H. New Business / Notices of Motion: Develop a Policy Re Classroom Pets
H.1 New Business
McNally: That the Board direct the Policy Sub-Committee to develop Policy in regard to animals kept as “classroom pets”, and that the Committee
take into account consider the BCSPCA’s statement on animals in classrooms and the possibility that classroom pets are not desirable at all, in the development of the Policy, and that the Superintendent draft a Regulation to implement the Policy when finalized by the Board. / Carried, as amended (Whiteaker: Replace “take into account” with “consider”, and strike “and the possibility that classroom pets are not desirable at all”- amendment carried). For: Ferris, Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Watters, Whiteaker Against: Paynter
Currently SD61 has a Regulation regarding animals in classrooms (6163.6 Animals in Schools), originally approved in 1973 and noted as reviewed in February 2012. However, there is no record of discussion or a vote on the review of this Regulation in the minutes of the Board meeting of February 2012.
As well, there is no associated Policy. It is clearly an anomaly to have a Regulation not based on a Policy statement.
The Regulation merely directs anyone with concerns about the ”health of animals” to the SPCA. BC SPCA statements regarding animals in classrooms are attached to the agenda for information. Those statements include a model policy which clearly the BC SPCA finds desirable to have in place. Included in the statements are the following points:
- The BCSPCA discourages keeping classroom pets unless considerations for emergency management are in place (see Appendix A).
- THE BCSPCA encourages instead “Educational activities involving visits by domesticated companion animals and their guardians in the classroom [which] are acceptable as long as … the primary purpose of the visit is social justice or animal welfare education.
Appendix A, attached to the Policy document, specifies the BC SPCA’s 10 requirements for keeping an animal in a classroom, one of which is “the animal is removed from the building during any emergency evacuation, drill or otherwise”.
This is not the case in classrooms now. The actual plan is to leave the classroom pet behind, hoping that a sticker on the door will lead firefighters or emergency personnel to the animal’s location. There are no plans to evacuate the classroom pet in a disaster, a drill or real. Is this teaching compassion? We are teaching children not to care, fundamentally.
The BC SPCA holds as a fundamental tenet that animals need to live within the Five Freedoms, an internationally recognized set of principles describing the needs of all animals in captivity: Freedom from hunger and thirst; Freedom from discomfort; Freedom from pain, injury and disease; Freedom to express normal behaviour; Freedom from fear and distress. One might question how the Five Freedoms are provided for in a small cage in a noisy active classroom.
As a teacher, I never kept an animal in my classroom, but have had to intervene in situations to prevent harm to fish and small animals, for example, stopping students throwing a hamster back and forth. Some animals are sent home for weekends and longer holidays with a different student each time, a major stressor for the animal. They are unmonitored at night and possibly on the weekends.
Going back to the Regulation’s concerns with “animal health”: animal health goes well beyond physical health and includes the mental health of sentient beings. The emotional lives of animals continue to be revealed by scientists as complex.
The highly respected Humane Society of the US suggests alternatives:
- Invite animal experts into the classroom
- Help find pets new homes
- “Adopt” a plush animal as your classroom pet
- Look Online: utilize videos and webcams.
- Take a Field Trip: visit a nature center, wildlife refuge, or animal shelter
- Schoolyard Habitat: birdbaths, birdhouses, and feeding stations around your schoolyard and plant a butterfly garden
- Reading to Dogs [ SD61 did have a Reading To Dogs program at one time, “Paws and Tales” which I piloted in my school]
- Humane Homework: have students choose an animal species and gather information about the animal and report what they’ve learned to the class.
The World Society for the Protection of Animals (now World Animal Protection) suggests finding alternative ways to teach children about animals and pet care, such as videos, demonstrations, and guest lectures from animal specialists.
What lessons about humane care of animals could children not learn from animal visitors who go home after the visit to a desirable life with a guardian?
We effectively teach compassion and empathy through the effective Roots of Empathy program, but we don’t ask the human baby to live in the classroom.
I urge support of this motion to develop a Policy in regard to keeping animals in classrooms taking into consideration BC SPCA recommendations for such a Policy. The existing Regulation points us in that direction with its referral of concerns to the BC SPCA.
At this time my understanding is that SD61’s current response to the above letter is that animals are not evacuated during drills or disasters, but that labels are available to let first responders know that there is an animal in the school / classroom.
