Full agenda with attachments here.
In Camera meeting 6:00 pm- 7:30 pm before the public meeting.
Operations Policy and Planning Committee January 12, 2015
Student Representative: Monica Watkins, Victoria High School
1. Approval of Agenda: Adopted, with addition of notices of motion for Board meeting from Nohr (FSAs) , Paynter.
2. Approval of the Minutes:
a) OPPS November 10 /14: Approved (not posted to District website yet.) Lined Paper report here.
3. Business Arising From Minutes: None
a) Peter Milne (parent): Policy, Practice and Responsibility (provided comprehensive packup of EMF related information and updated research, link on Rogers K-5 website.)
“I’m here to address a number of issues that encompass fair and democratic processes and accountability when it comes to the health and safety of our children. When I wrote to the District this past week to request placement on the agenda, as a courtesy, I also informed that I would be recording the meeting. In response I was told that these meetings are not recorded. However, the School Act preamble begins with reference to democracy – a process our schools are meant to foster. This is a public meeting: Trustees are public officials who are meant to safeguard the public from reasonably foreseeable health hazards. For this reason, I will be filming the meeting as I and others have in the past so as to clarify any decisions made here tonight for those interested who cannot attend this meeting tonight. The intent of my presentation is to seek answers to a number of questions. I will read through them all and then provide you each with a copy so we can go through one at a time, as well as to assist with minute taking.
“The administration at my son’s school announced at the PAC meeting that Wi-Fi would be installed before a genuine consultation process provided an opportunity for informed consent. Instead, an uninformed yes/no vote occurred with no school-wide discussion. My observation is that at every level, this discussion has been minimized, controlled, dismissed and it is therefore in direct conflict with the often talked about educational pursuit to encourage critical thinking in our students. Below is an outline of the consultation process undertaken by Principal Cammy Coughlin and the Frank Hobbs Elementary School PAC:
- Nov 7, 2013 PAC meeting discussion on Wi-Fi – Previous to this, the topic of Wi-Fi was a regular occurrence at the PAC meetings. Parents agreed to await the decision of the Board of Education’s Wi-Fi committee before any decisions could be made.
- Jan 9, 2014 PAC meeting discussion – The Principal shared the Board of Education’s vote and response. Discussion was around how PAC wanted to proceed with consulting with the school community. PAC decided to conduct their own survey, specific to the parents at Frank Hobbs. PAC felt that 51% in favour of Wi-Fi would mean a “go” for the school.
- Jan 15, 2014 Staff meeting discussion and vote with teachers: 17/20 voted in favour of having Wi-Fi at the school (85%).
Jan 16, 2014 Information shared with parents via school newsletter about the potential of Wi-Fi at the school. An invitation was sent to provide feedback via the school’s email address.
- Jan 17 – 24, 2014 A survey was sent to all 211 Frank Hobbs parents through SurveyMonkey. The specific question was “Do you support the use of Wi-Fi at Frank Hobbs Elementary School?” An opportunity was provided to offer anonymous feedback.
- Jan 22, 2014 The Principal met with the CUPE support staff. All were in favour of having Wi-Fi at Frank Hobbs.
Jan 25, 2014 146/211 parents responded to the survey, and 68.5% were in favour of Wi-Fi being installed at Frank Hobbs.
- Feb 5, 2014 The results were shared via a “PAC update.” The PAC update is emailed to all Frank Hobbs families via Synervoice. Further to this, the results were shared in the Feb 20, 2014 PAC newsletter.
- No PAC meeting in March
- April 3, 2014 PAC Meeting – Discussion centred on the poll completed by both staff and the parent community resulting in 68% of the parent community in favour of Wi-Fi installation. PAC was told that it was hoped that Wi-Fi would be installed by Christmas of 2014. At the April 3rd, 2014 PAC Meeting, Mr. Peter Milne asked the Principal what would happen if a parent did not want their child at Frank Hobbs because of Wi-Fi. Mrs. Coughlin responded (with a full audience of people), that if a family chose not to be in a school that had Wi-Fi, they could come and see her and she would do what she could to assist the family to find a school without Wi-Fi. She informed the PAC that the District was asking elementary schools who would be planning to have W-Fi for next year. Mrs. Coughlin feels strongly that she and the PAC have adequately consulted the staff and school community. The PAC executive is fully on board with the installation of Wi-Fi and feels very confident that they have been transparent, honest, and have taken the time to consult with the parent community.No insurance coverage available .
