Sundance Closure…Cuts Beyond the Marrow and Into the Heart

Trustee Nohr…Report #22      SD 61
March, 2014
Equality for All in  Public Education……Fully Funded and Properly Managed.

Education Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights     March 3, 2014
From time to time teachers will propose a new course of study for high school students. They are referred to as BAA (Board Authority Authorized) courses. I have observed that these courses originate from teachers’ graduate work or in this case from a teacher’s  personal knowledge and passion for the topic. Chris Parker, a teacher at Spectrum, presented his new course, History of Rock and Roll for consideration. The motion was passed unanimously. The students will love it and there will be so much opportunity to cover curriculum goals through this unique content area.

Operations, Planning and Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights… March 3, 2014

SD 61 will soon have a student trustee at the Board table. Superintendent Bell is working closely with the principals and the students to engage in conversation and instruct the students about the role of trustee and to then work together to create a selection process for the student trustee. Will keep you posted!
 The Board finally finished the work of reviewing the recommendations of the Public Engagement Committee. Just as a point of reference, none of the members of the public that have attended Board meetings with some regularity were selected to sit on this committee. The members of the public were selected by Chair Orcherton and this resulted in a retired trustee being selected to be a member of the public. After much debate a process has been put in place for the Q&A. All questions submitted will be included in the minutes but the answers will not. I felt strongly that the answers were equally important for the public to know. The motion to revise our meeting agenda format to now include a Q&A will be brought forward for consideration in April or May.

WorkSafe BC The district has a new Occupational Health and Safety Advisor, Christine Merner. The District will be working with Central Okanagan district staff to monitor all WorkSafeBC claims and WCAT appeals. The Director of Human Resources stated that the district is putting into place plans to support employees and to address areas of increasing claims.

Budget Deficit 2014-2015  Motion-Nohr
That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 ( Greater Victoria ) request the secretary-treasurer to provide a line item summary of each department’s 2013-2014 expenses with a focus on specific projects, initiatives and district activities and excluding staffing as well as basic operational costs to be presented at the March 24, 2014 Board meeting. Motion failed. Voted for: Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, McNally   Voted against: Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy and Ferris  It is my opinion that the trustees need to have more information and be more involved in the decision process to avoid the closing of schools such as Sundance. This is  just one example of how trustees could be more proactive in fulfilling their fiduciary duty.

Now for the Board Meeting     Monday, March 24, 2014  
Lots of Motions…Take a Look!

Student Achievement- 
Students from Spectrum presented a video and explained the how and why for their random acts of kindness activity….leading to responsible citizenry:)
District Presentations- 
Leslie Lee, principal of George Jay, was acknowledged for being selected as principal of the year. Congratulations to Leslie, and the teachers, other staff and parents for their dedication, hard work and love of the students and learning. No one can accomplish their goals without others.
Community Presentations 
No community presentations that evening.


Motions
#1 Motion-  History of Rock and Roll – Motion passed. Voted for: Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McEvoy   Voted against: McNally

#2 Motion- 2014-2015 School Year Calendar     Motion passed unanimously.

#3 Motion-
  A new boiler and energy study for George Jay school. ( $310,093 ) This is part of the Carbon Neutral Capital Program. Motion passed unanimously.

#4 Motion
- 2014-2915 Annual facilities Grant $3,176,200   This funding will be used to upgrade and maintain our facilities. Motion passed unanimously.

#5 Motion
- McNally     Student Action Plan

That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 ( Greater Victoria ) opt out of the BCSTA Stability for Student Action Plan and announce that decision publicly. Motion failed.
Voted for: Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, McNally   Voted against:  Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McEvoy   In my opinion, there was a very clear and logical  way to re-instate the funding that had been removed ( Bill 27 and Bill 28 ) from public education. Senior admin. could have worked with the GVTA to create a plan. It could have included more counsellors, learning assistance teachers, educational assistants being hired where the needs are very great and in some cases overwhelming. The majority of the funding would be put in place for September, 2014. The spin of suggesting ‘instability’ by providing more very needed support is completely unfounded.

#6 Motion- McNally   Needs Budget
That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 ( Greater Victoria ) submit to the province only a needs budget that includes remedies as needed to cancel the ongoing structural deficit in SD 61, and costs for implementing the retroactively restored language in the BCTF Collective Agreement. Motion failed. Voted for; McNally, Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha   Voted against: Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McEvoy
*  SD 61 has approx. $9 M structural deficit yearly to meet our current levels of instruction and support. In my opinion, our current level of support, is woefully inadequate and does not meet the needs of many of our students and often they are our most vulnerable students. I urge parents and community members to  send their thoughts on this to their MLA, Minister of Education and the Premier.

#7 Motion-  Orcherton     Providing bus transportation for students to go to Lakehill from Sundance
 Motion failed. Voted for: Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris   Voted against: Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, McNally    Abstained; McEvoy  * I voted against the motion because the Sundance community DID NOT want to go to Lakehill. They did not see it a viable to travel across town and far away from their neighbourhood.

#8 Motion- Leonard   Cursive writing be maintained as a skill within the BC curriculum and this is to be presented as a motion at the BCSTA AGM in April, 2014   Motion passed unanimously.

Special Board Meeting to Address the Sundance School Closure ( This is the phrasing the parents requested to be used )
Wednesday, March 27, 2014
Motion- That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) approves the relocation of the Sundance Elementary School program to Lakehill Elementary School and closure of the current facility effective July 1, 2014. Motion passed. Voted for: Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McEvoy  Voted against: Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally   Abstained: Alpha
* A very sad day to close a neighbourhood school that supports all its students, faculty, families and community so very well. If we had a well developed strategic plan with a founding principle that neighbourhood schools are our first priority to protect then we as trustees could have made other financial decisions over the past 5 years leading to a very different result.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!
Trustee Deborah Nohr
deborah@deborahnohr.com
deborah@sprome.com

Stay of Court Decision….Lots of Motions at the Board Table!