- Whiteaker: A lot of value in salmonid enhancement programs in classrooms. Dogs at my workplace add to the environment in a positive way.We do need a Policy.
- McNally: Salmonids are not normally considered “pets”, and may not be covered by this potential Policy, as we as a society divide animals, among other categorical labels, into “pets” and “not pets”. But the Policy is planned to address “animals in the classroom”, so when the proposed Policy comes forward to a Board Standing Committee, and before that, in the Policy SubCommittee, the discussions will be interesting.
P 1 : Board Meeting
P 2: PACs, DPACs, BCCPAC
Board Meeting March 12 / 18
Present: Ferris (first elected 1999), Leonard (1996), Loring-Kuhanga by call in (2011), McNally (2011), Nohr (2011), , Paynter (2014), Watters (2014), Whiteaker (2014)
Regrets: Orcherton (1999)
A. A. 1 Agenda adopted. [Video of all Board meetings here.] A.2 Minutes Feb 26/18 approved (here). Lined Paper record here. A.3 No Business Arising from minutes. A.4 No Student Achievement presentation. A.5 No District Presentations.
A.6 Community Presentations
a. Gillian Gaffney, PAC President, L’Ecole George Jay Elementary [entire package of submissions here]
B. Correspondence : Letter to Minister of Education re Employer Health Tax
C. Trustee Reports
March 2018 Trustee Report
Diane McNally, Trustee, SD61 Greater Victoria Board of Education
Saanich Arts, Culture and Heritage : No longer attending as little or no apparent relevance for SD61 Board or SD61 students. See agendas here: http://www.saanich.ca/EN/main/local-government/committees-boards/arts-culture-heritage-advisory-committee.html
Choices / Yates St Transitional Shelters
- Yates Street “My Place” 2.0 version transitional home continues with a cohort of people from the First Met mats, which has opened up more mat spaces for people on the street. Attended community meeting March 6. People at My Place expected to move into Mt Edwards approximately end of May when the second floor is finished. Teacher Alan Barwin from Central Middle School attended march 6 and explained some of what the Central Social Justice class is doing, and past activities.
- “Choices” residents will have moved into the Super 8 housing by the end of March. Next step is BC Housing application for rezoning, to View Royal Council, which if successful would allow the Our Place Recovery Community plan (14-24 months, no substance use) to move forward. Sited on former YDC building, down Talcott Road from Eagleview School. Never any complaint from the school in two years of operation as a transitional shelter(opened Feb 23/16) as Choices.
Schools: March 7 attended South Park PAC. Mayor Lisa Helps also in attendance. Crossing guards a concern for the school, with Beacon Community Services ending their provision of the crossing guards at the end of this school year.
Ad Hoc Committees
- Public Engagement Ad Hoc Committee : Continuing work of the committee. Unable to attend meeting with DLT.
- Advocacy Ad Hoc Committee: Unable to attend first two meetings. Next meeting April 4.
Aboriginal Nations Education Committee : ANEC meeting March 8 cancelled. Next meeting TBA.
Trustee Professional Development / Related Community:
- Attending SICORN (South Island Community Overdose Response Network) Meetings- planning for Overdose Awareness Day.
- “Mapping My Way Home: A Gitxsan History” by Neil J. Sterritt. Sterritt is a member of Fireweed (Giskaast) Clan, House of Gitluudaahlxw, and was the president of the Gitxsan-Wet’suwet’en Tribal Council from 1981 to 1987. Much of his work has been upholding aboriginal and Gitxsan rights, especially in the precedent-setting 1997 Supreme Court of Canada case Delgamuukw v. BC. Book donated to ANED library.
D. Board Committee Reports
D.1 Joint Education Policy & Directions / Operations Policy and Planning Committees : Ed Policy:
a. Minutes March 5/18 info only (Pp 15-19: will be approved at next Ed Policy meeting). Lined Paper record of the meeting and debate here.
b. Recommended motion [Carried at Ed Policy meeting]
That the Board direct the Superintendent to write a policy on inclusion and return a draft Policy to the Education Policy and Directions Committee at a future meeting. / Carried. Unanimous. [Related documents and Standing Committee discussion at 4. B. 3 here.