- A parent’s right to prevent the child from possible or probable carcinogens at school: Given that there is information available that the insurance industry now excludes electromagnetic radiation and the possible health effects from the excessive use of SMART technologies from its policy coverage–
1. How has the school district planned to let parents know that the school does not have liability coverage for injury stemming from Wi-Fi routers and careless use of constant exposure to wireless technologies in our schools?
2. Have you investigated this issue and if so, what information have you been provided with, and from whom? Please note that our provincial health officer gave out a special report in 2010 – Investing in prevention, improving health and creating sustainability. In my mind, preventing cancer, starting in childhood, would certainly be beneficial to our national economy.
- Easy access to public information
3. How will you let parents and staff know of your findings regarding the lack of insurance coverage?
4. When can we expect to hear the steps you will take to find this information, as well as the process and timeline for providing this information (to the public)?
The School District carries a Comprehensive General Liability policy through Schools Protection Program which is liability to cover 3rd party claims that are made against the District. The Schools Protection Program originated and is administered and delivered by the Risk Management Branch of the Ministry of Finance, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education.
- The tracking of research findings
The District has a duty to inform parents on outstanding health and safety issues, such as the one on the agenda tonight. In all fairness, we have a right to know what references the Authorities rely on in their assessment of “good” and “bad” research with their claim of “no convincing evidence,” especially since streams of new evidence is published regularly.
5. How is the District tracking new research from health authorities and the scientific community?
6. How is the District providing the parents with the list of research of which our Health Authorities have reviewed and reasons for which they’ve found it to be of relevant concern or not to school districts?
Associate Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Pat Duncan, has the responsibility to monitor the following delegated health authorities and update the Board of Education should new information come forward from these medical experts with regard to the safety of Wi-Fi in our schools:
- `Dr. Richard Stanwick, Chief Medical Officer for the Island Health Authority – http://www.viha.ca,
- Dr. Perry Kendall, Provincial Health Officer – Office of the Provincial Health Officer – http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/pho/
- Health Canada – http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index-eng.php
- World Health Organization – http://www.who.int/en/
- Promise of accommodation
On several occasions it has been stated that families who, for preventative health reasons, disagree with the Wi-Fi roll-out in our schools, will be accommodated. In this regard, I’ve in fact already provided you with a non-consent letter but have not seen any public postings of this process. Since this is a public health concern, it is reasonable to expect a public posting.
7. Exactly what type of accommodation will you be providing and how will you be informing all parents of this process?
Let me be clear, segregating children to “learn” in isolation cannot be seen as accommodation. It is penalizing a child for the family’s right to protect against a probable carcinogen. [Provided to Mr. Milne, not attributed in coy of speech: Wherever and whenever possible, The Greater Victoria School District has always attempted to accommodate the needs and requests of parents and their children. If we are unable to accommodate the students and their parents in one of our forty-seven “bricks & mortar” schools, then we have historically been able to accommodate students through our Distributed Learning Program at the SJ Willis Education Centre. This same accommodation is available to Mr. Milne and any parent who does not want their child to attend a school with Wi-Fi installed.
For the 2014-15 school year we have confirmed that Rogers Elementary School will not be installing Wi-Fi. Mr. Milne can enroll his child at Rogers Elementary School for the 2014-15 school year if he so chooses. It is certainly a parent’s right to choose where and how they would like to educate their children. At the April 3rd, 2014 Frank Hobbs Elementary School PAC Meeting, Principal Cammy Coughlin communicated to Mr. Milne and the parents present at the PAC meeting that if a family chose not to be in a school that had Wi-Fi, they could come and see her and she would do what she could to assist the family to find a school without Wi-Fi. Mr. Milne states that having a student attend a DL school “is penalizing a child for the family’s right to protect against a probable carcinogen.” It should be noted that given the current scientific evidence, the consensus of public health practitioners is that electromagnetic fields from cell phones and Wi-Fi do not constitute a threat to the health of the public and are not considered a probable carcinogen. BC’s provincial Health Officer, Dr. Perry Kendall, provided guidance to the Ministry of Education that indicated that Wi-Fi is not a health hazard. As well, the condition of electromagnetic hypersensitivity is not one that is either a recognized medical condition or diagnosis.]