Trustee Nohr…Report #21      SD 61
February, 2014
Equality for All in  Public Education……Fully Funded and Properly Managed.
Latest Events for the Government, the BCTF and funding for Public Education (The Canadian Press- Feb. 26, 2014)
‘A judge has granted the B.C. government’s request to put on hold a costly court decision related to its contract with the province’s teachers until an appeal is heard.The government asked the B.C. Appeal Court to temporarily stay the ruling issued last month, which struck down legislation that removed class size and composition from the teachers’ contract.The lower court ruling also permitted the teachers’ union to distribute copies of its final argument, which contained references to sealed cabinet documents.The Appeal Court has granted stays to both aspects of the ruling until the appeal is heard, which is expected by May or June.Government lawyers had argued that allowing the ruling to stand would create chaos as school boards scrambled to hire teachers and find millions of dollars.The B.C. Supreme Court decision also found the government tried to provoke a strike by teachers and awarded the union $2 million.’
I am disappointed with the Court of Appeals’ decision to stay the BC Supreme Court decision. I recognize that a massive structural change would not be reasonable or prudent. There are, however, countless students not receiving adequate support and so a gradual funding injection may look like increasing counsellor support from one day a week to three or four days per week in each of our elementary and middle  schools….more support, no disruption, some hiring. Or it may look like additional aide time in some of our classes with a very high number of students that need more one to one instruction, supportive review or encouragement…again great for all students and the teachers with less disruption than currently taking place when needs are not being met…some new hiring. I support the process of putting  the majority of the funding into the September, 2014 structure as the planning will soon be underway.  I think the ‘disruption’ framing by the government is more like Chicken Little…the sky is falling! No, not at all.
Education Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights     February 3, 2014
New rugby courses are now available for grades 10, 11. 12 at Esquimalt High…available to all students.
Foundational Skills Assessment…Further Review
The Ministry stats that I included in my January, 2014 blog caused some concern. I would like to further clarify this issue.
On January 18, 2010 the Board passed the following motion: That the Board of Education of  School District  No. 61 (Greater Victoria) continues to honour all parent requests to withdraw from the Foundational Skills Assessment testing. Less and less students have been writing the test.
In 2007,  at the grade 4 and 7 level there were 7% of the students that did not write the FSA and in 2013 there were 23% of the students not writing the test. In my opinion, there are many reasons for this including: student reading level is not yet well developed and therefore the student may not be able to demonstrate skill mastery as they are impeded by their limited reading skills yet conceptually strong so why put them through a frustrating experience, lower cognitive ability, significant test taking anxiety, no funding to support students’ needs as reflected by test results, parental philosophical difference/ not supporting big, high stakes testing, parental support for teacher assessment and more personalized learning, a significant sense of frustration for students with special education designations…to name a few.  
SD 61 removes the 23% ( students not writing the FSA tests ) from their analysis. The Superintendent’s Report on Student Achievement (2013-2014) includes the following data: gr.4-83% meet or exceed expectations in Reading, 89% meet or exceed expectations in Writing, 81% meet or exceed expectations in  Numeracy; gr.7-82% meet or exceed expectations in Reading, 92% meet or exceed expectations in Writing, 77% meet or exceed expectations in Numeracy.
It is my opinion after having taught for many years as a special education teacher as well as having discussed the composition of the 23% with teachers that a significant number of these students would score below meeting or exceeding expectations for grade 4 and 7.  Over a decade of chronic underfunding is a major factor affecting student  achievement. Hope this adds clarity to the issue.
Operations, Planning and Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights… January 11, 2014
*The 2014-2015 school calendar is on the SD 61 website now…we still have a two week spring break.
*The amended annual budget Bylaw  2013-2014 totals $207, 798, 396 and it was passed unanimously
*The Board briefly discussed WorkSafe BC issues and the surcharges to our district. Surcharges are additional costs to our district.  We have asked our secretary treasurer for more detail about the  most prevalent areas of safety concern for our employees. The goal would be to do everything possible to reduce our surcharges….resulting in more funding for the students.  I will ask for some detail on this issue at our next Board meeting. The secretary treasurer will be reporting back.
The motion to support this inquiry is as follows:
Moved-Trustee Nohr
That the Board of Education of School District No.61 (Greater Victoria) request senior administration to provide a review of WorkSafeBC surcharges for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 for the February 2014 OPP meeting. Voted for- Trustees Orcherton, Nohr, McNally and Horsman  Voted Against: Trustee Leonard and Ferris   McEvoy absent

Another great motion…….Cyber Bullying  
Moved-Trustee Loring-Kuhanga
That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) develop  policies and regulations regarding cyber-bullying that are current with the proposed federal legislation, Bill C-13 by directing the District Leadership Team to review all SD 61 relevant policies and regulations and make recommendations to the Board of Education on any additions, changes and / or revisions that align with the Ministry of Education’s Safe, Caring and Orderly Schools.  * The motion was referred by Chair Leonard to senior administration for review.
Now for the Board Meeting     Monday, February 17, 2014   Lots of Motions…Take a Look!
Student Achievement
Students from  James Bay Community School presented on Habits of the Mind / Genius Hour
The students were confident and able to speak with clarity and understanding. It was obvious that they enjoyed their activities
Stakeholder Presentations
Community Presentations
Dr. Starla Anderson reminded us that the Q&A motion began back in Feb. 2011 She noted again, that most districts in the province have a Q&A. Dr. Anderson spoke about the important considerations to keep in mind when developing a public engagement policy and the important value that comes from the public’s experience and insight. She encouraged the Board to get its work done on Public Engagement by June, 2014.
Alex Nelson spoke about the residential school experience and impact it had for him, his family and community. He informed us that approx. 5000 students attended the Truth and Reconciliation gathering. Alex also emphasized the importance for all Canadians to be committed to living better as a result of the Truth and Reconciliation process.
Monique Gray-Smith – Little Drum shared the following’ We believe in the healing of our people.’ The 1892 smallpox epidemic resulted in the loss of 90% of their community. Let us invest in our common humanity. An Aboriginal history course required for graduation would inform and create the opportunity for positive change.
Motions
#1 Motion- Rugby Courses at Esquimalt High School gr. 10,11, 12
Motion: Passed
 For: Trustees Orcherton, Horsman, Ferris, Leonard, Nohr,Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga  Against: Trustees McNally  Absent: McEvoy
#2 Motion- 2014-2015 School Year Calendar   Passed 
For: Trustees Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, Alpha, McNally, Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga   unanimous
#3 Motion- Negotiate at the bargaining table

That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) write a letter to Premier Clark strongly urging the Provincial Government to return to the bargaining table, in good faith, to negotiate class size and composition language and to fully fund the agreed to language. Motion Failed   
For: Trustees Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris  Against: Trustees Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, McNally * I could not vote for this weak motion because it does NOT acknowledge the recent decision of the BC Supreme Court to restore the funding to public education in support of class composition and class size language.
#4 Motion- Surcharges by WorkSafeBC Tabled to the March OPPs meeting.
#5 Motion- 2013-2014 Amended Annual Budget Bylaw  Passed- unanimously
#6 Motion-Sundance School

That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) move the date for consideration of Sundance School as one of the suggested cost reductions to the March 27 Special Board Meeting 2014-2015 when all other reductions will be outlined. For: Trustees Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, McNally, Orcherton, Horsman  Against: Trustees Leonard, Ferris


#7 Motion-Required Course for Graduation- The Residential School Experience
That the BCSTA follow up on all Motions that were passed at the 2013 AGM regarding residential schools and request that the Ministry of Education develop a required high school course for all graduates in public schools similar to the 25 hour course that is provided to all graduating students in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Passed- unanimously    I am very excited about this potential opportunity for our students and their families who will learn along side each other.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!
Trustee Deborah Nohr