D.2 Operations Planning and Policy Committee
a. Minutes March 5/18 information only [ Pp15-19; will be approved at next Operations meeting] Lined Paper record of the meeting and debate here.
b. Recommended motions: [Carried at Operations Standing Committee]
i. That the Board endorse the Bowker Creek Blueprint./ Carried. Unanimous.
ii.That the Board direct the Superintendent to bring back operationalized recommendations for K-5 lunch hour supervision after consultation with stakeholders./ Carried. Unanimous.
iii. That the Board approve granting a statutory right of way to Fortis for installing and maintaining a gas pipeline on Oak Bay High school property. / Carried. Unanimous.
iv. That the Board give all 3 readings of the Real Property Bylaw [related to the Fortis motion] at this meeting. / Carried. Unanimous.
v. That the Board read the Bylaw 3 times [was read 3 times here] and authorize the Chair and Secretary Treasurer to sign, seal and execute this Bylaw. / Carried. Unanimous.
vi. That the Board direct staff to work with the 202 Canadian Francophone Games organizing committee to find suitable accommodations and event venue options that would help support the games. / Carried. Unanimous.
vii. That the Board direct staff to return with a detailed facilities use proposal including financial analysis for Board review and approval prior to making final commitment for the use of District facilities in support of the 2020 Canadian Francophone Games in Victoria ./ Carried as amended. Unanimous.
- Leonard: Amendment: “Including a cost recovery model”. / Carried.
E. District Leadership Team Reports:
a. Superintendent’s monthly report accepted. (P 28 agenda)
b. Trustee Questions:
- McNally: What is going on with the Foundation for Learning?
- Superintendent: Committee (Leonard, Secretary-Treasurer, Superintendent, Associate Superintendent Kitchen) reviewed proposed reviewed Bylaws.
E.2 Secretary-Treasurer’s Report
a. Monthly Report: Accepted
b.Submission to Expert Panel re Funding Review: DRAFT LETTER:
BOARD OF EDUCATION
Chair: Edith Loring-Kuhanga Vice-Chair: Tom Ferris Trustees: Elaine Leonard, Diane McNally, Deborah Nohr, Peg Orcherton Rob Paynter, Jordan Watters, Ann Whiteaker
SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 61 (GREATER VICTORIA) 556 BOLESKINE ROAD, VICTORIA, BC V8Z 1E8 PHONE (250) 475-4106 FAX (250) 475-4112 DATE ****** PROPER NAME AND ADDRESS FOR EXPERT PANEL
RE: Board of Education Submission to the Expert Panel on Funding
Dear Chair Trumpy,
I am writing to provide a formal submission on behalf of our Board of Education regarding the funding formula review. [DRAFT, remember]
With the release of the timeline for feedback and the visit by the panel to our District, our Board wanted to ensure that we had sufficient information and feedback to provide a fully informed submission for your consideration.
Our process included a day set aside for senior District staff to provide an overview of the history of the funding framework, as well as the current model, its evolution and some of its challenges. One of our sessions involved our stakeholders including representation from our teachers’ union, support staff unions, principals and vice-principals’ association, paraprofessional association, and our District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC).
While our submission represents the voice of our Board only, the voices of our stakeholders are reflected and we have noted areas of specific disagreement.
Given this process, we are confident that we are able to provide a fully informed submission that reflects the needs of our District.
Our submission is based around some broad themes that contain more specific suggestions within them. While the scope of your mandate does not include increased funding, there are a couple of areas where we simply cannot avoid including commentary on increased funding with the hope that they are worthy of consideration.
Recommendation 1: That the Ministry of Education build into the funding formula a mechanism that covers the following inflationary pressures faced by school districts: a. all Provincially negotiated settlements for unions and associations; b. all approved wage increases for exempt staff and administrators; c. all government mandated increases (e.g. increased payroll taxes, Hydro increases, etc); and 32 2 d. a Consumer Price Index inflation factor.
“Inflation is when you pay fifteen dollars for the ten-dollar haircut you used to get for five dollars when you had hair.” – Sam Ewing, former professional baseball player
Rationale: Districts are currently paying 15 dollars for the haircut they were getting for 5 dollars in 2001 with relatively minor funding increases to cover the difference. Hydro increases, unfunded wage increases, benefit increases, operations and maintenance cost increases, etc. are currently unaccounted for in the funding formula.
