SD61 Board Meeting, May 21/13: The Record Off The Record: The Civil Discourse Edition

The Record Off The Record is my personal record of and commentary on Board and Standing Committee meetings in School District 61 (Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Victoria, View Royal and a portion of Saanich and Highlands ). “Official” approved minutes of Board  and Standing Committee  meetings  are posted on the SD61 website under the “Board of Education” menu, (Education Policy Development Committee is posted as “Education Meetings”; Operations Policy and Planning Committee is posted as “Operations Meetings”) generally one month after the meeting. Reports from Camera meetings are posted on the Board meeting page as “Section 72 Reports”. “Section 72” refers to Section 72 (3) of the BC the School Act which states “ A board must prepare a record containing a general statement as to the nature of the matters discussed and the general nature of the decisions reached at a meeting from which persons other than trustees or officers of the board, or both, were excluded, and the record must be open for inspection at all reasonable times by any person, who may make copies and extracts on payment of a fee set by the board.” The meeting schedule is posted on the District CalendarTrustees  are referred to by last name only for brevity; “the Board of Education of SD No. 61 (Greater Victoria) is referred to as “the Board [etc]”. No audio recordings are made of Standing Committee meetings, only of Board meetings. (No record of how the audio recording decision was made, or any debate on proposed uses of and storage of the record appears to exist.)

Letters / emails received: 10 WiFi, 1 wind turbines, 1 elementary school rugby and safety, 1 public funds subsidizing private school.
An In Camera Meeting preceded the public Board meeting: 6:45 – 7:30.

A. Commencement of Meeting: Board Chair: Trustee Orcherton
Recognition of Songhees  and Esquimalt Nations’ traditional territories.

A.1. Approval of the Agenda: Approved; addition of Karen Weiss and Peter Milne at A.6.
A.2. Approval of the Minutes:
a) Minutes of April 15, 2013: Approved
b) Minutes of April 17, 2013 (Special Budget Meeting): Approved
A.3. Business Arising From the Minutes: None

A.4. Student Achievement: [A decision was made via vote to discontinue recording of students who present at Board meetings.  A majority of trustees believed that audio and public video recording of students at a public meeting somehow endangers students; thus recording begins after student presentations have finished. Photos of students and their first names along with their school appear on the District Board Highlights page.]

a) Island Ukuleles: Tina Horwood along with Matthew Martin from Rockheights  and students: Members of this group are “virtuousos of joy”! This presentation left everyone wanting more. A delight.

A.5. District Presentations:
a) Donald Adams,
Oaklands Elementary School, Teacher

Mr. Adams was presented with an award recognizing his selection as the 2013 Todd Rogers Research Award, “..from the Canadian Educational Researchers’ Association for leadership in evidence based research. The ceremony will take place on June 3rd at the University of Victoria during the association’s annual general meeting. “ Mr. Adams is enrolled in UBC’s Master of Educational Technology graduate program. “The Master of Educational Technology (MET) is a graduate-level program offered by The University of British Columbia…. The MET curriculum is designed for educators at all levels and in diverse contexts.”

A.6. Community Presentations:

a) Clint Lalonde,  Client Services Manager, Curriculum Services & Applied Research at BCCampus; parent (two children at Willows School), active in the school Parent Advisory Council.  Mr. Lalonde has posted his presentation on his “Wifi In Schools: Because Our Kids Need It” site. His website summarizes the first three speakers’ presentations.