- In conclusion, my last question is in reference to the defeat of the recent motion calling on the District to post manual advisories for iPads.
- General Duties of the Employer
According to BC Occupational Health & Safety regulations, the general duties of the Employer is to – (quote) –ensure that employees are made aware of all known or reasonably foreseeable health or safety hazards to which they are likely to be exposed by their work (115, 2b, i) and –provide the employer’s workers the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure the health and safety of those workers in carrying out their work and to ensure the health and safety of other workers at the workplace (115, 2f).
Therefore, a minimum safety requirement today is the manufacturer’s manuals for devices and equipment used during their workday. The Regulatory Practices section of WorkSafe BC monitors scientific developments and is tasked with initiating regulatory changes when necessary. WorkSafe BC relies upon evidence and expertise from the British Columbia Provincial Health Officer and Health Canada regarding recommendations to protect workers (and the general public) from radio frequency electromagnetic fields. Given the current scientific evidence, the consensus of public health practitioners is that electromagnetic fields from cell phones and Wi-Fi do not constitute a threat to the health of the public.
A WorkSafe BC internal committee (Internal Occupational Disease Working Committee) has reviewed this issue and concluded that regulatory change is not necessary. Health Canada has addressed this issue and has more information, including a short video presentation on their website http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca. The condition of electromagnetic hypersensitivity is not one that is either a recognized medical condition or an occupational disease. Therefore, 115, 2b,i and 115, 2f of the BC Occupational Health & Safety regulation do not apply.
This motion should not have been required and certainly should not have been defeated. It is imperative that trustees be well aware of the employer’s duty to uphold a bare minimum for the health and safety of the District’s employees. Therefore, the manufacturer’s advisory is minimum requirement, not Safety Code 6, which is general guidance on recommended levels.
8. How do you plan to ensure that every employee is provided this information and is using all technology equipment in accordance with the manual advisories?
The Greater Victoria Board of Education is committed to meeting all of the legal and regulatory requirements required by the BC Occupational Health & Safety Regulations. Past practice for the distribution of technology equipment has included, but not been limited to, instruction and direction on the appropriate, correct and efficient use of the equipment. In the future the GVSD is proactively committed to developing a procedure to ensure that manufacture’s User Manuals and Handbooks will be distributed to all users.
- Nohr: Would like to be involved in a review and bring this issue forward. Reference material provided is useful in considering accommodation for staff and students and considerations of EMF.
- ELK: Have voted in the past in favour of the Precautionary Principle. Appreciate the work and the references.
- Camille Jurasz (parent): Vague process in place for support. The VCPAC survey was very vague – some people who answered it thought they were voting to have internet access. There is a worldwide initiative to have the WHO classification of EMF reclassified as a probable carcinogen.
- Orcherton: On the second page of the packup provided, there is a reference to “conflict of interest” [in regard to a former employee of the Board]. Caution re public comments of that nature. People may want to review things that didn’t go the way they want; we are not reopening the conversation but are only working at accommodation. Rogers School is now consulting with parents re wifi. What are we looking at? Students with EMF sensitivity, hopefully medially supported.
- McNally: Not hard to rescind previous motions re wifi in K-5 as action is not difficult to reverse in order to go hardwired in a building. Just remove the routers.
- Milne: Not asking to retroactively undo this. Asking for better process and Policy going forward, especially with parents at Rogers. The Consultation Policy, Policy 1163, hasn’t been followed.
- Paynter: Is there a tracking mechanism for consultation?
- Superintendent: Yes. Process and decision is submitted to Superintendent.
[5. Sometimes but not this time: Superintendent’s Report]
5. Finance and Legal Affairs:
A. 2014/15 Funding Update: Secretary-Treasurer: [Any mistakes in this explanation are attributable to me, not to the Secretary-Treasurer.]
- Operating grant from the Province was increased by $2,723,319 at final student counts and will be included in amended budget. Final student count was 28.1 FTE (full time equivalents) more than projected. Adult learners are up by 1.6 = $7,272 income.