Districts rely on flexibility to provide the best educational program to meet local needs; however, the current model is not sufficient enough to cover costs we have little control over. Furthermore, schools within our District rely on PAC fundraising and donations to supplement their funding as there has been no funding provided for the inflationary cost of services and supplies.
The impact of such a commitment in the funding formula would be of great value and increase transparency in the system as a whole. It would allow for longer term planning in program implementation, as well as operations.
Recommendation 2: That the Ministry of Education cease funding “Group 2” private schools:
Prime Goal of Public Schools – Supported by the Family and Community Intellectual Development – to develop the ability of students to analyze critically, reason and think independently, and acquire basic learning skills and bodies of knowledge; to develop in students a lifelong appreciation of learning, curiosity about the world around them and a capacity for creative thought and expression. – Statement of Education Policy Order (Mandate for the School System)
Rationale: At the meeting of the Vancouver Island School Trustees Association on March 3, 2018, responding to a question from a trustee, the Ministry stated that such a recommendation was appropriate for this process and our Board is committed to this concept.
While we understand that parents make choices for a variety of reasons, we know the power of public education to society writ large. Given the mandate of the school system as set out in the Order in Council, we feel that students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds will contribute to this success.
We understand that “Group 2” independent schools are typically the “elite” private schools that fund their students in excess of the average per student cost in the public system. We feel that eliminating this funding is appropriate given the resources available to these schools while ensuring that this would not have an impact on other types of more modest private schools. While the Board ultimately believes that all students should be in the public system, this short term step should be taken while the broader issue is addressed.
Recommendation 3: That the Ministry of Education provide nominal three-year funding allocations to school districts:
“In addition, while the budget submitted to the ministry is a one-year budget, we recommend that in the near term, the District begin the process of establishing a rolling three-year budget that is aligned with the strategic plan.” – School District No. 83 – Special Advisor Report June 3, 2016 (page 30)
Rationale: More districts are moving towards strategic planning, and rightly so. The Ministry also is increasingly critical of board reserves, conservative enrolment estimates, etc. If we move towards multiple-year notional allocations, boards could plan for multiple years at a time, make more targeted strategic plan [Whiteaker: Strike “plan”] resource reallocations and reduce the need to have significant reserves.
A three-year model would increase funding predictability for districts, but would still need to address increased enrolment and have built-in inflation protection (note Recommendation 1). If funding allocations are enrolment based, enrolment projections should be provided by the Ministry and applied consistently across all districts within the Province. The current funding model drives conservatism and results in the growth of reserves.
A model with notional allocations would serve the interests of accountability. Both the District and the Ministry would be able to specifically track results from these multi-year targeted resources.
Recommendation 4: That the Ministry of Education immediately review the compliance model currently in place:
“We are from the Ministry and we are here to help” – Unattributed quote
Rationale: Boards of education are responsible for putting the appropriate structures in place to ensure fiscal accountability. Boards are audited on a yearly basis and the vast majority of audits illustrate that there is competent staff and appropriate oversight.
The Ministry, however, has a variety of additional reporting and compliance requirements that create an administrative burden for school districts. Inclusive learning audits, enrolment audits, Classroom Enhancement Fund (CEF) reporting, Special Purpose Fund reporting, etc. all require a significant amount of administrative work.
The time spent meeting compliance requirements instead of providing service to students is significant. While our Board does not wish to suggest that compliance is not important, and we would also point out our respect for the skills and competence of our provincial partners, looking at historical results should illustrate competence in this area.
Recommendation 5: That the Ministry of Education move to a Profile Funding Model for Inclusive Education:
“The fundamental principle of inclusive education is the valuing of diversity within the human community…. When inclusive education is fully embraced, we abandon the idea that children have to become “normal” in order to contribute to the world…. We begin to look beyond typical ways of becoming valued members of the community, and in doing so, begin to realize the achievable goal of providing all children with an authentic sense of belonging.” – Norman Kunc
Rationale: As our District moves to a more inclusive model for providing services, we focus on all students regardless of whether they receive additional funding. The current model is based on a “medical model” of diagnosing weaknesses followed by lagging funding for supports to help fill the gaps.