Further Erosion of Our Community and School District Culture….Underfunding

Trustee Nohr…Report #21      SD 61
January, 2014
Equality for All in  Public Education……Fully Funded and Properly Managed.
BC Supreme Court Decision Finds in Favour of Our Children!
I am very pleased with this new decision by the BC Supreme Court because I have seen the lack of instructional time for many, many students over the past 12 years and I find it absolutely unacceptable.
CBC NEWS…B.C. Supreme Court Justice, Susan Griffin, has ordered the province to pay $2 million in damages for stripping teachers of their collective bargaining rights and failing to reinstate them when ordered by the court.
The decision follows the court’s ruling in April 2013 that provincial legislation interfering with teachers’ bargaining rights was unconstitutional and a breach of of Section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees freedom of association.
‘In order to provide an effective remedy in relation to the government’s unlawful action, the government must pay the BCTF damages of $2 million’- B.C. Supreme Court Justice Susan Griffin
At the time, the court found the legislation deleted certain bargaining terms and prohibited bargaining having to do with a wide range of working conditions, including class size and composition and support for special needs students.
“The freedom of workers to associate has long been recognized internationally and in Canada as an important aspect of a fair and democratic society. Collective action by workers helps protect individuals from unfairness in one of the most fundamental aspect of their lives, their employment,” writes B.C. Supreme Court Justice Susan Griffin.
Griffin says usually when legislation is declared unconstitutional by the court, it is struck down. But the court decided to give the government 12 months to address the repercussions of its decision.
Instead, Griffin says, the government brought in Bill 22 — virtually identical legislation involving “the deletion and prohibition of hundreds of collective agreement terms on working conditions.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-teachers-federation-wins-2m-in-damages-from-province-1.2513211

Wednesday, January 28, 2014…First Consultation with Parents and School Staff at Sundance…7pm
I see great value for our children, families and communities by having schools with smaller student populations that support a closely knit community and also support students that feel overwhelmed, stressed and anxious in larger school settings. This is another aspect to providing personalized learning. There will be another consultation at the school on Tuesday, February 18 at 7pm and then another opportunity for input at the Board meeting on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Education Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights     January 6, 2014
The new Oak Bay High School is coming along beautifully….Darryl Johnson, project designer, stated that sustainability is a fundamental component of this project by incorporating leading edge environmental initiatives in relation to Bowker Creek, storm water management, cycling paths and pedestrian walkways. The design includes the ‘arrival plaza’, ‘student plaza’, ‘Aboriginal Space’ and the four pillars of excellence: academics, citizenship, arts and athletics. The Neighbourhood Learning Center will be open to the community and it will contain a daycare and a teen centre. Neighbours, community members, students and staff were major contributors to the consultation process…..ready for September, 2015!
OPP Meeting… A Few Highlights… January 13, 2014
Trustee McNally questioned when the Board would hear about Worksafe BC surcharges and the Attendance Awareness costs.
Rob Paynter asked Trustees to consider developing a policy to include insurance for teachers, if injured, when involved with students during casual activities. Chair Orcherton stated that Worksafe BC defines these policies. But what happens if a teacher is injured during voluntary recreational activities such as lunch time outdoor lacrosse?
Attendance Awareness is a program that is being implemented in many work place sectors. Ms. Kim Munro provide information about what this could look like in SD 61. It would require hiring another senior staff member / $100,000 to analyze trends and work with staff identified as potentially abusing the system.  Teachers, on average take 11 sick days/year while they have negotiated 15 days contractually. Nurses take approximately the same number of sick days. Teachers have a very unique working environment: surrounded by highly concentrated quantities of bacteria and viruses every day, having constant strain to their throat because of the need to communicate to large groups of students hourly, not to mention hitting the ground running with little or no time during the day….this may and often does result in exhaustion and lowered immunity. Currently, principals have the responsibility to monitor their staffs’ attendance and so let’s save money and treat out staff with respect…and if there is a concern let our principals address the issue respectfully.
Debra Laser, our Secretary Treasurer, informed the Board that our last envelope of funding had arrived based on January enrolment and we have an additional …$2,252,936
Trustees were given copies of the Summary of Partner Group Budget Input 2014/2015
We now have a district policy and regulations for employee bullying…but not for our students! Policy and Regulation 4303
There has been an update to the Volunteer Driver regulation 1241 It is my observation that there are so many more parents driving on field trips because we do not have funding for buses. This creates a situation of inequity because some of our schools have a disproportionate number of parents that do not have cars or are unable to take time off work to participate in their children’s activities. ANOTHER UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE OF UNDERFUNDING.
CUPE 947 has agreed to contractual details with respect to their extended benefits….hopefully it will soon be ratified.
Motion #1  Moved- Trustee Nohr….WiFi Installation
That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 ( Greater Victoria ) request senior administration to provide a review of the new process for elementary schools to request wifiand provide a financial accounting for the installation costs and any other District funding that was available to schools for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014. Motion defeated. For:Trustees Nohr, Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally  Against: Trustees Orcherton, Horsman, Ferris, Leonard
Superintendent Gaiptman stated that the same process will be used that was used with middle and high school implementation. Principals will work with school staff and the PAC to determine the consultation process for each stakeholder group at the school. Once the consultation process is complete, a proposal will be submitted to the superintendent for approval. There is funding that has been set aside for two access points per school costing $1200. Any additional needs must be funded by the school.
WorksafeBC information with respect to surcharges will be presented at the February 11, 2014 OPP meeting
Motion #2  Moved- Trustee Loring-Kuhanga.Question Focussed Round Table Discussions Re: Budget  Motion Tabled to OPP meeting/February 11, 2014

That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria ) structure the public input budget meetings on February 19, April 2, April 9 and March 26 budget presentation as  question -focussed round tables which would provide for greater discussion and dialogue by stakeholders and general public.   For: Trustees Orcherton, Alpha, Horsman, Ferris and Leonard  Against: Trustees McNally, Nohr and Loring-Kuhanga  Fuller and more detailed and specific discussion must start to take place when reviewing the yearly budget. It is my opinion that it is not possible to vote for the budget UNLESS you understand the specific content. I voted against this motion because I feel there should be a series of meetings set up for deep analysis of the budget prior to the public meetings at SJ Willis, especially when the closure / relocation of a school is on the chopping block!
Motion #3 Moved- Trustee Loring-Kuhanga     Motion: Defeated
That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 ( Greater Victoria ) develop a 5 year strategic plan through a process of engagement and discussion with all stakeholder groups by designating a allotment of time at the monthly Operations, Planning and Policy committee meetings throughout 2014. Motion Defeated  For: Trustees Nohr, Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga and McNally   Against: Trustees Orcherton, Horsman, Ferris, Leonard    We are long overdue in reviewing our guiding principles, vision and 2014-2019 goals for our district across all  departments and sectors….a disappointing defeat.
Now for the Board Meeting     Monday, January 20, 2014
Student Achievement
Students from Margaret Jenkins provided a great presentation on the historical research they have undertaken to celebrate the 100th anniversary of their school.
Stakeholder Presentations
GVTA
Lise Tetrault: BC students receive $1000 less per year than other provinces, 46% of classes in BC have > 3 spec. ed. students, teachers on SIP- provincial average 3.45% and 5.64% for SD 61, sandwich generation employees are 5X more likely to access SIP, Worksafe BC claims drive some of the sick day use, let’s look for a fair approach
Kirk Doherty: let’s address systemic factors, let’s support teachers in an effective way, 1/4 of the teachers would have to take one less sick day to cover the costs of hiring additional staff  and this is not likely, some shop classes now have  multiple age groups without EA support for some students, there is no additionnal funding to support teacher attendance…what is the supportive approach?
Motions
#1 Motion- Attendance Awareness * Please review the details from the OPP meeting
Motion: Passed
For: Trustees Orcherton, Horsman, Ferris, Leonard, McEvoy  Against: Trustees Nohr, Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally
#2 Motion- Superintendent’s Report on Achievement
Motion: Passed
For: Trustees Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McEvoy, Alpha, McNally, Nohr*    Against:  Trustee Loring-Kuhanga   *I mistakenly voted for the motion. It is my opinion that the report does not include some very important information and  factors about achievement levels. Graduation rates and achievement levels are very separate criteria. Why are our universities and colleges now requiring written language assessments and in some cases requiring math remediation tutorials? An example of the Ministry of Education’s current programming options that may lead to less course mastery is a three week grade 12  English or Math course called Fast Track. This approach to instruction cannot compare to a full term or semester course. There are many other examples and Distance Learning is another. Research shows that students often feel frustrated and do not stay with the DL courses because they are missing the engagement factor with the teacher and other students…..that is often central to the real learning.
#3 Motion- Moved- McNally WiFi Safety Guidelines The motion was very long but the focus of the motion was to ensure that safety guidelines be posted in classroom for tablet and other technology use. Motion: Defeated
For: Trustees McNally, Loring-Kuhanga, Nohr, Alpha   Against:  Trustees Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McEvoy
Communications
VCPAC sent a letter to Chair Orcherton expressing concern about the FSA statistics I presented in my December, 2013 report which I found on the Ministry of Education website. I am so pleased that  parents are reading my monthly report. The statistical framework for assessing student literacy, written language and numeracy changed significantly in 2008. We will be receiving a presentation at the next Ed.Policy meeting and fully discussing the issues surrounding student achievement. Again, graduation rates and achievement levels are very separate concepts or criteria when analyzing what has happened for our students in a decade of significant underfunding. Think of all the tutoring companies now on the commercial/ educational landscape. Rodney A. Clifton, (McGill-Queen’s University Press), is a co-author of Recent Social Trends in Canada, 1960-2000, when evaluating university students he states, ‘…but there are many more weak students and those who are not well prepared….’ , and ‘ …over the years an increasing percentage of the less able students have enroled in university programs.’Vol. 6, Issue 3, p.15 I believe that some who support the underfunding model, ‘do more with less’, view the top students as being able to prevail and to continue to be on top in this system of underfunding. The problem is the number of students that are being under serviced are achieving less and less and this compounds over the years as more students fall into this category that would not be there if the necessary instructional services were available. Hence, Mr. Clifton’s comment.  * The FSA statistical framework will be reviewed at the February 3 Ed. Policy meeting, 7 pm.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!
Trustee Deborah Nohr