- Other small increases in funding plus Provincial holdback funding [see below, Malcomson] to this point reduced the deficit to $6.3 million as a structural deficit faced by SD61 when the 2015-16 fiscal year starts. Costs are projected to rise by 20% which brings the structural deficit back to $8.3 million projected for the 2015-16 fiscal year. When various one time only savings [unsustainable yearly cuts] and the projected spring Provincial holdback amount of $1.4 million are factored in, the projected deficit is $2.6 million. Other factors to take into account: Exempt staff and Principals / Vice Principals increase in salary; possible changes to the 2015-16 funding formula (unlikely). Now will look in other accounts for for possible savings in order to balance the budget as required by the School Act.
John Malcomson on “holdback funds” in the Tyee, March 13, 2007: According to a report currently circulating amongst district secretary-treasurers, the Ministry of Education has quietly decided to revise the rules governing funding allocations to districts. The specific object of this change is the funding allocation holdback.
The holdback is a portion of the ministry’s annual funding allocation to districts that is reserved from distribution when the funds start to flow. This is because the initial allocation figures are estimates, based on projected student enrolments. These estimates are readied in the spring that precedes the start of the coming school fiscal year on July 1. When actual student counts and other data elements are known, the funding holdback is released to allow for necessary district-level funding adjustments based on accurate figures.
That is the way it has worked historically. Until this year. Now the rules have silently been changed.
- Orcherton: Any information on the money from September savings due to the strike?
- Secretary-Treasurer: Provincial government will claw back more than expected. And SD61 had extra costs associated with International Students [who had arrived but had no school based programming due to the strike]. However, increased FTE in International student numbers will offset that cost. The Ministry took back teacher salaries and benefits savings and left the District to cover International student costs. ”Strike savings” are not part of this budget. By mid-March, will have all numbers in for next year’s budget.
- Loring-Kuhanga: The “one time only savings” is a bandaid for an $8.3 million structural deficit.
- David Marcovitz (parent): Did the government claw back the pay for teachers for the 8th day?
- Secretary-Treasurer: Teachers in SD61 have been paid according to the Collective Agreement in SD61.The SD61/GVTA Collective Agreement deducts for days not worked. Other Districts’ Collective Agreements pay for days worked. This September ahad 21 days. If it had been 20, there would not have been a problem. Government has said it will not pay for any more days than specified in Collective Agreements.
- Paynter: From March 26 to April 1 doesn’t give much time for School Planning councils and parents to consider the information. SPCs have to report back to PACS get other feedback; April 1st is a tight timeline for that.
- Leonard: Change the date to April 13, at OPPS.
- Secretary-Treasurer: Can do that. Dates will be revised to March 26-April 13.
- Leonard: Consider having half an hour of budget discussions going forward at every OPPS.[Direction to staff approved by all Trustees.]
- Orcherton: Could discuss what is meant by “fully funded public education”.
B. Yearly Budget Plan and Summary of Partner Group Budget Input 2015/16: See partner group input pp 8-14 agenda packup and on District website under “Our District / Financial”.
6. Public Disclosure of In Camera Items: None.
7. New Business /Notice of Motion: [New Business and Notices of Motion will be separated on future agendas as they are not the same thing.]
B. Nohr: That the Board request senior administration to provide a report at first OPPS after spring break outlining current and long term IT directions, priorities, and departmental goals, along with costs to the District for the past 3 years, and projected for 2015. / Carried as amended (below) Unanimous.
- Superintendent: Include help desk, salaries?
- Nohr: Project costs. Want to know if school based funding is leading to increases in learning.
- Leonard: OPPS as soon as possible.
- Whiteaker: Clarification – why back 3 years and 1 year forward? Costs of technology change fast; tech costs often drop. Projection for next year and data from last year might be enough to give desired data.
- Ferris: Trying to break down costs in the department is beyond our purview and will result in costs in staff time.
- Orcherton: Can’t support the last 3 years.
- Paynter: Overall sense that this information would be helpful with budget allocations.
- Loring-Kuhanga: Amendment: Provide report in April re current long term goals, and costs for 2014 and three year projection.
- Secretary-Treasurer: Can’t do that.
- Nohr: past year and current year would be ok; want 2013-14 to 2015-16..
- Secretary-Treasurer: Can look at plans and estimate costs.