The current model is flawed for a number of reasons. First, the staff time needed to diagnose students in our District is approximately 18 hours per student. That means that each student being diagnosed loses out on 18 hours of direct responsive support services. Professionals should have the flexibility to assess student needs and classroom conditions and respond with appropriate supports rather than focus on redundant administrative tasks. Further, some parents do not want to go through the rigorous process required to designate a student, even though their child requires significant supports. This makes early intervention a challenge.
Second, the current model drives behaviours that do not necessarily support an inclusive model, such as parents and others in the system demanding that funding received for a student be targeted to that specific student, even where additional funding could actually assist multiple students. Furthermore, some parents or guardians feel that designating a child places a label on them which may present as limitations in their future. Therefore, no additional funding is received for that child.
Third, the current funding categories do not capture all student needs. For example, students with significant communication disorders and severe deficits in skills such as memory, language, cognition, etc. do not fit the current categories despite their significant needs.
Finally, the current model fails to take into account modern pedagogy and an inclusive model. If the basis for our supports for diverse learners is highlighting their weaknesses, how do we support their strengths? This model also do not ensure accountability, it assures compliance. We can prove what we are doing but not how we are doing in our service of students.
We know that the profile funding model works, as other jurisdictions have successfully adopted this model.
We note that our stakeholders hold diverse opinions on this particular issue with some supporting the continuance of the diagnosis model and others in favour of the profile funding model.
Recommendation 6: That the Ministry of Education provide flexibility in resource allocation.
What do Trustees Do? 35 5 British Columbia is a large province with many communities, each having different priorities, needs and unique educational requirements. British Columbians elect their Boards of Education to improve student achievement according to the diverse needs of these communities. As locally elected representatives, the trustees on these boards best understand their respective communities’ particular strengths, challenges and demands. Trustees engage their communities in building and maintaining a school system that reflects local priorities, values and expectations. School trustees listen to their communities; guide the work of their school district; and set plans, policies and the annual budget. Reflecting the strength of local representation, boards report back to their communities on how students are doing: boards are directly accountable to the people they serve. BCSTA Website
Rationale: The purpose of a locally elected board of education is to reflect the needs and wants of local communities. Targeted allocations limit the ability to respond to those needs. They often also create additional reporting requirements and limit the ability to plan for the longer term.
Additionally, as stated in Recommendation 3, more boards are moving towards strategic planning. Flexibility in resource allocation allows boards to align resources with strategic goals in order to achieve learning outcomes and ensure student success.
The current funding model has become more and more piece-meal over time as a result of incremental efforts to address emerging shortfalls of the funding model. Stakeholders analogized the current model to a house with many separate additions and patches. The ideal funding model would address the whole house and all of its needs.
We note that some of our stakeholders were not supportive of this aspect of our submission and felt increased targeting would be beneficial as it would ensure transparency and accountability, as well as assurance that cost pressures and new initiatives are not downloaded onto school districts.
Recommendation 7: That the Ministry of Education ensure that changes to the funding formula do not negatively impact any school district.
primum non nocere – do no harm
Rationale: The opportunity to review the funding formula is an amazing opportunity to which our Board is excited to play a part. However, this opportunity also presents risks. While our District respects the opportunity for change, we believe that any new model must take the current levels of provincial funding (leaving aside local revenue) as the new floor.
An obvious example would be support for the restored collective agreement languages. Some districts have received more funding per capita than others due to their 1991 collective agreement language and the Provincial/BCTF agreement.
If the collective agreement language remains and the formula is standard across the Province, a District like ours would be negatively impacted. It simply would not serve the Government to implement a model that would start off by harming Districts.
Recommendation 8: That the Ministry of Education engage school districts to review the Distributed Learning Model.
“Human behaviour flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge” – Plato
Rationale: Our Board disagrees with Plato on this one. We know that human behaviour also flows from the funding formula. For instance, funding for schools means more schools; no funding for schools means fewer schools, compliance requirements create paperwork etc.
On the issue of Distributed Learning (DL), we are proud of the services we provide. Nevertheless, the current model rewards competition between school districts to attract students. Shrinking programs do not enable school districts to provide a broad range of classes and the DL program requires subsidy from other priority areas due to the small class sizes.
While we do not have a specific recommendation, we would like to see the Ministry of Education come up with a solution that will enable the Province to better serve the DL community.
Recommendation 9: That the Ministry of Education review the Annual Facilities Grant.
