“Public input into the review process was used to assist in ensuring the criteria used to develop the rankings were fair and equitable to all communities,” said Coppinger. “The feedback we received was that the revisions to the criteria reflected the stakeholder voices and was non-discriminatory in the method for ranking communities.

What’s New

For new school ranking the CBE will now use specific numbers of students rather than a points range. It will consider all pre-school children, not just public school supporters.

Another change will be travel time that takes into account actual distance of the community to the school and not just the median travel time.

And finally, the CBE will look at five year future community growth, rather than three years of past community growth.

“We have refined our processes and added additional information for the new school criteria,” said Coppinger.

Modernizations will now be identified and prioritized by the CBE’s Superintendents Team. The points awarded in some areas have been slightly adjusted.

Finally, the new modular classroom criteria outline seven filters to determine eligibility. The 2015-16 Modular Classroom Plan was approved by the CBE Board of Trustees on Oct. 14 based on these new ranking criteria.

“The biggest take away from this process and the public engagement is the confirmation that the process we were using was a good one and it has been revised slightly to make identification priorities more defined,” said Coppinger. “We expect this new criteria will serve us for the next few years.”

Revised New School Ranking Criteria (K-9)

Previous Criteria

Community Enrolment and Growth Profile

  • Student enrolment
  • Preschool census (public supporters only)
  • Three-year community growth

Busing and Travel Time

  • Median travel time
  • Number of bus receivers

Accommodation Available for the Community

  • Existing K-4 school in community
  • More than 2 school moves between K-9

Revised Criteria

  • Preschool census using all preschool children (eliminated points range and actual number)
  • Enrolment in CBE schools
  • Projected five-year sector population growth
  • Median travel time (new formula takes in to account travel time and distance of overflow school to the community
  • Number of bus receiver schools required for the community
  • Existing K-4 or starter school approved or in existence
  • Greater than 2 transition points (K-9)


Revised Modernization Ranking Criteria  

Previous Criteria

  • Role of the school and accommodation plans (30 points)
  • Enrolment, utilization and enrolment projects (25 points)
  • Site features and location (5 points)
  • Facility condition (40 points)
  • Ability to upgrade the facility (30 points)

Revised Criteria

  • Superintendents Team identify and prioritize based on system programming needs
    (35 points)
  • Enrolment, utilization, enrolment projections and accommodation plan (10 points)
  • Site features and location (10 points)
  • Facility condition/needs (25 points)
  • Ability to upgrade the facility ( 20 points)

Senior high schools will continue to be placed in the priority ranking based on a recommendation by CBE Administration based on future needs determined by demographic information.

Eligibility Filters for Modular Classrooms
  • Is the school over or projected to be over 90% in the next 3 years?
  • Is the accommodation challenge due to out-of-boundary students?
  • Does the school accommodate students from a community that is approved for a new school?
  • Is the school a starter school?
  • Is there a school in an adjacent community that can accommodate the students in the long-term?
  • Will the addition of modular classrooms accommodate projected enrolment for the next 3-5 years?
  • Can the school site accommodate additional modular classrooms?

If the does not meet any of these filters, the school will not proceed to the ranking process