- McNally: Will bandwidth costs be included in past, present and projected costs?
- Leonard: Will check when we get the report.
C. Nohr: That the Board request senior management to provide an update on the initiatives of the health and safety advisor to date including and explanation of Homewood Health and the costs involved. / Carried. For: Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Paynter, Watters Against: Ferris, Leonard, Orcherton, Whiteaker
- Nohr: Amend to include actual savings compared with projected savings.
- Leonard: Will come back to OPPS as soon as possible when budget is finished. Will require some time from Secretary-Treasurer.
- Nohr: Want to know how this position impacts student grad rates.. Will be the first update we’ve had.
- Orcherton: Program started in April, then strike, would like motion to say “anticipated cost”.
- Leonard: Have already asked for a report after a year.
- Celestina Azzoni (GVTA Executive Committee): How can this be estimated? What if it were a terrible health year for people?
- Nohr: The position exists in other organizations – must be some criteria for costing.
- Paynter: Original idea was that if every employee took one less sick day, this would be a self-funding position. How different are the sick day stats for this year than other years?
- Ferris: Not beneficial till we get the fiscal year done. Can’t compare with two months’ information. Need more time.
- Nohr: Homewood Health is part of the motion too. And questions around new position. This is information gathering for the Board. In 1 year more information will come forward.
D. Nohr: That the Board request the Superintendent and Secretary Treasurer to provide three possible funding for the teachers’ $400,000 salary / benefits to pay for the eighth day of work in September upon teachers’ return to the classroom after the trike settlement./ Carried. For: Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Paynter, Watters Against: Ferris, Leonard, Orcherton, Whiteaker
- Nohr: BCTF and BCPSEA agreed at bargaining table to pay 8th day and that is what we must do.
- Orcherton: The above argument is why we shouldn’t. The BCTF wanted more for wages and more money for special ed. You don’t get paid if you don’t work and they were on strike. [Teachers indentured to work for the day under discussion.] The GVTA sent a grievance letter about this on November 19th. They should take it to expedited arbitration for a decision and a dispute resolution mechanism. This will cost $420,000 if it includes benefits and add to the budget and will negatively impact students. This should follow grievance process . Can’t support going outside collective agreement.
- McNally: The Province via BCPSEA signed off on this agreement on our behalf [agreement above]. SD61 has an anomalous collective agreement as does Coquitlam. Coquitlam put out a press release [above] explaining why they were going to do the right thing and pay teachers for the day. Education is still going on in Coquitlam.
- Watters: Our beef is with the government, not the teachers.
- Ferris: This will move the budget shortfall to $3 million from $2.6 million. Finding $400,000 is the equivalent of 4 learning assistance teachers, 6 Education Assistants. Will have a huge impact. The system is chronically underfunded, but asking us to pay for the government’s underfunding is not fair to students.
- Leonard: The agreement didn’t say pay for 8 days. This is a bonus, and we will have to give a bonus to all employee groups in the District. Will bring a motion to that effect if this goes forward.
- Marcovitz: Did the District claw back the payment from Coquitlam? [The government did not fund the Coquitlam payment. Coquitlam went further in debt in order to pay, and asked the Province to cover that. The Province didn’t. ]
- Superintendent: Coquitlam has similar language and voted to pay, and move into deficit.
- Loring-Kuhanga: Can we get the agreement up on the screen?
- Superintendent: Not about September 19. Didn’t know it was an issue till we looked at the CA. We know teachers worked 8 days. We have tried to get the money from the province. In other Districts, like Vancouver, teachers did get paid. None of this is my personal decision as Superintendent. It’s the Board’s right to do this and that’s what happened in Coquitlam.
- Loring-Kuhanga: Teachers understood they would get paid. This is not a bonus payment. It’s our fight to take to the Ministry.
- Azzoni: If the Board does not pay then teachers are personally paying for it, and teachers paid a lot this summer . We came back to work by way of a voted on agreement but we have not been paid according to that.
- Paynter: Possible to get more info? Was not a Trustee when this occurred.