When the walls come tumblin’ down
When the walls come crumblin’ crumblin’
When the walls come tumblin’ tumblin’ down – John Mellancamp
Rationale: While not specifically addressed by the funding formula review process, it is imperative that the funding of the annual facilities grant (AFG) be reviewed.
Currently, there is no connection between growing enrolment or inflation and the amount of AFG each district receives. Aging facility infrastructure currently requires school districts to redirect operating funds otherwise intended for educational purposes. The use of technology and the creation of unique learning environments tied specifically to supporting positive outcomes for students could also be addressed with improved AFG funding.
Recommendation 10: That the Ministry of Education seek to create a Common Provincial Agreement for Teachers for provincial issues.
7 (1) The collective agreement entered into under this Act with respect to teachers must include all Provincial matters and local matters that have been agreed on by the parties. 37 7 (2) Subject to subsection (3), the employers’ association and the Provincial union must designate the Provincial matters and local matters to be determined by collective bargaining. (3) All cost provisions, within the meaning set out in subsection (4), are deemed to be Provincial matters. (4) In subsection (3), “cost provisions” includes all provisions relating to (a) salaries and benefits, (b) workload, including, without limitation, class size restrictions, and (c) time worked and paid leave, that affect the cost of the collective agreement. (4.1) In addition to the matters referred to in subsection (3), matters referred to in section 28 (1) (a) and (b) of the School Act respecting workload, including, without limitation, class size restrictions, are deemed to be Provincial matters. (5) If the employers’ association and the Provincial union are unable to agree on a designation under subsection (2) in the negotiations for the first Provincial agreement only, on the request of both parties or on his or her own motion, the minister responsible for the administration of the Labour Relations Code may appoint a person to arbitrate a dispute with respect to the designation. – PELRA
Rationale: The Public Education Labour Relations Act identifies matters that are strictly for provincial bargaining and matters that are locally bargained. The issue, however, is that much of the provincial contract language is ironically locally bargained language from the early 1990s. Everything from class composition to leaves of absence falls in this category.
The implication of not having a common agreement is that local school districts cannot modernize language and large inequities between districts are created. For instance, our District has relatively restrictive class composition language; therefore, we get more funding than some districts. While increased supports are welcomed, the model should reflect consistent contract language across all districts.
There are also administrative burdens that may be relieved by a common agreement. Currently, the variety of local contract languages across the Province limits shared services initiatives between districts, including labour relations, payroll and HR services, and software efficiencies. By creating a common provincial agreement, these costs could be shared between districts, creating efficiencies and savings.
The Board would like to thank the panel for the opportunity to provide recommendations for consideration. Our District is a District that suffered greatly at the time of the change to the per pupil amount. We had declining enrollment and excess capacities in our schools. We cut and cut and cut and cut. We attempted to keep the impacts away from the classroom. This of course impacted operations, central supports, schools closed and ultimately the classroom was impacted. The long term impact of lack of investment in our facilities is now apparent.
Ironically, we are now a school district that does have benefits from the current model. We have increasing enrollment and are largely right sized from a facilities perspective. Nevertheless, the changes noted above would serve us well. This is assuming that the concept of creating a new floor is enshrined in your planning. It would be disheartening as a District to have suffered 38 8 greatly from the original shift in funding, made changes and adapted to the model only to be hit again once a new model is in place.
In closing, we appreciate the task of the panel and wish you the best of luck [ McNally: Please replace “luck” with “wishes you well” – this isn’t a luck dependent exercise] in completing your work.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
- McNally: Suggest remove the quotes… John Mellencamp on education funding? Recommendatin 5 rationale (“If the basis for our supports for diverse learners is highlighting their weaknesses, how do we support their strengths?“) suggest change “weaknesses” to “needs”. “Weaknesses” is a pejorative semantic choice. Along with Whiteaker, want details on “other jurisdictions” in Recommendation 5 rationale ( “We know that the profile funding model works, as other jurisdictions have successfully adopted this model.” ) especially input from parents and other stakeholders. I have talked to one person in Alberta – yes just one, but this person said with this funding model, now no one understands how it works. Recommendation 10, re a common collective agreement – that would be the work of BCPSEA and the BCTF, correct? / Yes.
- Nohr: Leave the quotes in, they are great. Would like more clarity on thresholds for funding students with challenges. Right now a student can miss qualifying for funding by some small margin but obviously does need support.
