September/13 … Cooperative Gains….More Money taken Out of the Budget!

Trustee Nohr…Report #19      SD 61
September, 2013
Equality for All in  Public Education……Fully Funded and Properly Managed…Is the Vision
Education Policy Meeting….A Few Highlights     September 9, 2013
We received 3 outstanding presentations on suicide prevention. These included a presentation by Justine Thomson- Need2- Whole School Approach, William Morris and Bonnie Jones- Gathering Strength Initiative- First Nations  Saanich SD and Rob Paynter-current research / Whole School Approach to suicide prevention. Each presentation provided very valuable information to update the Board and senior administration on current research findings and as well as relevant data for our 12 -18 year age group. The following motion was passed with an amendment:
Moved- Trustee Loring -Kuhanga
That the Board of Education at School District 61(Greater Victoria) adopt* changed to *encourage the use of the ‘Whole School Suicide Prevention Approach’ for all middle and secondary schools and provide annual presentations to students and staff in order to increase in awareness, education and prevention of suicide amongst our youth.  passed unanimously
During our next budget review I will bring forward a suggestion or motion that there be a small funding envelope for school based staff to apply for training in the Whole School Suicide Prevention Approach / ideology. This would better support teacher interest.
OPPs Meeting …….A Few Highlights…….. September 9, 2013
The Public Engagement Committee Report was brought forward for trustee review by Deputy Superintendent Sheri Bell. The report will be discussed at the Oct. 14, 2013 OPPs meeting.
Health and Safety updated policy and regulations were brought forward for trustees to review. Kim Munro, our new Human Resources Director and Amanda Stuyt, our new Health and Safety Officer were 
present and answered questions.
It is very important that updates to policy be made in a timely and proactive manner to ensure that our district aligns policy with current laws, acts and regulations.
Cooperative Gains Savings Plan is a requirement for all school districts now. This is an untenable demand for districts! All funding that comes out of the district budget to support CUPE wage increases will diminish support for students in the classroom because the funding comes from the operational funding budget….and that is the funding for classrooms.
Capital Project Plans were presented. We reviewed and passed motions for work on Cloverdale,Tillicum, George Jay (Seismic Project Identification Reports).
Seamus Howley, Director of Facilities, presented an overview of the Capital Plan 2013-2014. This may be viewed on the district website under Board minutes, Sept. 9, 2013 Ed Policy and OPPs mtg p.26-28
Now, at the Board Meeting….. Monday, September 16, 2013
Student Achievement
Strawberry Vale students presented with a focus on ‘integrating technology into the classroom’ . They demonstrated their skills using iPads and an app for movie making iMovie and Garageband. They have 30 iPads in a trolley for classroom use.
Lots of enthusiasm, team work and confidence in public speaking at the Board meeting!
Community Presentations
*Gifted Children’s Association of BC- Heidi Darroch invited trustees to attend their conference at James Bay Community Center Sat. Oct. 5/13 @ 9AM
*Youth Suicide Prevention- Dr. Jennifer White  from U Vic School of Child and Youth Care… stated that suicide is 2nd cause of death 15-24yr A multi strategy comprehensive plan for schools is best because schools have a key context since adults have long standing relationships with the students; all adults should be trained and informed.
* Heliset Hale Marathon- Kelly Paul ran the length of the Island with her team to bring awareness about suicide 
*Accommodating Children with Special Needs- Peter Milne-  Health accommodations for peanut allergies and anaphylactic responses are now systemic in all our schools. What will be the district plan for EMF hyper sensitivity in a few of our children? This is a good question which must be addressed fairly and inclusively.
*Contracts for Pregnant Temporary Teachers- Natalie Buchmann and Erin Porter spoke about the Human Rights legislation that prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy. They stated that current suggested new hiring policy would be a direct affront to equality and gender rights. I strongly support a practice that is in place in many districts across the province. Pregnant teachers would have the job bookmarked and saved for them until their return to work and in the meantime they could work short temp. contracts or TTOC (substitute) assignments. Yes, the district would have to fund a few (very few) teachers’ additional benefits. This approach would ensure teacher continuity for all our students and hiring equality for pregnant teachers. There are many other variables that result in teachers taking leaves of absence.
Individuals or groups wishing to make a presentation to the Board must submit a written request and any written materials to the Secretary-Treasurer by noon on the Wednesday prior to the Board meeting at which they wish to speak.
Wherever possible, public representatives are directed to appear at committee meetings, rather than Board meetings. Presentations to the Board are limited to five (5) minutes for each individual with a limit of three (3) speakers per issue. Lengthier briefings will be accepted in writing for the Board’s consideration. Trustees may only ask questions of clarification to the presenter. There will be no debate with the Trustees.
Reference: Public Meeting process
Motions at the Board
1. Moved- Trustee Loring-Kuhanga Whole School Suicide Prevention Model….to be encouraged through out the district- passed unanimously

