Feb 13/18: Operations Policy&Planning: Housing Proposal, District Equity Recommendations

Territory Acknowledgement900


Lined Paper is  my personal record of and commentary on SD61 Board and  Standing Committee meetings. Official, approved  minutes are on the SD61 website, one  month after the meeting. Motions may be shortened but retain essential info.

SD61 Greater Victoria School District includes students in Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Victoria, View Royal, parts of Saanich and the Highlands, and the Traditional Territories of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.

District Strategic Plan here.

Sticky post: Motions and Trustee Voting Records  January 2012 – June 2017.  Motions may be shortened but retain essential information.

P. 1 Operations Policy and Planning Meeting
P. 2. DPAC Constitution (more interesting than it sounds – each school PAC has its own but they apparently aren’t posted)

Elected Trustees: Leonard (1996), Ferris (1999), Orcherton (1999), Loring-Kuhanga (2011), McNally (2011), Nohr (2011), Paynter (2014),  Watters (2014), Whiteaker (2014)

October 17/16, Whiteaker: That the Board amend Bylaw 9130 Standing Committees to remove the words “with voting rights” from Item #4 and Item #5. / Carried. Unanimous.  This had the effect of allowing only members of the Standing Committee to vote on motions, though other Trustees, if they attend,  can participate in  the debate, as well as hearing vital information presentations. Some choose not to attend. The Chair of the Board is  ex officio member both Committees, with voting rights. Quorum is a majority of Trustee members on the committee( ex officio not counted).

(Board Chair Loring-Kuhanga member both, ex officio, has vote, not counted for quorum)
Operations Policy&Planning Chair Watters; McNally, Leonard, Paynter
Ed Policy&Development: Chair Nohr; Ferris, Orcherton, Whiteaker

Operations Policy&Planning Standing Committee 
: Watters
Members: McNally,  Leonard, Paynter, Watters Loring-Kuhanga  (ex officio (vote but not counted for quorum)
Present: Leonard,  McNally,  Paynter, Watters, Whiteaker
Not present: Ferris, Loring-Kuhanga, Nohr, Orcherton

Agenda here.  Dialogue with the public is welcome during Standing Committee Meetings.

Agenda adopted; Minutes Jan 15/18 approved. Lined Paper record here. No Business Arising From Minutes.
4. Presentations to Committee: Anomura Housing Society: Susan Abells, Kristina Leach / Presentation here. 


Anomura:  a group of decapod crustaceans, including hermit crabs.

5. Superintendent’s Report:
A. Introduction Student Rep Natasha Thompson, Mount Doug.    Some topics from recent Student Rep Council meeting: academic supports, course diversity, transit, school safety / locking doors, naloxone kits, environmental concerns.
B. Equity Committee Update: Pp 9-10 agenda.

Recommended [by senior administration] motion: That the Board  direct the Superintendent to work with the Policy Sub-Committee to develop a Policy and Regulation on Equity for the Board’s consideration. / Carried. Unanimous.

[ Policy SubCommittee as assigned by Board Chair: Sept-Jan 2018: Ferris & Orcherton / Jan – March: Leonard & Watters / April – June: Nohr & Whiteaker  / Sept-Dec: McNally & Paynter ]

6 recommendations to be presented at April 16 OPPs meeting:

1. That the Board give special consideration to the identified Equity Seeking Schools in all discussions of resource allocations, so that these schools may be provided with additional resources.
2. That the Board adopt and fund the recommendations of the District Facilities Accessibility Plan.
3. That the Board fund the application of the Base+ Model for sensory rooms.
4. That the Board fund the application of the Base+ Model for elementary school counsellor allocations.
5. That the Board seek avenues to provide additional support for mental wellness and social- emotional needs at middle and secondary schools.
6. That the Board support standardizing emergency response materials, procedures, and training across the District, so that each school is afforded the same level of emergency preparedness.

  • Leonard: #1, can’t do this all at once. Need a timeline.
  • Superintendent: Multi-year project.
  • Whiteaker: #5 – seek partnerships in mental health.
  • Superintendent: Yes, community needs to come together to support.
  • Whiteaker: #3, #6 – what if parents want more and fundraise for that? Still will be inequity – better sensory equipment and better emergency supplies and training.
  • Superintendent: Minimum standard. Yes some extras may be fundraised, some from the community. But now in some places we don’t even see the basics.
  • Paynter: Given stresses in finding new classrooms to meet new ratios this year, how essential are sensory rooms to education?
  • Superintendent: Have identified functional capacity, operational capacity and Ministry capacity. Need to have these rooms to really have inclusive education. Need to take forward in conversations with the Ministry.

VSB website: The operating capacity of schools is determined based on a formula established by the Ministry of Education. This formula is based on the following:
• Number of Kindergarten Classrooms x 19
• Number of Grade 1 to 7 Classrooms x 23.29
• Number of Grade 8 to 12 Classrooms x 25

In determining the operating capacity of a school building only enrolling classroom spaces are included. The calculation of operating capacity does not include ancillary spaces or temporary portables. Ancillary spaces include: multipurpose rooms, cafeterias, gymnasiums, libraries, special education rooms, offices and play spaces in school basements, etc.