Trustee Nohr…Report #21      SD 61 December 31, 2013 Equality for All in  Public Education……Fully Funded and Properly Managed. Education Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights     December 2, 2013 Superintendent Gaiptman presented a summary of the district’s graduation from 2008-2012 showing a consistent improvement. The Superintendent stated that the improvements were due to the hard work of all staff. * Specific details will be referenced in the December 9th Board meeting summary below. OPPs Meeting… A Few Highlights… December 2, 2013 The first order of business was to continue the review of the Public Engagement Committee recommendations. The discussion was focussed on the Q&A which will now occur at the public board meeting. All questions will be directed to the Chair. Now for the Board Meeting     Monday, December 9, 2013 Trustee Elections for 2014-2015 Chair- Peg Orcherton Vice Chair- Bev Horsman Representative for BCPSEA (BC Public Service Employers’ Association) – Tom Ferris Representative for BCSTA ( BC Trustees Association ) – provincial councillor – Bev Horsman Representative Vancouver Island Labour Relations Association – Tom Ferris Chair for Operations, Planning and Policy Committee – Elaine Leonard Chair for Education Policy Development Committee -  Catherine Alpha *None of the new trustees were elected Chair’s Report- Chair Orcherton reported that as the government is undergoing a core review we as a district will be undertaking our own core review. The Chair stated that we do a core review every year through our budget review. I would like to see a specific review of every department with the trustees present in this process. That is not occurring at this time. Motions #1 Motion- That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 ( Greater Victoria ) put forth a media release about its graduation rates. Passed- unanimously Here are some important current stats: female grad. rates up 6.6%, male grad. rates up 7.2%,  ELL learners (English Language Learners) grad rates up 7.2%, grad rates with honours up 5% and students with special needs graduating with Dogwood Certificate up 8.1%  Again, this is the result of enormous efforts by all in our district. While this is great news there is no doubt that students, parents, other professionals, para professionals and teachers face the impact of underfunding each and every day and an increasing sense of being overwhelmed and under serviced in the effort to provide appropriate instruction for all students. Class composition, that is students with specific identified special needs or yet to be identified special needs are not receiving the instruction they need and deserve due to the public education funding policy of the government. If you observe students not receiving the instruction or other support they need or if you hoped for more instructional support, counselling, speech and language support for your own child consider the following data. Foundational Skills Assessment (FSA): 2001- gr. 4 reading-80%, 2012-71% and 2001- gr. 4 writing-91% and 2012- 73%, 2001- gr. 4 numeracy- 86% and 2012 – 67%… 2001- gr. 7 reading-83% and 2012- 61%, 2001- gr.7 writing – 81% and 2012 – 66%, 2001 gr.7 numeracy – 85% and 2012 – 56% * Consider also that the Ministry of Education requires only a class size report from each school district; they have expunged the class composition data requirement. * Teachers would report these same sharp declines from their daily, weekly and summative assessment results. These sharp declines in achievement at the grade 4 and 7 levels is in large part due to insufficient professional staffing. Students need the direct instruction of teachers, the reviewing and reinforcing of skills and concepts from educational aids, the small group and one to one talk time with counsellors, the weekly lessons from speech and language therapists and finally the specialized support of librarians and learning assistance teachers. * How do you think this makes students feel? … frustrated, inadequate, disinterested and more In an October 7, 2012 letter to the Minister of Education, Peter Fassbender, the trustees of SD 61 stated the following: While we understand that most of the public sector has concluded collective agreements under the cooperative gains mandate, it is our view that the education sector is unique. School boards throughout the province have been facing annual provincial shortfalls and additional costs, including for example, the teachers’ pension plan rate increase, MSP premium increases, higher BC Hydro costs and general inflation, which have led to service reductions in the K – 12 sector. #2 Motion- That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 ( Greater Victoria) approve the 2014-2015 Budget Plan. Motion Passed For: Nohr, Orcherton, Horsman, Alpha, McEvoy, Ferris, Leonard. McNally Against: Loring-Kuhanga * Trustee Loring-Kuhanga wanted and more in-depth budget review ( refer to the following motion ) and so did I. I voted for this motion because of the appropriate timeline and general format for discussion with the public. I strongly feel as Trustee Loring-Kuhanga does that SD 61 should have specific Budget Committee for all interested trustees and other stakeholders. #3 Motion- That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 ( Greater Victoria ) hold a series of question-focussed budget meetings constituted as meetings of an Ad Hoc Committee (Bylaw 9140) at no cost to the Board and to include menbers of the current      ( and future Budget Committee), as well as any interested trustees to be among those “selected” by the Board, and any interested stakeholder to discuss questions raised about the budget and the SD 61 expenses. Findings and recommendations from the Ad Hoc Committee to be presented to the Board at public meetings beginning with further examination of the 8 items from the Secretary-Treasurer’s memo of November 12th. The term of the Ad Hoc Committee to be open until two weeks before the final April Board budget debate and vote. Motion Defeated For: Loring-Kuhanga, Nohr   Against: Leonard, Alpha, Horsman, Orcherton, McEvoy, Ferris, McNally * It is my opinion that trustees need more information that can only be attained through deeper discussion, drilling down on the numbers and asking more specific questions. Superintendent’s Report  Superintendent Gaiptman and Associate Superintendent Bell provided the following information on 2012-2013 Dogwood Completion rates: female grad. rates up 6.6%, male grad. rates up 7.2%,  ELL learners (English Language Learners) grad rates up 7.2%, grad rates with honours up 5% and students with special needs graduating with Dogwood Certificate up 8.1% New Motions or…Notice of Motion #1 Motion-Rezoning Application for License Retail Store at Hillside Mall #2 Motion-iPad Safety Public Disclosure of In-Camera Items: The contract for CUPE 382 workers in our district (outside workers, custodians and maintenance workers)  has been ratified. * I support the use of hard wired technology for our youngest learners! Tablets can be charged through hard wire and then used. As a trustee, I have been given no financial costing of this initiative, installing wifi in all our elementary schools. I will be asking for a report on this and the district’s plan to accommodate students and employees with severe EMF sensitivity. I will also ask what plan, if any, does the district have to ensure the safest installation of wifi. Until recently, the hours spent at school  were the ‘break’ from wifi and technology….off the EMF smog grid for 6 or 7 hours each day. Now, most children will have 24 hour exposure to EMF! With the emerging health findings, we should be concerned. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog! Trustee Deborah Nohr