- Orcherton: Will set a precedent for going outside the Collective Agreement. BCTF and BCPSEA didn’t do homework. We should be arguing for this with the Province. Allow process to follow the CA. Why doesn’t GVTA go to arbitration? I ran to put students first and not the interests of any special group. [A couple of things: when an issue is settled on a “without prejudice” basis, the specific issue is resolved but neither party commits to taking or not taking the same position in future cases. When an issue is settled on a “without precedent” basis, the resolution of that particular issue can’t be referred to in future cases. In particular, it can’t be referred to in the future to demand that a future dispute be resolved consistently with the earlier dispute. ]
- Ferris: With Orcherton on this. Contractual issue. Should be followed though CA process. If you decide you’re going to give away $400,000 will do damage. And will do damage if we don’t pay it.
- Leonard: Lay off people? To fund this?
- Secretary-Treasurer: 90% of budget is salaries; 10% supplies. Will involve layoffs in the future.
- Carolina Tudela (parent) :Inappropriate to ask that question about layoffs at this time. The motion was to find alternatives.
- Nohr: The situation is exceptional. BCTF needed to do a better job with this as did the Ministry of Education/ BCPSEA. All those groups a bonus is suggested for got paid while teachers lost $1000s. I don’t believe we have to lose jobs as the bottom line on this.
E. Orcherton: That the Board set aside an hour on the OPPS agenda(s) to engage in ongoing discussions with Trustees, stakeholder groups and the public on defining what “fully funded” public education is. / Withdrawn, as Leonard has made time for discussion at OPPS meetings.
F. Watters: That the Board send a motion to BCSTA to be considered for addition to their upcoming Provincial Council agenda requesting that the BCSTA resolve to invite a local First Nations representative to conduct a traditional welcome at all provincial BCSTA conferences and academies./ Carried. Unanimous.
- Leonard: Loring-Kuhanga discovered that BCSTA is not taking late motions. Refer this?
- Waters: BCSTA will take it under consideration, but would amend for the AGM.
- McNally: It’s never too late to do the right thing.
G. Watters: That the Board request that the Secretary-Treasurer prepare a report to be included as an information item for discussion at the February 10/15 OPS meeting on the financial costs and benefits of BCSTA membership over the last 3 years including all association fees and conferences and the value of any services received. / Carried. For: Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Paynter, Watters Against: Ferris, Leonard, Orcherton Abstained: Whiteaker
- Watters: Want actual dollar mounts for evidence-based conversation.
- Secretary-Treasurer: Can’t quantify a qualitative service. Can report the annual fee, costs for conferences.
- Waters: Could we get an accounting of services received?
- Secretary-Treasurer: No accounting available. Have called BCSTA legal counsel for advice re elections, for example.
- Lorng-Kuhanga: Was Co-Chair of BCSTA Aboriginal Education Committee when a Trustee on Saanich SD63 Board. Have seen some benefits, some waste of money as well. It is subjective but would like to look at costs and benefits.
- Paynter: Got more real knowledge from SD61 orientation especially the legal presentation, than from BCSTA.
- Nohr: We pay $55,000 each year to hear government-speak all the way. Thee are no authentic conversations re underfunding. There are other ways for Trustees to get professional development.
H. Watters: That the Board direct the Chair to write a letter to the Minister of Education calling upon him to reverse his December 4/14 decision to stop funding graduated adult upgrading courses offered through the province’s K-12 public school system / Carried. Unanimous.
- Watters: No consultation with School Districts. Twenty courses are no longer funded.
Information provided by the Secretary-Treasurer’s Department: The following courses will no longer be Ministry-funded for graduated adults after May 1, 2015. These courses may be offered by School Districts on a fee for service basis:
- Apprenticeship and Workplace Math 11
• Chemistry 11
• Communications 11
• English 11
• Foundations of Math 11
• Français langue première 11
• Physics 11
• Pre-Calculus 11
• Apprenticeship and Workplace Math 12
• Biology 12
• Calculus 12
• Chemistry 12
• Communications 12
• English 12
• First Peoples English 12
• Foundations of Math 12
• Français langue première 12
• Physics 12
• Pre-Calculus 12
During the 2013-2014 school year, SD61 received Ministry funding for 443 course enrolments for 345 graduated adults. Courses taken by graduated adults are funded 50% upon registration and 50% upon completion. Assuming 100% completion for all courses, for the current school year to date ( including only September 2014 enrolment count and not February and May 2015 future counts), Ministry funding is expected for 165 course enrolments for 120 graduated adults. The new funding policy would bring funding for 22 courses for 19 graduated adults. Assuming 100% completion for those courses, estimated funding reduction related to September 2014 course enrolments would be $79,186.