  • Applications use WiFi  [Many don’t need WiFi to operate .]
  • Removing WiFi has pedagogical implications [Some Silicon Valley IT executives think the implications are positive ones as screen time is reduced,  and send their children to a no-screen Waldorf school in Los Altos.]
  • Wired connections encourage a sedentary lifestyle: “Indeed, wired internet connections have health risks of their own as they enforce sedentary behaviour as children are forced to remain in one spot to use computers. Sedentary behaviour is actually something that has been proven to be a health risks.” [Walking from a chair to the floor with an iPad hasn’t been recognized as a significant part of an active lifestyle. Any screen time cuts into physical activity. Running with an iPad is about as safe as running with scissors. The BC Ministry of Education on one hand seems believe we can’t  learn much worth knowing in the 21st century without iPads and bring-your-own-smartphones constantly on in classrooms, while on the other hand the Ministry funds Action Schools BC which recommends less than two hours a day of screen time for children. Willows School (along with almost every other school in SD61) is an Action Schools member. The Action School program is aligned with the Childhood Obesity Foundation: “Reducing inactive screen time has many benefits from better grades and school performance to improved health and well-being. Screen Smart does NOT ask students to give up screens.  Instead the program teaches children and their families how to manage screen time. “]
  • Health Canada, Vancouver Island Health Authority, Alberta Health, Ontario Health, and BC Provincial Health Officer all tasked with protecting public health [all referenced and linked in Lined Paper May 13, 2013 ] say WiFi is safe. [At one time such organizations said asbestos,  tobacco and thalidomide for morning sickness were safe, too.]
  • WiFi opponents are discrediting public health officials. [This is an interesting redefinition of “disagreement” as “discrediting”. Note: Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 EMF safety standards are based only on thermal effects and are considered obsolete and in adequate by many international bodies.In November 2007 – more than five years ago – Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown recommended Health Canada’s Safety levels for microwave exposure be lowered by a factor of 100x.] 
  • People need to know what is and what is not valid information. [Given hundreds of studies questioning the safety of electromagnetic frequency radiation, determining what is “valid” science may be difficult. Choosing to disregard conclusions of research scientists that lead to a recommendation of at the very least, employing the “Precautionary Principle”, may well be the equivalent of enthusiastically endorsing industry-promoted WiFi ubiquity while ignoring safety concerns. )

“When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof. The process of applying the precautionary principle must be open, informed and democratic and must include potentially affected parties. It must also involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including no action.”Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle, Jan. 1998

 In December 2001 the New York Times Magazine listed the principle as one of the most influential ideas of the year, describing the intellectual, ethical, and policy framework SEHN had developed around the principle.

My own comment from the March 24, 2013 SD61 meeting  [At D.1] was quoted back to me. in this presentation. Here’s what I said”: A lot of the research [on EMF effects] is hard for me to understand since I’m not a physicist.That’s why I read the research and the summaries by the many PhDs and MDs who have concluded that Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 is obsolete.  

  • Meta analysis vs single studies are important. [Many meta analyses are readily available on a range of specific topics related to electromagnetic frequency radiation exposure. One meta-analysis examining the possibility of increased risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with EMF exposure concluded “Our data suggest a slight but significant ALS risk increase among those with job titles related to relatively high levels of ELF-EMF exposure. They all look interesting.]
  • Take a proactive approach and ask public health officials if the following studies and organizations are are credible: The BioInitiative Report, American Academy of Environmental Medicine. [The study and the organization certainly have their share of detractors. Consider reading Dr. Martin Blank‘s book as soon as it’ published: “Martin Blank earned PhDs in physical chemistry (1957) from Columbia University and in colloid science (1960) from University of Cambridge. He came to the department in 1959, retired as Associate Professor in 2011 and is now a Special Lecturer. His research has been on membranes, transport processes, excitation, and recently on health effects of electromagnetic radiation (EMR). His book on health effects of EMR is due out at the end of 2013.“]
  • Some people are raising fear and uncertainty and doubt about the safety of our kids [I guess I’m one of them.] 

So, WiFi K-5: “Because our kids need it”? Compilations of scientific opinions concluding that our kids don’t need it keep me aligned with the Precautionary Principle, particularly for K-5 schools. Hard wired computers and laptops on battery are available K-5. Many apps don’t need WiFi to operate. All middle schools (Grades 6-8) and secondary schools in SD61 have already been WiFi’d.

b) Valerie Irvine,PhD : Associate professor UVic,   parent (children in Grades 1 and 4). Presentation:  Learning Design Powerpoint: WiFi    (The slides for “From Fixed to Free Learning Design” are available on Mr. Lalonde’s blog, “Wifi In Schools”: Because Our Kids Need It.”)

Dr. Irvine prefaced her talk by saying some would accuse her of a conflict of interest as she is an assistant professor at the University of Victoria, working as the Director of the TIE Lab, which is funded by various funders, and a number of corporate sponsors.