C. Lunch Hour Supervision K-5: Deputy Superintendent Green : Charts of school info Pp 11-3.

  • Whiteaker: Was a lunch supervisor…doesn’t mean an adult is in the classroom. Teachers sometimes stay.
  • Jennifer Small, President, ASA: Education Assistants who work as lunch supervisors get $3.30 / hr less to be a supervisor.
  • McNally: When teaching, have seen one Education Assitant for an entire school . Yes in many cases no adult i the classroom.My Ed Policy motion re animals mistreated in the classroom is related – no supervision of students. Some students not acting well socially or compassionately and need supervison. Startling to see 5 schools that have no adult supervision in their kindergarten or Grade One classrooms over lunch. If I were the parent of a kindergarten child I’m not sure I’d support that.
  • Deputy Superintendent: Some districts use eating time as instructional time = no loss of wage for EAs. Where are we prepared to leave this up to schools? What is a safe environment for children?
  • Watters: Need to create a baseline of expectations.
  • Leonard: Where does this go from here? Budget meeting? Need dollars attached  if this is coming forward this year. Need costs before the budget debates.

McNally (from Leonard): That the Board direct the Superintendent to cost the provisions for lunch supervision and bring to the Board as presented in the February report, and return to OPPs for further consideration. / Carried. Unanimous.

D. Amended School Calendar:  ( P 14) Associate Superintendent Kitchen: April date now fixed, not floating, and January 21 added as a floater  chosen by schools. Public consultation after Board meeting February 26; final submission to Ministry March 31.

Recommended motion (senior administration) : That the Board approve posting of amended 2018/19 school year calendar on the SD61 website  for 1 month. [See p 1 & 2 of agenda for dates.] / Carried. Unanimous.

6. Personnel Items: None
7. Finance & Legal Affairs:

A. Amended Budget Bylaw :Secretary-Treasurer Walsh (Pp 15-36 agenda)

Recommended (senior administration) motion: (i) That the Board give all 3 readings of the 2017/18 Amended Annual Budget Bylaw. / Carried. Unanimous.  (ii) That the SD61 Amended Annual Budget Bylaw for fiscal 2017-2018 $240,201,341 be read all 3 times , Chair and Secretary Treasurer authorized to execute on behalf of the Board./ Carried. Unanimous.

  • McNally: Re tuition increase p 17, due to short term enrolments of International students. Our plan was to curtail quite a few of the short term classroom experiences as it was understandably a challenging situation for educators .
  • Superintendent: This is an academic preparation program at Uplands – a “District Readiness” sort of class. The 2 week visits to classrooms in April have been minimized.
  • McNally: Re hiring a new staff person to work on growth of international student program (p 18), the Board  agreed on a cap on International student numbers.
  • Superintendent: Total 1,050 is being used as a guideline. We are not there.
  • Paynter: P 27 “Operating Fund Surplus Beginning of Year”?
  • Secretary-Treasurer: Money earmarked for spending on projects or items after the end of the year. School savings. Some got spent in September. Preview last year was $22 million, this year $19 million… trying to bring the number down. Board has used Department carry-forward money to bring down the structural deficit.

B. Policy Subcommittee Report: (Pp 37-53 former policies, proposed amendments, new policies)  Recommended motions:

i. That the Board approve in principle revised Policy 1421 Naming School Sites and revised Regulation 1421 and send the drafts Policy and Regulation to stakeholders for comment, to be returned May 2018 Operations policy and Planning Standing Committee. / Carried. Unanimous. [Can’t change names already given (?) but can change practice  going forward. Historic evidence that “worthy figures” of the past don’t always  transfer well to the present / future.]

ii. That the Board approve in principle Policy and Regulation 1422 Recognition of Significant Contributions to the District and end the drafts to stakeholders for comment, to be returned to May 2018 Operations Policy and Planing Standing Committee. / Carried. Unanimous

  • McNally: Noting format change for this Policy. New way to set up Policy documents? Very clear. / Superintendent: Yes.

iii. That the Board delete Policy 6112 School Day. / Carried. Unanimous.
iv. That the Board approve revised Policy 7110.1 Leasing of Closed Schools./ Carried. Unanimous. [Prohibits leasing for less than maintenance cost value.]

8. Facilities Planning
A. Update: Director of Facilities David Loveridge (Pp 54-55): Reported that when he started in SD61 in March 2016, there were 880 open work orders and no real tracking system. Memo explains changes.
B. Archives Update: Secretary Treasurer (Pp 56-57)
Staff recommendation to move District Archives to Bank Street as current location, SJ Willis, needs upgrades before hosting students displaced from other schools for seismic upgrading.Plan to use money raised by Greater Victoria Foundation For Learning [see D.2 i here]to upgrade part of Bank Street School. Cannot use Annual Facilities Grant money for the Ministry as not strictly education related.