2.Capital Amendment Bylaw  $2,931,347- passed unanimously

3.Cloverdale Seismic Project Identification Report   $14,070 – passed unanimously

4. Tillicum Seismic Project Identification Report  $11, 865 – passed unanimously

5.George Jay Seismic Project Identification Report   $34,270 – passed unanimously

6. Capital Plan 2013-2014  passed unanimously

7. That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) approve the revised Policy 4300 – District Health and Safety Committee. Trustee Loring- Kuhnga amended the motion to require the district to report to the Board annually on health and safety matters to ensure that all current and emerging issues as well as costs to the district would be reviewed in detail. The amendment failed 5/4  Against Amendment- Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy and Ferris  Supporting Amendment- Loring-Kuhanga, Nohr, Alpha and McNally

8. That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) approve the new Policy 4300.2 – Site-Based Joint Occupational, Health and Safety Committees Motion passed   This committee has been functioning for the past 5 years.

Superintendent’s Report
1. Temporary Teachers and temp contracts- hope for a common solution, fair for students, teachers and parents  
    Mark Walsh, labour relations specialist,  stated that the district expects teacher availability to be a determining factor when hiring for these positions. Teachers must be available 50% of the contract but each job posting will be evaluated based on the individual teacher’s circumstance and the timing in the year.  He stated that we want to solve it to ensure public confidence, educational impact for students and funding impact. *I would support ‘book marking’ the position for the pregnant teacher who has the most seniority and qualifications and then placing another teacher in that position who is available for the duration of the contract. Then the pregnant teacher could take TTOC calls or very short term contracts until she is able to come back to the position she earned. This way the teacher would be treated fairly and the students would have the teacher continuity they deserve. * I have made a request to get the specific details about the 12 classes Mark Walsh referenced including the costs for benefits and the number of teacher changes due to pregnancy.
Please read the following when considering this issue.

2. Enrolment- Preliminary Enrolment Report     * Sorry for the scatter….
Elementary-8,134                                                        2013  Elementary – 8,233  Difference- +99
                                                                           2012 Middle – 3,889   2013 Middle  – 3,880    Difference -9

High School – 7,260                 2013 High School 7,011   Difference -249    19,19,283

2012 Total – 19,283                           2013  Total – 19,124           Difference -159    * This report does not include international studentsl                                                                                                                                                                                                         * We are hoping for an upward swing in student population starting next year
2012-2013 Audited Financial Statements
The secretary treasurer, Debra Laser, presented a high level overview of the audited financial statements. Then Chair Orcherton stated that if there were any questions about the financial statements trustees could arrange to meet with the secretary treasurer for follow up. I am concerned that since we do not have a formal budget committee and we have been told that we are in the budget cycle year round and therefore can ask questions at any time that we were specifically directed to set up a meeting and not give an opportunity to ask questions publicly. It is my opinion that it is vitally important to ask all budget questions at the public board table. A motion to approve the audited financial statements, 2012/2013 was passed. 7/2 Opposing- Trustees Nohr and Loring-Kuhanga  Questions had not been asked or answered.

Notice of Motions

1. Moved-McNally   Health and Safety Committee
 That the Board establish ongoing trustee representation to the District Health and Safety Committee, assignment to be made by the Board Chair from amongst trustees who express interest, assignment by the Chair to be for a one year term, assigned trustee to report to the Board regularly in In Camera  or public meetings as appropriate; the District Health and Safety Committee to be open to attendance from any trustee.
2. Moved-McNally 
Student Trustee  TBD
Thank you, 
Your trustee,
Deborah Nohr ( 250-380-0888 or 250-896-0808-c )
* Please take a look at Trustee McNally’s blog, Lined Paper:)

Remember……our district budget ($200,000,000 approx.) has no inflationary factor built in and that means we take at least 2% or $350,000 from our SD 61 budget BEFORE we even start every year…and that is before unexpected downloaded costs from the province.
And now…..Cooperative Gains Mandate for CUPE wage increases! Where does the money come from….ultimately from the classroom?