- Loring-Kuhanga: #1 is great. #2, private school finding – have an issue with it. Band operated schools now fall under private schools which makes reciprocal funding an issue. [Not all band schools are private schools, according to the Ministry site.] #3 would make operationalizing the strategic plan more feasible. #4 agree that the audits and required reports for targeted funding are excessive. #6 should be written more strongly. We are accountable to the public and should be entrusted by government to manage funding. Who is the “we”? When is the deadline for submission?
- Secretary-Treasurer: Board and stakeholders. Friday 16th March is official deadline but can submit up to April 30.
- Whiteaker: What is missing is accountability and reporting. We need to be able to measure and report on student success and talk about accountability. Aboriginal Education receives targeted funding and there has been not a bit of change in achievement.
- Leonard: Can’t support Recommendation 2 re defunding”elite”private schools. It’s a political statement.
- Watters: Recommendation 2 re defunding elite private schools is doable. Makes sense to make a political statement on this issue.
- Secretary-Treasurer: Board recently passed a motion to take this issue to the Advocacy Committee. [ See H.1 C here:
c) McNally: That the Board direct the Chair to write a letter to the Minister of Education urging development of a strategy for ending public funding of all private schools by September 2021. / Watters: Motion to refer to Advocacy Ad Hoc Committee./ Carried. Unanimous. Abstain: Leonard
- McNally: Public funding of private schools is a major transfer of wealth from the public sector to the private sector. As guardians of a public good, that should concern school trustees. Diverting public tax dollars to fund advantage (smaller class sizes for one) for a select group is obviously counter to the principle of equity and undermines the value of public education which is our society’s most visibly equity-based institution. Should schools that take public money have the right to screen out students based on academic performance or ability to pay? BC now has a two tier education system built on exclusion. During the 1950s and 1960s, Socred premier W.A.C. Bennett refused to fund private schools with public money, but his son Bill changed that when he became premier, and instituted provincial funding for private schools in 1977. A recent Alberta poll indicated 61% of Albertans don’t want public money supporting private schools. It would be interesting to see what the BC results would be. The Edmonton Public School Board sent a letter urging the Alberta NDP to phase out the public subsidy for private schools and return that money to public school boards. Edmonton Public Schools Trustee Michael Janz said “If a parent wants to choose a different program or educational journey, or even a boarding school, that is their right to choose and pay for themselves.”Private schools are grouped into four categories in BC. Group 1, gets 50 % of the local district’s per-student grant amount. If the independent school’s per student operating costs exceeds the district’s per student grant amount, then the school is designated Group 2, mostly elite prep schools, which get 35 % of the local district’s per-student grant amount. In 2012/13 and 2013/14, Group 1 Independent Distance Learning Schools received 63 %of the Distance Learning Public School flat rate. BC School Trustees did not unanimously vote in favour of a motion to end public subsidies of private schools in BC, at a recent BCSTA AGM. So some public school trustees are in favour of public subsidies to private schools. Isn’t that some sort of conflict of interest from elected people whose mandate in BCSTA Bylaw is to” represent the public interest in public school education”? Children have a right to an accessible, quality education that does not depend on family socioeconomic status but the continuing transfer of critical public resources to the private sector continues. I urge support of this motion and support of the principle of equity.
F.Question Period: None
G. Public Disclosure of In Camera Items: None
H. New Business / Notices of Motion
a. McNally: That the Board direct the Policy Subcommittee develop policy in regard to animals kept as “classroom pets”… [ see beginning of post above]
b. Ferris: That the Board support in principle working with the North American Indigenous Games to house participants in our schools and direct the Superintendent to work with the organizers on how students may be housed in our facilities on a cost recovery basis.
- Loring-Kuhanga: Amendment: Add “2020”./ Carried.
- Paynter: Limited to housing?
- Superintendent: Had a call from Chief Ron Sam of Songhees Nation re housing. May be more opportunities to connect re support.
- McNally: The Songhees nation has bid to hold the Games here, and has not won the bid yet, correct?
- Secretary-Treasurer: Yes. Similar time frame as Francophone Games so have to figure out if we can actually deliver. [Francophone Games organizers asked for the Board’s support in 2016.]
I. Adjournment: 8. 50 pm