  • Leonard: Have talked about art holdings. Has the Board taken a position  on the sale of any art? And Foundation is still in discussion stage. / Secretary-Treasurer: No.
  • Mcnally: As stated in previous meetings, not a fan of a charitable Foundation raising  funds for SD61. An essential public good should not be funded by golf tournaments, but by predictable government funding.. Now apparent doing building upgrade funding from a charity. Slippery slope. Although very excited by the interesting art SD61 holds, the Board has asked “Are we an art gallery?” and further, should we accumulate art or divest? We need an inventory of what we hold.
  • Leonard: Need to decide this before putting any money into Bank Street for this purpose.
  • Secretary Treasurer: Edmonton school district art policies will come forward to the Board soon.

C. Anomura Housing Feasibility Study:  Secretary Treasurer (Pp 58-59)

  • Leonard: City already has a housing strategy. Why this?
  • Abells / Leach: Smaller scale than usual multi-units. Unlocking unused land is interesting to to  funders for housing. This is a pilot so just 6 units. 2582 Cook St has been considered by the city; will be approaching Saanich. Small and  distributed sites throughout the community.
  • Leonard: Will you be focusing on SD61 for more sites?
  • Abells/Leach: Looking for any partnerships with land to be used for 5 years for 6 units. Looking acros BC and other school districts. SD61 could partner on a pilot. No expectations as to anything else.
  • Darren Companion (GVTA 1st VP): Yard? Fences?
  • Secretary-Treasurer: Not rezoned. Looking at large parcels that are difficult to supervise. Is the municipality interested? Some parcels have residential zoning already.
  • Leonard: Tax exemption questions / issues.
  • McNally: How many people per modular unit? / Anomura: a family. 3 bedrooms.
  • Abells: A 3 bedroom unit can be constructed in 9-12 days, and disassembled and flat packed in 3. Land costs prohibitive so unlocking fallow land without asking for divestment of assets. Plumbed into city plumbing.

McNally: That the Board direct the Superintendent to bring sites to discuss at the next appropriate Board meeting.  / Carried. For: McNally, Paynter, Watters Against: Leonard

9. Public Disclosure of In Camera Items : None

10. New Business
A. Watters: That the Board rescind the following motion carried May 23/17 but never acted on: “Request the Chair to write to Minister of Education,copying other Party leaders, requesting that the Ministry of Education fund CUPE Education Assistants to supervise SD61 K-5 students during lunchtimes in  classrooms that rely on students to do this supervision. / Carried. Unanimous.

B. Watters: That the Board submit the following motion to the BCSTA 2018 AGM: That the BCSTA investigate the provision of corporate sponsored opportunities for senior staff in BC and provide a report to the 2019 BCSTA regarding the extent of offerings and develop a model policy for addressing the issue. /  Carried. Unanimous.

  • Watters: Motion not in reaction to any incident in SD61.

C. Paynter: That the Board write to the Premier and Minister of Education requesting that the BC Transit Act be amended to include appointment of a Trustee of one of the School Districts falling within the CRD as a member [amended from “Director”] of the regional transit commission for the Greater Victoria metropolitan area. / Carried. For:  McNally, Paynter, Watters    Abstain: Leonard

  • Leonard: How would this trustee be accountable to 3 School Districts? [61, 62, 63]

D. Trustee Questions  [Two from McNally. Yes, these questions should really have been brought to another meeting a  as motions but I wanted to get the topics on the table, and have been thinking about them for a while.]

1 McNally: Asking for a report on existence of community programming that SD61 partners with to address, and on District initiatives to address,  familial sexual abuse of children, supported  recent statistics. This is a hidden issue, with unreliable statistics as it is likely most children don’t disclose. People often don’t have the courage to disclose until decades after the abuse. This is an uncomfortable topic that once was addressed frankly in SD62 when Dr Lori Robinson was on staff. There has been an explosion of public awareness around consent, but this is an issue where consent isn’t even a factor. We need a resurgence of the frank discussion, on behalf of all the children and youth who come to school dealing with prior events that no child should have to balance while dealing with the demands of the school day, or deal with at all. [No timeline, as initial broaching the subject. Will bring it back to a following meeting.]

2. McNally: What are we doing to ensure parents know their rights re IEP provisions / schedules and meetings – how to navigate the system (us) and which questions to ask?  Have heard from parents who are overwhelmed and for whom things seem to have not proceeded in a desirable way at the school level.  Is there any intent to providing this to parents of children and youth with IEPS as a group? I am hoping the reported stigma that had some parents reportedly fearful that their child would be “outed” as having diverse learning needs, has more or less passed.  [No timeline, as initial broaching the subject. Will bring it back to a following meeting.]

3. Whiteaker: Would like update on Greater Victoria Foundation for Learning.

11 Notices of Motion: None
12. General Announcements: None
13. Adjournment: 9:10 pm

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