French Immersion…George Jay, Coastal Kindergarten and WIFI in Elementary …and a Huge Deficit

Trustee Nohr…Report #21      SD 61
November, 2013
Equality for All in  Public Education……Fully Funded and Properly Managed.
Education Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights     November 4, 2013
French immersion at George Jay? Presently, 124students within the George Jay catchment area are attending other schools for French immersion. Bringing these students back to their neighbourhood school is very important. The following motion was passed (in principle) unanimously: That the Board of Education of School District No. 61(Greater Victoria) approve the addition of a French Immersion program at George Jay Elementary School beginning September 2014, with the introduction of a kindergarten class.
Did you know that the BC curriculum is being revised? Deputy Supt Sherri Bell provided a first look at this new K-9 revised curriculum. There is greater emphasis on student/teacher developed activities and methodologies as well as a reduction in learning outcomes with a focus on core concepts (big ideas). What do you think? Should environmental studies or sustainable living be a stand-alone curriculum area denoting its importance?
 At this time, it appears to be integrated through all other curriculum areas.
OPPs Meeting… A Few Highlights… November 12, 2013
Janis Hoffman, a member of the public, asked that trustees ensure that choices are made available to parents concerned about the health impacts of wireless technology in schools. I, too, see the need for training at the school level to ensure that all staff and students use hard wired and wireless technology in the most safety conscious way. Where are the routers being placed? Can we reduce the EMF frequency levels? This may serve both the safety concerns for children and employees as well as to reduce the district’s energy costs.
Further review was given to the subcommittee on public engagement recommendations. I recommended that trustees should be able to ask a point of clarification to a member of the public presenting at the board.  #1 Motion: That the Board of Education of School District # 61 Greater Victoria revise the wording of item #5, bullet 6 of Bylaw 9360 to add,” trustees, through the chair, many ask presenters questions of clarification”. This motion was defeated. Against-Trustees Leonard, Orcherton, Ferris, and Horsmen  For- Trustees nor, McNally, Alpha,hand Loring-Kuhanga  McEvoy (absent)
Q&A….15 minutes at our Board meetings. This will definitely foster greater engagement with the public and help trustees have a better understanding of what is on the minds of our public/parents.
VCPAC, through their president, John Bird, reported out that the majority of parents who participated in the WiFi survey in supported WiFi in our elementary schools. There were a significant percentage of parents who had concerns about the health and safety issues related to WiFi and children.
Two motions were brought forward: #1 Motion- Moved Ferris That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) continues to monitor the documentation from the Vancouver Island Health Authority, the Provincial Health Officer, Health Canada and the World Health Organization with regard to the use of WiFi in schools. Further, the WiFi committee recommends that the board reviews on an annual basis, those recommendations and receive updates on any changes. As I recall, in the past two years, the Board has received only a very brief update on WiFi from the WiFi committee. I have learned more about the growing body of evidence related to WiFi health and safety issues from the many public presentations that cite peer reviewed, independent research findings. I will continue to work on this important issue. It is my opinion that this is not the year to spend more money on WiFi installation when we are facing a significant deficit of $2M, $5M…..  or possibly higher.
#2 Motion  Moved- Ferris That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) allow the use of WiFi in elementary schools subject to the school first obtaining the support of the school community. Moved forward to the Nov. 18th Board meeting. 
Will each school be required to generate the funding for the WiFi installation or will it come out for operating budget or will it be a joint effort?
Statement of Financial Information- Trustee Loring-Kuhanga brought forward a series of questions drilling deeper into the district budget. This information was provided to all the trustees and provided a much more in-depth understanding of some of the major line items in our 2012- 2013 budget. Trustee Loring-Kuhanga stated that she would be bringing forward a notice of motion.
WorkSafe BC Cost Summary-Our district receives a surcharge, that is additional money from the budget is required by WorkSafe BC based on worker injuries and health issues. Worker safety is paramount and it  often has a direct impact on the quality of the learning environment and the learning experience for our students. Trustees have asked for more detail related to these surcharges. This will be brought forward at the December board meeting.
Attendance Awareness- Kim Munro, Director of Human Resources, presented Information about the District’s desire to implement in Attendance Awareness Program. Ms. Munro stated that the program will use a relationship based and conversation led approach to ensure that all employees are treated fairly and consistently. Ms Munro advised that a dedicated position will be needed to manage attendance and to implement programs to promote health, wellness and safety in the workplace. Currently, on average, employees use 10.43 sick days. The district would save $460,444 with a one day reduction in the number of sick days used.
This is a very complex issue. Employee health and wellness is tied directly to underfunding of public education. When employees are ‘spread very thin’ and the daily demands of the job require a ‘hit the ground running approach’  each and every day serious fatigue, stress and illness will follow. Add into the mix the fact that our employees are working in a germ incubator aka the classroom and it is inevitable that viruses and bacteria will spread throughout the school community. Let’s properly fund and support our staff, especially those supporting learning in the classroom. What is the process to insure that we do not have classrooms where the teacher and/ or the educational assistant is working in a situation of distress? What is the process to insure that employees returning to work are supported for a successful re-entry? These are questions that I will ask that the board table.
#3 Motion  Moved-Ferris That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) implement the Attendance Awareness Program and proceed to hire a human resources advisor, wellness and attendance awareness, to coordinate the programme. We have asked for the cost to hire another employee and for feedback from our employee groups. This will be reported out at the December 9 Board meeting.
Now for the Board Meeting     Monday, November 18, 2013
Student Presentation   Cups, Cups and More Cups    Students from Glanford Middle School and principal, Louis Scigliano, provided an amazing challenge for the trustees! Requiring both physical and mental agility we were put to the test. Trying to remember which hand, left or right, cups up or down and changing the pattern constantly was hard. Congratulations to the students for their mastery and for their ability to teacher / mentor the trustees!
Community Presentations 1. Emily Federico- South park PAC, Coastal Kindergarten
                                        2. Tiffany Carlyle- James Bay PAC, Coastal Kindergarten
                                        3. Bonnie Davison- parent, Coastal Kindergarten
                                        4. Peter Milne- parent, wireless technology
                                        5. John Bird- VCPAC, School Culture and Student Services
Chair’s Report- Chair Orcherton reported that as the government is undergoing a core review we as a district will be undertaking our own core review. Are we to look  eff sciences? Really? Currently, some, a significant number of our students, including our most vulnerable students are not receiving proper support because we do not have adequate funding.
Motions
#1 Motion- That the Board of Education of  School District No.61 (Greater Victoria)  approve the Program of Choice Application : Coastal Kindergarten Program Proposal  for a two-year pilot located at James Bay Community School and South Park Family School beginning September 2014.   
Motion carried- For: Trustees Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, Orcherton, Leonard, Horsman, Ferris,   Against-Trustee McNally