From the TIE site: ” {Dr Irvine]  is the co-founder and co-director of the new $750,000 CFI/BCKDF-funded Technology Integration and Evaluation (TIE) Research Lab, which includes high definition codecs, mobile laptop carts, recording and streaming solutions, graduate student research space, an experimental classroom, and advanced video, statistical, qualitative, and log data analysis software.  The lab was also funded by multiple sources at the University of Victoria and Knowledge North (CANARIE). Her research interests involve integrating and evaluating educational technologies into various learning environments (distributed or face-to-face) and with various populations (health, higher ed, K-12). ….Formerly called the CFI/BCKDF Resource Office, the new Institutional Programs Office provides administrative and strategic support to researchers pursuing major federal, provincial and regional infrastructure awards. These awards are primarily offered at the federal level by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, at the provincial level by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Several Other Things via the BCKDF fund,  and regionally by WD (Western Economic Diversification Canada). ”        

  • So what is “Fixed Learning Design”? Looks like the “fixed” part has something to do with furniture as the second slide (first slide is a title page)  is a photo of c 1940 bolted down desks, in rows.
  • The third slide is a typical teacher-dissing cartoon: kids in rows (in newer desks than the previous slide, though) looking at a teacher at the front of the room, captioned  “I expect you all to be independent, innovative, critical thinkers who will do exactly as I say!” I’m not laughing, because as a former CUPE classroom assistant for 10 years, and teacher in public schools for 25 years I find this cartoon deeply insulting.
  • Fourth slide: more furniture, more modern desks, a blackboard, desks not in rows, which must be an indicator of improved learning as the slides appear to be  arranged in evolutionary sequence.I haven’t foudn any research that says desks in rows actually prevent learning, though.
  • Five: student sitting at hardwired computer in a “computer lab”. True enough, computers are not an exotic element in education any more, and should not remain captive in a “lab”, although there may be desirable aspects at times to having everyone on the same operating system and using the same apps, with instant ability to print as needed, particularly  in K=5 settings. The computer labs I’ve seen in public schools are there because of cash raised by parents at bake sales and dances and schools scrimping and saving (some of that “surplus” in the School District budget is due to schools saving for long term project such as computer labs, which probably aren’t on the wish list any more – more likely the list includes mobile laptop carts, etc). By the time the school can afford to buy computers for he lab (and the school then had to keep them for as long as possible to justify the expense) they were well behind in power what many students had at home, particularly in affluent areas The BC Ed Plan  plans to  to solve that problem for the future by this innovative step: you buy it yourself! Parents will be expected  to pay for the technology and data plans – students will be  expected  to bring their own device. Problem solved. Or problem offloaded.
  • Six: hardwired laptop in computer lab. We get it. Unnecessarily static placement. Could be hardwired in a classroom, hardwired to a mobile cart.
  • Seven: Elementary school students more or less in rows at even more up to date desks, with laptops on the desks. Yes, it looks physically static. Some would say “orderly”. Doesn’t by definition prevent learning, though.
  • Eight: students in desks in squares, peering at tablets on desks.
  • Nine: A Twitter feed screen capture superimposed on a forest. Scary, given the rush to WiFi public parks and National parks..
  • Ten: Students on floor or in beanbags peering at tablets. Maybe this is the “free” part. Or the “free” part is access to the Internet through the School District firewall that hopefully prevents access to “inappropriate” content.But that access is available with hardwired access. “Free” can’t mean just “not sitting in desks”.

West Hartford (Connecticut) School’s BYOD page outlines some of the supervision and responsibility problems inherent to BYOD. It’s interesting reading, for the issues raised and for the ubiquitous  “21s Century Learning” boilerplate text. Reading this stuff is getting to be the education equivalent of going to McDonald’s.