- Ferris: Good idea; some students can’t afford Camosun and some might be more comfortable here.
- Whiteaker: Letter should refer to the loss of funding.
- Paynter: The unilateral announcement came out right after the Memo Of Understanding on Co-governance was presented at the BCSTA Academy! The money is a relatively small amount from government to assist students.
I. McNally: That the Board direct the Superintendent to conduct research examples, costs and processes for establishing a Strategic Plan, and report back to the Board with preliminary information at the earliest OPPS meeting possible./ Carried. Unanimous.
- McNally: Year by year survival is an unsettling and ad hoc way for the District to go forward in its service to students. At one public budget table years ago, one member of the public was astonished and upset that SD61 has no such plan. Boards and staff have for many years made valiant efforts to find one time only savings every year to do their best to cope with the ever increasing structural deficit.Dealing with the structural deficit in itself requires long term planning. Unpredictable funding and clawbacks on the part of the current Ministry of Education as an agent of the Provincial BC Liberal government have increased the challenge in regard to planning ahead.The Achievement contracts are a Ministry required report that some Districts choose to regard as replacements for a strategic plan. They do provide valuable information about important aspects of the District, and give some direction for planning. But they don’t formally look far enough ahead. Strategic planning is used to set priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen operations, can revitalize and focus stakeholder commitment in working toward common goals, works to establish agreement around intended outcomes/results that we reach for, and helps establish stability in response to a changing environment. Funding and demographics are only two variables to take into account. Strategic planning will articulate not only where SD61 going in terms of service for students and the actions needed to make progress, but also how we will know if we are successful in regard to aspects of SD61 overall operations that the Achievement Contract does not address. A strategic plan would assist the Board and staff by: Prioritizing financial needs and actions / Providing focus and direction to move from a plan to clear and accountable action / Helping plan human resources and operational needs. Looking through a large sample of BC School District websites I found 9 strategic plans. Some are mostly glossy-paper photos with minimal and fairly self congratulatory text. Some are more analytical and go deeper in terms of what’s working and what forward looking needs are.Some are done in house and some are done by outside contract. A SD61 strategic plan will be a document that communicates internally and externally SD61’s goals, the actions needed to achieve those goals and other critical elements developed during the planning exercise. I ask for your support of this motion in order that SD61 can begin the strategic planning process.
- Ferris: The District is fine. The Board needs a strategic plan. If we knew where we were going we wouldn’t have 8-12 motions on one agenda. We want our staff to serve students and staff.
- Leonard: Staff workload means delays will be inevitable.
- Paynter: Will move the District from reactive to proactive.
- Leonard: Facilities does have a 5 year plan.
- Waters: That could benefit from a strategic plan as well. This is the first step into the process.
J. McNally: That the Board direct the Superintendent to provide a printed monthly progress report on all motions at Board meetings attached to the agenda packup so that Trustees and stakeholders a can follow the progress of motions that have come to a Standing committee or the Board agendas, record to go back 4 monthsin hard copy./ Carried. Unanimous. [Senior administration already keeps these records.]
K. McNally: That the Board direct the Superintendent to construct a web page on the SD61 website to be a running record of disposal of motions at the Board table on an annual basis, organized by month, to be archived on the page in a form easily accessible to all stakeholders, in December of each year./ Carried. Unanimous.
L. McNally: That the Board amend Bylaw 9368 Procedure of Board meetings thus: 1. To agree to all 3 readings of this proposed amendment at the Board meeting of January 19, 2014; 2. In Article 107.00 to replace “challenge” with “appeal”; 3. To insert before the last sentence “ The Chair will call for debate on the merit of the appeal in reference to SD61 Bylaws and Robert’s Rules of Order with comment before the vote from the Secretary-Treasurer functioning as the meeting’s Parliamentarian, and 4. To amend the last sentence to read “A vote to sustain the Chair or the appeal with will follow debate and comment from the Secretary-Treasurer”. / Referred to February OPPS. Unanimous.
9. General Announcements: None.
10. Adjournment: 9:55 pm