* What I have been thinking since is… is it really the best idea to be driving kindergarten students across town and away from their own neighbourhood schools….kindergarten? How wise is this? Does this support community sustainability? Would this be in the best interests of the child? Who will be driven across town? Most likely, the child in a family with resources to get outside and explore the coastal habitat. The child  who desperately needs the outdoor experience to support emotional, spiritual and physical well being will not have the opportunity. I will not vote for any more specialized or niche programs for elementary school.
#2 Motion-That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) approve the addition of a French Immersion programme at George Jay Elementary School, beginning September 2014 with the introduction of a kindergarten class. 
Motion carried-unanimously * Let’s bring those families back to the George Jay neighbourhood.
New Motions or…Notice of Motion
#1 Motion- Trustee Ferris:  That the Board of Education of School District No.61 (Greater Victoria) table discussion of trustee remuneration, including the motion referred from the October 21, 2013 Board of Education meeting, until after the municipal/trustee elections of November 2014
* My position is that until our teachers negotiate a wage settlement I have no interest in reviewing and / or increasing trustee remuneration. SD 61 has a significant deficit one contributing factor is the ‘cooperative gains’ mandate put on public education which lead to the recent CUPE wage settlement (approx. $500,000- 2013/2014 and $1.2M- 2014/2015 ) This will take significant funding out of the classroom.
#2 Motion- Trustee Ferris:  That the Board of Education of School District No.61  (Greater Victoria) continues to monitor documentation from the Vancouver Island Health Authority, Provincial Health Officer, Health Canada and the World Health Organization with regard to the use of WiFi in schools. Further, the WiFi committee recommends that the Board reviews, on an annual basis, those recommendations and receives updates on any changes. Motion carried- For- Trustees Loring-Kuhanga, Orcherton, Horsman, Ferris, Alpha, Leonard, McEvoy  Against- Trustee McNally, Nohr * We need  reports at the board  table providing additional information from other credible sources such as Citizens for Safe Technology. Cutting edge results from studies comes last to government agencies.
* As I recall, in the past two years, the Board has received only a very brief update on WiFi from the WiFi committee. I have learned more about the growing body of evidence related to WiFi health and safety issues from the many public presentations that cite peer reviewed, independent research findings and my own reading. I will continue to work on this important issue. It is my opinion that this is not the year to spend more money on WiFi installation when we are facing a significant deficit of $2M, $5M…..  or possibly higher. What are we doing to accommodate  students and employees that have a significant sensitivity to EMF? This is a question that I will ask at the Board table. When parents express an unwillingness to provide consent to expose their child to EMF / wifi all day at school, what will we do? 


#3 Motion- Moved Trustee Ferris  That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) allow the use of wifi in elementary schools subject to each school first obtaining the support of their school community. Motion carried- For- Trustee Orcherton, Leonard, Horsman, Ferris, Alpha   Against-Trustee Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally
* I support the use of hard wired technology for our youngest learners! Tablets can be charged through hard wire and then used. As a trustee, I have been given no financial costing of this initiative. I will be asking for a report on this and the district’s plan to accommodate students and employees with severe EM sensitivity. I will also ask what plan, if any, does the district have to ensure the safest installation of wifi. Until recently, the hours spent at school  were the ‘break’ from wifi….off the EMF smog grid for 6 or 7 hours each day. Now, most children will have 24 hour exposure to EMF! With the emerging health findings, we should be concerned.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!
Trustee Deborah Nohr

French Immersion, Coastal Kindergarten….and Wifi for Elementary Schools

Trustee Nohr…Report #21      SD 61
November, 2013
Equality for All in  Public Education……Fully Funded and Properly Managed.

Education Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights     November 4, 2013
French immersion at George Jay? Presently, 124students within the George Jay catchment area are attending other schools for French immersion. Bringing these students back to their neighbourhood school is very important. The following motion was passed unanimously: That the Board of Education of School District No. 61(Greater Victoria) approve the addition of a French Immersion program at George Jay Elementary School beginning September 2014, with the introduction of a kindergarten class.
Did you know that the BC curriculum is being revised? Deputy Supt Sherry Bell provided a first look at this new K-9 revised curriculum. There is greater emphasis on student/teacher developed activities and methodologies as well as a reduction in learning outcomes with a focus on core concepts (big ideas). What do you think? Should environmental studies or sustainable living be a stand-alone curriculum area?
 At this time, it appears to be integrated through all other curriculum areas.
OPPs Meeting… A Few Highlights… November 12, 2013
Janis Hoffman, a member of the public, asked that trustees ensure that choices are made available to parents concerned about the health impacts of wireless technology in schools. I, too, see the need for training at the school level to ensure that all staff and students use hard wired and wireless technology in the most safety conscious way. Where are the routers being placed? Can we reduce the EMF frequency levels? This may serve both the safety concerns for children and employees as well as to reduce the district’s energy costs.
 