  • Eleven: Student walking around with tablet using a visual application to do something with a giant map on the floor.
  • Twelve: Students all over the floor with tablets and other learning items. No desks. Can’t complain. Sitting in desks for hours each day was never something I thought was good for kids.
  • Thirteen: Students in overstuffed chairs or on couches working with tablets, books, paper. No desks. Looks preferable to desks, unless you want to write, and perhaps writing is giving way to typing on screens.
  • Fourteen: Back to desks with tablets; two students interacting about what is on the screen of one tablet. I’ve actually seen this happen without a tablet. Students interact about all kinds of aspects of their learning, encouraged by teachers..
  • Fifteen: A sign planted in grass: “No Tecknolegy”. This could be insulting, but I can’t be bothered. Let’s move on.
  • Sixteen: Secondary School with lots of money? A University study space? Students at large square desks with paper, laptops.
  • Seventeen: Outside on Salt Spring Island: Tour With Ministry of Education and John Abbott.  No tablets evident. (Salt Spring Public School District 64 Superintendent Jeff Hopkins has started his own private school  which will open in September 2013. He is no longer listed on the “staff page” for SD64.One of the exciting things  that student can do, apparently, is math drills on an iPod touch deices instead of worksheets. I wonder how long the excitement will last.)
  • Eighteen: Primary class students trying to copy using pencils from posters on a wall, holding their papers up to the wall. I used to do this a lot as I could not see, and no one twigged to a need for corrective lenses till Grade Six. I hated doing this; it was uncomfortable and difficult. I’ll bet these kids feel the same. Maybe some of them need glasses.
  • Nineteen: A multiplication worksheet, a page of repetitive addition and subtraction drill “facts”. Split screen shot of a device with a more interesting visual – not static – that can achieve the same drill end for memorization. Looks marginally more fun. But here’s the question: Is there still a place for memorization of math facts? Of anything? Can raw memorization be “fun”? Does all learning have to be “fun”?

An interesting discussion on Staffroom Confidential blog: “Learning is hard. And learning hard things is harder. Learning also is often uncomfortable. And sometimes it is boring. Anyone who has learned to play the violin knows that it takes at least 10,000 hours of often repetitive practice that sounds bad. There is no shortcut. You can play with others, play pieces you like, and perform. These all make it more fun. And you hopefully learn along the way that the practice is worth it. And this is what motivates you to practice more.”

  • Twenty: Two young girls in a big chair, each looking at her own handheld device. Let’s hope that school WiFi firewall is working, and that there is no unauthorized hotspot or router as, if everyone’s got their own device, it’s difficult for one teacher to see what each student is looking at, and without the District firewall in place, it could be anything.
  • Twenty-One: Smiling young girl with block construction, art projects in the background, one of them an electronic  display. “Rearranging the building blocks has risk… but we otherwise risk irrelevance.”

Some very progressive schools, notably Los Altos  Waldorf School of the Peninsula, have no screens at all. None. This is an affluent area, much of the wealth driven by high tech. 

Not many schools are going to buck the industry-promoted screen trend, and the mistaken idea that WiFi connectivity and a lot of screen time are necessary for “21st Century Learning”, though, so a caveat: In the 21st Century Learning model technology defines the learning methods. It is absolutely backwards – rather than pedagogy defining if and what technologies are used, instead, it is technology driving the choices for learning. As such, it is fundamentally different than the type of technology integration we’ve seen in the past. It is also, ironically, antithetical to a student-centred or personalized approach because the technology is driving decisions, not student needs.”

  • Twenty-Two: A Thank You slide.

The evolution from “fixed learning” to “free learning” seems to be a move from  desks to kids on floors and comfy chairs, using tablets instead of books and paper. I’m all for getting out of those desks, even the modern ones, as much as practical. But remember, the BC Ministry of Education funds Active Schools,  aligned with the Childhood Obesity Foundation that recommends less than two hours of screen time a day. So after two hours (and that’s assuming no hours after school), the students will be on the floor and in the comfy chairs doing… what? A table or two – even some desks – could prove useful. On and off switches on WiFi routers, and actually using them, seems to be part of “unfreeness” and a “teacher centred classroom”. It’s not clear how turning off a WiFi router makes a classroom “teacher centred”.

The presentation concluded with Dr. Irvine saying “Elementary Schools are getting the shaft” as there is at present no WiFi access in K-5 schools in SD61. For some people, no WiFi seems to equate to “no learning”. The wealthy California parents, many of whom work in the high tech industry,  who send their children to the Waldorf School of the Peninsula would obviously argue against that. They don’t  even seem to mind their children sitting in desks in rows, some of the time.

Lots to think about.

c) David Leach, Director of the Technology and Society program at UVic, parent of two  children in SD61, kindergarten and Grade One: WiFi  Mr. Leach’s presentation is on the “Because They Need It” site.

Mr. Leach’s child read a poster from Citizens For Safe Technology (possibly this one, below) that was posted close to the school, and asked if WiFi would make him sick.

