Trustee Nohr…Report #26 SD 61
Equality for All in Public Education……Fully Funded and Properly Managed.
Education Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights April 7, 2014
Rugby Academy at Esquimalt H.S. Though this motion had been previously defeated in March it was brought back in April again. Some trustees were concerned that there would be a two tier rugby offering at a public high school based on the ability to pay. Students pay for sports academies all over the district. Usually it requires $1000 to be part of the year long program. In this case, there will be the regular intramural rugby program and the academy supported by Rugby Canada and the municipality of Esquimalt. It will be interesting and informative to evaluate this two tier sports program after the first year.
The Canoe Project at Shoreline M.S. The staff have developed a morning activity program of fun group activities to get the ‘blood circulating and the brain awakened’ as well as a healthy protein snack before students settle down to engage in their academic activities. There is a strong focus on ABL (activity based learning) and in-class learning support.
#1 Motion-McNally…that all personnel under Learning Initiatives be reassigned to appropriate positions in SD 61 and the L.I. program be closed. For: McNally, Alpha Against: Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy, Nohr, Orcherton * I voted against this motion because while I felt that there should be some reduction , perhaps 30%, I did not want to see the entire program closed. To be clear, we have many classes where the students are NOT receiving necessary learning support instruction, counselling, or early intervention and that is where I had hoped the 30% reduction in funding to L.I. would go. So I could not support the full closure of this program at this time as L.I. helps many teachers learn some new methodologies to address the vast range of needs in their classrooms.
#2 Motion-McNally… halt the implementation of wifi routers in elementary schools and apply the savings to the $1.8M deficit For:Alpha, McNally Against:Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy, Nohr, Orcherton* I voted against this motion because most elementary schools have already applied for wifi and router installation.
Sundance School- Kira Antinuk, a parent of Sundance students, expressed her desire and the desire of many in the Sundance area to have the school building used for community purposes. The rationale is the keep the building used for positive and purposeful activities and thereby helping to keep the community vibrant.I support this recommendation and see it as vitally important. I also appreciated the time Victoria counsellor, Shelly Gudgeon, took to attend the meeting and hear the discussion that ensued. This will be helpful for any future considerations by the city of Victoria.
Operations, Planning and Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights… April 14, 2014
Bad news from the Minister Fassbender! Truly, I feel that the public education sector is being harshly penalized for managing the public funds well. The Minister stated in a Vancouver interview that boards having a surplus may have to re-direct this money to seismic upgrades!!!….wait a minute there is NO surplus! The $17M in SD 61 are funds committed to buying class sets of text books, more tech /computer equipment and school based projects. The chair and the secretary treasurer will write a letter to the Minister informing him of our concerns with this new possibility of unilaterally reassigning the use of this SD 61 funding.
#1 Motion-McNally….delay budget vote to May, 2014 and convene the Budget Advisory Committee For: Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally Against:Orcherton, Nohr, Horsman, McEvoy, Ferris, Leonard * I voted against this motion because the secretary treasurer reminded us that we have Collective Agreement considerations regarding ‘lay off’ notices which must be done in early May.
#2 Motion- Nohr …that there be a reduction of $266,000 in the superintendent, associate superintendents and Learning Initiatives department to address the deficit and redress the closure of Sundance….. Chair Leonard ruled my motion out of order because the motion to close Sundance School had already been passed. * I should have brought this motion forward earlier.
#3 Motion-Nohr…maximum cap of $5000 for any expenses including professional development for all exempt staff and associate superintendents. * I withdrew this motion because the secretary-treasurer explained that these line items include mileage and professional membership fees as well. If we had a budget committee, we could review and tease apart the details of these line items and perhaps then look at some appropriate reduction / cap.
#4 Motion-Nohr…That $1000 be available to teachers interested in participating in the Need2 suicide prevention program. Superintendent Bell informed the trustees that there had been a training program in the fall which cost the district $1200 and at this time no further costs would be incurred and so I withdrew my motion
Now for the Board Meeting Monday, April 22, 2014
Student Achievement There was a great presentation from Victoria High students, their teacher, Stu Wheeler, and their principal, Randi Falls, about the experience the students have had this year in the trades programs and also in attending the Skills Canada Competition.Our students did very well. These students also joined with George Jay to give the elementary students an opportunity to learn about and actively participate in trade skills.Thank you to everyone for their amazing effort!
Petra Eggert, a Learning Initiatives teacher, spoke about the importance of the work of Learning Initiatives within the district. She explained how transformational the training can be for teachers to increase student engagement and learning. She spoke about her own children’s positive experience.
Cindy Graf, a GVTA rep. spoke about the broad range of professional development opportunities that are available to teachers including many programs from the BCTF. She also reminded trustees that teachers professional development funding has not been increased since 1992.
Superintendent’s Report Superintendent Bell reported out on Sundance School. So far, fanilies from Sundance have made the following school choices for September: 20 South Park, 9 Oaklands, 8 Willows, some Hillcrest and Rogers, 7 families have not yet made a decision or made their decision public. As I had anticipated, no families chose to go to Lakehill because it never was a viable possibility to travel all the way across town for a neighbourhood school experience.
#1 Motion– Rugby Academy Esquimalt H.S. For: Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McEvoy, Alpha Against: Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally * See my comments above for Ed. Policy for rationale.
#2 Motion- McNally Rescind motion to relocate Sundance School This motion was not accepted because action had already begun on the relocation process.
#3 Motion-McNally Closure of Learning Initiatives For: McNally Against: Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McEvoy * see Ed policy for my rationale
#4 Motion-McNally Halt implementation of Wifi Router costs and apply savings to budget deficit For: Nohr, McNally, Loring-Kuhanga Against: Alpha, Orcherton, Leonard, Horsman, Ferris, McEvoy
#5 Motion– McNally …convene Budget Advisory Committee to further address the deficit For: Loring-Kuhanga, Mcnally Against: Nohr, Alpha, Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McEvoy * see OPPs for my rationale
Special Budget Meeting April 23, 2014
#1 Motion…approves carrying forward $6.3M to the 2014-2015 school year to be applied to the deficit For: Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, Orcherton, Leonard, Horsman, Ferris, McEvoy Abstain: McNally
#2 Motion-Horsman…$53,501 surplus to fund learning mentors for Craigflower, George Jay, Victoria West, Tillicum and Quadra For: Nohr, McEvoy, Horsman, Orcherton Against: Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, Leonard, Ferris, Orcherton This motion was defeated
#3 Motion-McNally…$53,501 surplus be directed to Craigflower to support the learning of their students passed unanimously
#4 Motion That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) 2014-2015 Annual Budget Bylaw in the amount of $195,330,769 be:
Read a first time the 23rd day of April, 2014, Read a second time the 23rd day of April, 2014, Read a third time, passed and adopted the 23rd day of April, 2014. And that the Chairperson and secretary-treasurer be authorized to sign, seal and execute this Bylaw on behalf of the Board.
* I have NOT voted for the underfunded budget the past two years and I did NOT intend to vote for the budget this year. This budget forces our district and all other districts to seriously under serve many of our students including those that are most vulnerable and who often have parents who are unable to advocate for them as perhaps you are able to do for your children.
*I did NOT intend to vote for this budget on the third poll vote Tuesday, April 24, 2014. *Please take time to email your MLA, the Premier and the Minister of Education to advocate for fairness in funding for our children.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!
Trustee Deborah Nohr