Further review was given to the subcommittee on public engagement recommendations. I recommended that trustees should be able to ask a point of clarification to a member of the public presenting at the board.
#1 Motion: That the Board of Education of School District # 61 Greater Victoria revise the wording of item #5, bullet 6 of Bylaw 9360 to add,” trustees, through the chair, many ask presenters questions of clarification”. This motion was defeated. Against-Trustees Leonard, Orcherton, Ferris Abstain- Horsmen  For- Trustees Nohr, McNally, Alpha,hand Loring-Kuhanga  Q&A….15 minutes at our Board meetings!  This will definitely foster greater engagement with the public and help trustees have a better understanding of what is on the minds of our public/parents.
VCPAC, through their president, John Bird, reported out that the majority of parents who participated in the WiFi survey in supported WiFi in our elementary schools. There were a significant percentage of parents who had concerns about the health and safety issues related to WiFi and children.
Two motions were brought forward.
#2 Motion: Moved-Ferris That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) continues to monitor the documentation from the Vancouver Island Health Authority, the Provincial Health Officer, Health Canada and the World Health Organization with regard to the use of WiFi in schools. Further, the WiFi committee recommends that the board reviews on an annual basis, those recommendations and receive updates on any changes…… As I recall, in the past two years, the Board has received only a very brief update on WiFi from the WiFi committee. I have learned more about the growing body of evidence related to WiFi health and safety issues from the many public presentations that cite peer reviewed, independent research findings. I will continue to work on this important issue. It is my opinion that this is not the year to spend more money on WiFi installation when we are facing a significant deficit of $2M, $5M…..  or possibly higher.
#3 Motion  Moved- Ferris That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) allow the use of WiFi in elementary schools subject to the school first obtaining the support of the school community.
Will each school be required to generate the funding for the WiFi installation or will it come out for operating budget or will it be a joint effort?
Motions moved to the Board meeting.
Statement of Financial Information- Trustee Loring-Kuhanga brought forward a series of questions drilling deeper into the district budget. Remember, we do not have a formal budget committee. Responses to these questions were provided to all the trustees and this fostered a more in-depth understanding of some of the major line items in our 2012- 2013 budget. Trustee Loring-Kuhanga stated that she would be bringing forward a notice of motion regarding the budget process.
WorkSafe BC Cost Summary-Our district receives a surcharge, that is additional cost taken from the budget as required by WorkSafe BC based on worker injuries and health issues. Worker safety is paramount and it often has a direct impact on the quality of the learning environment and the learning experience for our students. Trustees have asked for more details related to these surcharges. This will be brought forward at the December board meeting.
Attendance Awareness- Kim Munro, Director of Human Resources, presented Information about the District’s desire to implement in Attendance Awareness Program. Ms. Munro stated that the program will use a relationship based and conversation led approach to ensure that all employees are treated fairly and consistently. Ms Munro advised that a dedicated position will be needed to manage attendance and to implement programs to promote health, wellness and safety in the workplace. Currently, on average, employees use 10.43 sick days. What are the criteria? The district would save $460,444 with a one day reduction in the number of sick days used by all employees.
This is a very complex issue. Employee health and wellness is tied directly to underfunding of public education. When employees are ‘spread very thin’ and the daily demands of the job require a ‘hit the ground running approach’  each and every day serious fatigue, stress and illness will follow. Add into the mix the fact that our employees are working in a germ incubator aka the classroom and it is inevitable that viruses and bacteria will spread throughout the school community. Let’s properly fund and support our staff, especially those supporting learning in the classroom. What is the process to ensure that we do not have classrooms where the teacher and/ or the educational assistant is working in a situation of distress? What is the process to ensure that employees returning to work are supported for a successful re-entry? These are questions that I will ask at the board table.
#3 Motion  Moved-Ferris That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) implement the Attendance Awareness Program and proceed to hire a human resources advisor, wellness and attendance awareness, to coordinate the programme. We have asked for the cost to hire another employee and for feedback from our employee groups. This will be reported out at the December 9 Board meeting.
Now for the Board Meeting     Monday, November 18, 2013
Student Presentation   Cups, Cups and More Cups    Students from Glanford Middle School and principal, Louis Scigliano, provided an amazing challenge for the trustees! Requiring both physical and mental agility we were put to the test. Trying to remember which hand, left or right, cups up or down and changing the pattern constantly was hard. Congratulations to the students for their mastery and for their ability to teacher / mentor the trustees!
Community Presentations 1. Emily Federico- South park PAC, Coastal Kindergarten
                                        2. Tiffany Carlyle- James Bay PAC, Coastal Kindergarten
                                        3. Bonnie Davison- parent, Coastal Kindergarten
                                        4. Peter Milne- parent, wireless technology
                                        5. John Bird- VCPAC, School Culture and Student Services
Chair’s Report- Chair Orcherton reported that as the government is undergoing a core review and we as a district will be undertaking our own core review. Are we to look  eff sciences? Really? Currently, some, a significant number of our students, including our most vulnerable students are not receiving proper support because we do not have adequate funding. We have repeatedly expressed our concern to the Ministry of Education and to the Premier.
Motions
#1 Motion- That the Board of Education of  School District No.61 (Greater Victoria)  approve the Program of Choice Application : Coastal Kindergarten Program Proposal  for a two-year pilot located at James Bay Community School and South Park Family School beginning September 2014.   
Motion carried- For: Trustees Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, Orcherton, Leonard, Horsman, Ferris,   Against-Trustee McNally
* What I have been thinking since is… is it really the best idea to be driving kindergarten students across town and away from their own neighbourhood schools….kindergarten? How wise is this? Does this support community sustainability? Would this be in the best interests of the child? Who will be driven across town? Most likely, the child in a family with resources to get outside and explore the coastal habitat. The child  who desperately needs the outdoor experience to support emotional, spiritual and physical well being will not have the opportunity. I will not vote for any more specialized or niche programs for elementary school.
#2 Motion-That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) approve the addition of a French Immersion programme at George Jay Elementary School, beginning September 2014 with the introduction of a kindergarten class. 
Motion carried-unanimously * Let’s bring those families back to the George Jay neighbourhood.
New Motions or…Notice of Motion
#1 Motion- Trustee Ferris:  That the Board of Education of School District No.61 (Greater Victoria) table discussion of trustee remuneration, including the motion referred from the October 21, 2013 Board of Education meeting, until after the municipal/trustee elections of November 2014
* My position is that until our teachers negotiate a wage settlement I have no interest in reviewing and / or increasing trustee remuneration. SD 61 has a significant deficit due in large part to the ‘cooperative gains’ mandate put on public education that lead to the recent CUPE wage settlement. This will take significant funding out of the classroom.
#2 Motion- Trustee Ferris:  That the Board of Education of School District No.61  (Greater Victoria) continues to monitor documentation from the Vancouver Island Health Authority, Provincial Health Officer, Health Canada and the World Health Organization with regard to the use of WiFi in schools. Further, the WiFi committee recommends that the Board reviews, on an annual basis, those recommendations and receives updates on any changes. Motion carried unanimously- For- Trustees Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Orcherton, Horsman, Ferris, McNally, Alpha, Leonard
* As I recall, in the past two years, the Board has received only a very brief update on WiFi from the WiFi committee. I have learned more about the growing body of evidence related to WiFi health and safety issues from the many public presentations that cite peer reviewed, independent research findings and my own reading. I will continue to work on this important issue. It is my opinion that this is not the year to spend more money on WiFi installation when we are facing a significant deficit of $2M, $5M…..  or possibly higher. What are we doing to accommodate  students and employees that have a significant sensitivity to EMF? This is a question that I will ask at the Board table. When parents express an unwillingness to provide consent to expose their child to EMF / wifi all day at school, what will we do?

#3 Motion- Trustee Ferris  That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) allow the use of wifi in elementary schools subject to each school first obtaining the support of their school community. Motion carried- For- Trustee Orcherton, Leonard, Horsman, Ferris   Against-Trustee Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, McNally
* As a trustee, I have been given no financial costing of this initiative even though we are in a significant deficit. I will be asking for a report on this and the district’s plan to accommodate students and employees with severe EM sensitivity. I will also ask what plan, if any, does the district have to ensure the safest installation of wifi and regular monitoring of wifi for our youngest children. School was the break from wifi….off the EMF smog grid for 6 or 7 hours each day. Now, most children will have 24 hour exposure to EMF! With the emerging health findings, should we not be concerned? I support the use of hard wired technology in the classroom and I used it regularly when I was teaching.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!     Deborah Nohr

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.
PRESENTATIONS TO THE BOARD….. FYI
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 http://www.sd61.bc.ca/super/pdf/PublicMeetingProcess/GVSD_Public_Meeting_Process.pdf
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. http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/2013/09/24/Pregnant-Teachers-Victoria-Contracts/

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 )   deborahnohr.ca
* 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?