WiFi Information Session March 7 2013

WiFi Information Session March 7 2013

Mr Leach says the Precautionary Principle is already enshrined: ”The fact is, the Precautionary Principle is already implemented in the Wifi guidelines and exposure limits set by the World Health Organization, Health Canada, and other public-health bodies. “

Nope. The Canadian Environmental Law Association states: “The precautionary principle denotes a duty to prevent harm, when it is within our power to do so, even when all the evidence is not in. “

There are many studies pointing toward likely harm, particularity for children, from the effects of non thermal electromagnetic radiation. A few have been posted on the SD61 WiFi page, and  on Lined Paper, March 20, 2013.

Mr. Leach says “withholding an educational tool is inexcusable”. Internet access is the “tool”, not the device, or access via WiFi. Internet access is available in every school in SD 61. WiFi is not the tool, but simply a way to get online.

Mr. Leach wants the Board to say “WiFi is safe”. All I can  say in conscience is “Health Canada Safety Code 6 says WiFi is safe but it only measures thermal effects. Many people think that is enough but many legislators and scientists internationally think that is an obsolete standard and have concluded that exposure levels need to be much lower, especially for children”.

The safety of WiFi in K-5 schools in SD61 will eventually come to a vote of the Board. We are all waiting on a Victoria Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils survey, and a subsequent report.

d) Karen Weiss, community member, parent of SD61 student: Bullying

Ms. Weiss stated  School District 61 has a Discrimination Policy which states : Discrimination includes harassment, any negative or adverse conduct, comment, gesture or contact, and systemic barriers based on the above grounds. This conduct is harmful and can create a working or learning environment that is intimidating, humiliating, or uncomfortable. It includes any behaviour that is known, or reasonably should be known, to be offensive.Unfortunately the WiFi in School issue has become and area where disrespectful and bullying behaviour continues to take place.”

Ms Weiss handed out a list of social media comments [backed up by screen shots] of an ongoing Twitter exchange about WiFi in schools using a variety of hashtags, It’s interesting reading. The entire speech is posted on Parents For A Safe School. Sample tweets, hashtags #WTF, #zerocredibility:

  • “Maybe we should have wifi activism days. Wear tinfoil to show support” (VI)
  • “He presented himself as an oddity… BCEducation is bowing to THIS lowest common denominator? Shame” (VI)
  • “Thank heavens ignorance and superstition is not acquired via osmosis.” (VI r/t)
  • “Now we have inequity in BCED because of parent extremists hijacking School District” (VI)
  • “They have SD hostage. Apparently some radical parent group threatening to sue” (VI)
  • “Bizzaro”
  • “Annoying”
  • “Trolls”
  • Nutbars
  • “This could be a Pseudo-science drinking game”
  • Ridiculous. They may as well confine their children to bomb shelters their whole lives
  • “Well if it was for the weird couple at my PAC meeting tonight Asking me to turn my phone to airplane mode” (VI)
  • “A nutter at the PAC asked me to turn my cell to airplane mode” (VI)
  • “They’re uneducated because wifi distracted them from learning. Haha. Or lack of WiFi”
  • Followed by “No, their tinfoil hats protect them from the “danger
  • “WiFi and internet make a mass of knowledge available. If they used it, they’d find that wifi doesn’t pose risks”
  • Would they be anti-printing press?”
  • Tinfoil Hats Mandatory
  • “I wonder if people who object to integrating technology into learning have ever tried it? (VI)
  • Response: I remember using a pencil once. But it broke” I’ve been afraid of them ever since”
  • To SD63: “Disappointing you don’t yet have wifi in your elementary schools to implement” #FAIL
  • “We won’t have a sci-fi future if the Luddites win” (DL)
  • “Surreal moral hysteria” (DL)
  • “I helped my 7 year old son build an AM radio this afternoon … which is, of course, the gateway drug to experimenting with wifi” (DL)
  • “Alas, scientists who reviewed “evidence” found it less compelling. In related news: they’re from France” (DL)
  • “Madzers, all of them”
  • “Religious revival meeting”
  • “Circular reasoning of moral panic” (DL) (In reference to the recent OPPS Meeting expert presenter Katharina Gustavs)

Ms Weiss noted that in  response to Trustee Deborah Nohr’s Times Colonist letter (VI r/t); hashtags include #rollingmyeyes,  #whonottovoteforinSD61 (VI), #FAIL

  • “Tin Foil Alert” followed by
  • “Has she USED a laptop or iPad?” followed by
  • “I need to encourage a Board with sense to open here” (V)

Ms Weiss listed these tweets as “On the bullying issue”:

  • “We should focus on responsible citizenship. It shocks me how horrible some people can be.” (VI)
  • “A bully is a bully, cyber or not”
  • Your informed consent remark makes me chuckle
  • Fasten your, uh, tinfoil helmet” (followed by a link to a Guardian editorial with a photo of a man wearing a ridiculous expression and a tin foil hat.)· 

After someone posted “Ridicule is counterproductive… Education Principles and Strategies more effective” was this response:

  • “I met some of the activists. [they are] Ridicule worthy”  (VI)

Ridicule, dismissal of research that does not align with mainstream results, and ad hominem attacks do not equate to reasoned argument.

e) Peter Milne, IT business owner, parent of child in SD61 school: Conflicts of Interest  Mr. Milne’s submission is not published online. Some excerpts:

  • “There is evidence of conflicts of interests in the decision making to implement and use wireless technologies in our district locally, beyond Health Canada as high up as the World Health Organization. As elected officials you are accountable to our school community and to the public and it is therefore imperative that you be aware of any and all potential conflicts of interests, especially where there are confirmed or potential risks to those in our school community.”
  • “As time is limited I am formally requesting a position on the next board meetings agenda to specifically address the documented conflicts of interest from our Health Authorities both locally and World Wide.”

A.7. Trustees’ Reports :
School Groups’ Assigned Trustees ( Secondary Schools, and their neighbourhood Middle and K-5 schools):  Esquimalt: Leonard, McNally  / Mt Doug: Nohr / Oak Bay: McEvoy / Vic High: Ferris / Reynolds: Horsman / Spectrum: Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga / Lambrick: Orcherton

Reports from Horsman, McNally, Nohr.

  • McNally: Jane’s Walk with local urban historian Vincent Gornall, focussing on the Burnside-Gorge Community Plan, the part that Tillicum School plays in the community, and the part schools in general as community organizations play in neighbourhoods, including how the land and building is utilized for community purposes in addition to schooling. Burnside School was closed in 2006.It is now leased to the Burnside-Gorge Community Association, and used for a variety of purposes.Two visits to and two-session participation in Craigflower School’s volunteer-delivered reading support program. Attended Esquimalt Secondary School’s musical production Guys and Dolls. A delight!
Guys and Dolls: Esquimalt High Production

Guys and Dolls: Esquimalt High Production

B. Chair’s Report: The Chair reported on activities undertaken in the role as Board Chair, and thanked Trustee McEvoy for past service as President of the BCSTA.

C. Board Committee Reports

C.1 Education Policy Development Committee
a) Minutes: May 6, 2013: Information only (official minutes need approval at the next Education Policy meeting, June 10, before posting to the SD61 website

C.2 Operations, [sic] Policy and Planning Committee Meeting [Operations Policy and Planning]
a) Minutes: May 13, 2013: Information only ( official minutes need approval at the next combined Ed Policy and Operations meeting, June 10, before posting to the SD61 website)

D. District Leadership Team Reports
Learning Improvement Fund Summary: Deputy Superintendent

  • Equivalent of approximately 16 teacher positions (GVTA) added over the school year, with 7 FTE (full time equivalent) added in September.
  • 212 top-up hours for CUPE Education Assistants to bring part time EAs closer to full time, and 61 additional hours for meetings. 284 new Education Assistant hours provided via new hires.
  • $15, 649 allotted to professional development.
  • As of April 2013, $17,800 remained in the fund. Disbursement (round figures) $1,240,000 to GVTA; $660,000 to CUPE 947; $15,000 for professional development.
  • A similar allocation for the funding when it arrives from the Ministry of Education is contemplated for the next school year.

E. Reports From Trustee Representatives:

BCPSEA Trustee Rep: Ferrris: No report.
BCSTA Provincial Council Rep: Horsman:
No report.
Budget Advisory: Alpha, Ferris, Horsman, Orcherton: Needs budget motion (below)
Culture and Community: Nohr, Orcherton: No report.
District Gay-Straight Alliance Council: Alpha, Horsman: No report.
Aboriginal Nations Education Council: Loring-Kuhanga: No report
French Immersion Advisory: Ferris: No report
Healthy Schools: Nohr: No report
Junior Achievement BC Regional Committee: Ferris: No report
Joint Job Evaluation (District): Alpha, Ferris: No report
Negotiation Advisory Committees (District):
  ASA: Leonard: No report
CUPE 382: Ferris; No report
CUPE 947: Ferris: No report
Exempt: Nohr: No report
Vice Principals and Principals Association: Nohr: No report
Teachers (local issues): McNally, Orcherton: No report (No meetings; GVTA bargaining objectives are public; as “the employer”, I have no idea what the Board’s bargaining objectives are. )
Saanich,[sic] Arts, Culture&Heritage Advisory Committee:Loring-Kuhanga: No report
Saanich,[sic] Healthy Advisory Committee: McNally: Report below
Saanich, [sic] Parks, Trails and Recreation: Loring-Kuhanga No report
Success By Six: McEvoy, McNally No report (no meetings this school year)
Swan Lake / Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary: Horsman: No report
Vancouver Island Labour Relations Association: Ferris: No report
Victoria Chamber of Commerce: Nohr: No report

The Healthy Saanich Advisory Committee has been re-formed with a new chair, Saanich Councillor Paul Gerrard. Former Chair Dean Murdock was appointed Chair of the Environment and Natural Areas Advisory Committee as of April 1, 2013. Angie, a student representative from the Saanich Youth Council, who is also a student at Mt Douglas Secondary School in SD61 attended the April 18 meeting. Her thoughtful participation was much appreciated. Next meeting of the HSAC  June 20.

F. New Business / Notice of Motions:

F.1 Needs Budget: Ferris:

That the Board [etc] submit the District Needs Budget [appended to agenda] as well as our balanced budget. / Carried. For: Alpha, Ferris, Horsman, Loring-Kuhanga, McEvoy, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton. Abstain: Leonard.

A true “needs budget “ motion was defeated at the March 25, 2913 Board meeting: McNally: That The Board of Education School District 61 Greater Victoria submit only a needs budget reflecting remedies for the ongoing structural deficit, and reflecting current costs for restoration of all service levels to the general levels of service in all departments that existed in 2001. / Defeated. Against: Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga, McEvoy, Orcherton For: McNally, Nohr Absent: Alpha 

The “needs budget:” in this motion (appended to agenda) contemplates a 5% increase in funding

  • Horsman: Board has  submitted “restoration budget “ along with balanced budget in the past which addressed all the cuts I SD61; what if the Provincial government could see what a difference even 5% would make?

Restoration Budget (Trustee Catherine Alpha [2009] ) It was moved and seconded That the Annual Budget Bylaw on the Agenda for consideration by the Board be amended to include the amount of $29,824,000 in order to reflect the amount of the Restoration Budget as prepared by the Secretary-Treasurer. Motion Defeated    For: Trustees Alpha, Orcherton and Young Against: Trustees Ferris, Holland, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy and Pitre

  • McNally: The move to per-pupil funding and continual offloading of unfunded liabilities to School Districts is the problem; at his point, would take the additional 5% if it were offered as it’s better than no increase.
  • Leonard: Can’t support this; the District is overdrawn by $8,000,000 [the structural deficit carried every year] and that’s because we have too much staffing. Can’t support this.

F.2 Technology Installation:

McNally: That the SD61 IT department research and report back to the Board on costs for purchase, setup and maintenance of a live feed camera(s) in the Board room, the objective being live streaming and archiving (archive function to include key-word searches and RSS function) of Board meetings online. [Rationale at #8, Lined Paper May 13, 2013.]

  • Chair asked if the mover would withdraw. Declined.
  • Leonard: Motion to table. / Carried. Unanimous.

It’s never in order to use the motion to lay on the table to kill a motion or to delay its consideration. If the motion is made with improper intentions, the presiding officer should simply clarify the motion based on the maker’s intent.” Regardless of Robert’s Rules, a motion to table is used to kill or delay all the time, in this setting. It will be taken from the table after the Committee on Public Engagement makes a report.

G. Communications: None.
H. Public Disclosure  of In Camera Items:  the death of former SD61 Principal Maeva Sundher was announced. 

I. Adjournment: 9:25 pm

Next meeting:
Monday, June 10
, 7 pm Board Room: Combined Education Policy and Operations Policy and Planning Standing Committees
Monday, June 17, 7 pm Board Room: Board Meeting

About Diane McNally