 

Health, Safety and Transparency……..June, 2013

Trustee Nohr…Report #18      SD 61
Equality for All in  Public Education……Fully Funded Public Education………
The First Priority for Our Tax Dollars!

Did You Know?  
The # of special education teachers in BC has decreased by 19% (750 teachers) from 2001-2012 while the numbers of students needing support has increased significantly. * The total decline in enrolment has been about 50,000 students or approximately 9%.
If BC was at the provincial average, there would be approximately an additional 6,800 teachers.
June, 2013      What’s Going On At the Board?
First, at our Education Policy Meeting   June 10, 2013
*Teachers received $3500 in grant funding this year, matched with funds from GVSD/GVTA pro-d monies, to facilitate their professional teacher -led inquiries. Teachers analyzed: multi grade cohorts in secondary school, student use of technology (accessing web-based info, use of social media, books vs. computers), students’ rationale for distributed learning, scaffolding to improve student writing and visiting other school districts to see how writing is supported.

*The George Jay school community is considering starting french immersion. It will be the topic of exploration over the next year. Students would be able to stay at their school and not transfer to Sir James Douglas.

*Community Literacy Plan  2006-2013 In 2007 BC school districts were mandated by the Ministry of Education to create a community literacy plan. The goals are to provide literacy support for persons with disabilities, vulnerable persons( poverty, justice system, mental health, women in shelters and person who are homeless), youth  15-18 who have dropped out if school, young adults  (19-24) who have graduated but are unemployed or not involved in continuing education). The work has been tremendously successful. The greatest challenge is sustainable funding. Please consider making  a donation to one of the community organizations supporting literacy.

Second, at our Operations, Planning and Policy Meeting   June 10, 2013

* A community member, Rob Paynter, presented an overview of the importance of tracking, recording and setting per diems for senior administration and exempt staff’s expenses. This information could be placed on the district website thereby providing the community with greater transparency of public funding use. I requested that the secretary-treasurer provide some data and information on this topic and report out in September at our first OPPs meeting.
* Motion to accept the  Achievement Contract  2013-2014  Carried- unanimously  * I subsequently changed my mind on this motion and voted against it at the June 17 Board meeting after much consideration. This document is required by the Ministry of Education and while it reflects the tremendous efforts of many teachers, EAs, school based administration, senior staff and parents….it does not reflect the reality for many students in our district and all districts around the province who do not receive  sufficient academic support, counselling, speech&language therapy or OT/PT. The Ministry sets up the template so that the district does not have to address this issue even though families and students face the frustration, anxiety, sense of poor self esteem and overall sense of loss in that school ‘just isn’t fun…and I don’t feel like I can learn’. It’s great to talk about the successes in our schools but it is vitally important to be the voice for those children who are receiving inadequate services…because they cannot speak for themselves. And therefore, I could not vote for the report.
*Motion  Moved- Nohr     Develop a Protocol and Process to Measure Classroom Radiation Exposure Levels  Defeated- Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McEvoy  For- Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally and Alpha 
I wanted a joint technology and facilities effort to develop a protocol to determine what the ER levels are in our schools with wifi. We already measure air quality and assess asbestos safety…so why not find out what is happening with ER? Some places in Europe now have municipal workers that will come to your home, if you are concerned, and measure the ER levels. Remember, there are some places in Europe where the level of ER has been dramatically reduced to new international biological standards (1,000 micro watts per square meter)… and here in Canada, our acceptable levels are 10,000,000 micro watts per m2 which relates to thermal effects on the human body.
* Motion  Moved- McNally    Trustee Representatives to Outside Organization
Trustee McNally wanted to revise the Board’s public agenda format to include a list of all the outside organizations that have assigned trustee representatives. Trustee Ferris moved that this motion be referred to the Public Engagement Committee. Motion to refer-carried  6/3  I voted against referral. This is a decision that should be made by the trustees, not the public.
Now, at the Board Meeting     Tuesday, June 17, 2013
Student Achievement
*We were delighted to hear the drumming and singing from Kolette Cristante’s kindergarten class (Rogers School) There is a strong commitment to weave the thread of Aboriginal culture and knowledge through every aspect of curriculum at all grade levels at Rogers Elementary School. Well done!
District Presentations
.

*Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement: The Spirit of Alliances….A journey of good hearts and good minds   2013-2018 
Through monthly meetings, focus groups,reflections on students’ experiences, the right goals and going deeper to the most effective strategies and using ‘integral theory’ to support attitudinal change and positive/ meaningful emotional experiences for students, the Enhancement Agreement was strengthened and extended for the next 5 years. The integral approach will start with ‘aboriginal world views to inform Aboriginal learning, which is relational, experiential, cooperative, affirmative and holistic. Thank you to Janice Simcoe and Nella Nelson for the presentation at the Board meeting and thank you to all the members of the committee. It is an especially exciting time because the chiefs of both the Esquimalt and Songhees nations signed the agreement.
*Margaret Dow, an educational assistant at Frank Hobbs, was acknowledged for receiving the National Inclusive Education Award. Thank you.
*Jack Jeffrey, a volunteer at George Jay, was also recognized for his influential work with students at George Jay. Two young adults spoke of the very important role Jack had played in their lives. With gratitude,  thank you.
Community Presentations
*Sooke PAC president spoke about the Vancouver Island Parents Conference and the growing success that they have had over the past years.
*Vicki White, VCPAC, also spoke about the increase in the number of parents and teachers that are now attending the conference.
* Wendy Joyce, VCPAC vice chair presented the 2013-2014 Initiatives and Priorities which includes more connection with school PACs. 
*John Bird, VCPAC president stated that the organization would Advocate for all students and develop capacity in PACs and VCPAC.
As a point of clarification, I wanted to know if the Initiatives and Priorities had been passed by the general membership or if this had been developed at the Executive level only. Chair Orcherton refused to allow this point of clarification…..
PRESENTATIONS TO THE BOARD
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 http://www.sd61.bc.ca/super/pdf/PublicMeetingProcess/GVSD_Public_Meeting_Process.pdf

As a district we give $14,000-$16,000 to VCPAC yearly. I believe that we have a responsibility to be informed about their process as well as how they use the funding.  I believe that John Bird stated that VCPAC still had $3,000-$4,000 from the district that was to used for the middle school inquiry…that was approximately 3years ago. The board has still not received a final report on the middle school appreciative inquiry process.
*Peter Milne, a member of the public and parent in the district presented a detailed position on the importance of understanding the origins and ties to industry when reading research findings about wifi and health issues. He also expressed concern about the individuals sitting on the VCPAC wifi committee who have work directly associated with wifi technology.
Motions
1. That the Board of Education of School District (Greater Victoria) receives the 2013-2014 Achievement Contract 
Carried-Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McNally, McEvoy, Loring-Kuhanga   Against- Alpha, Nohr
**As I said earlier in my blog, the voices of approx. 25% of our students (those who do not receive the support they need) are not heard, acknowledged, nor advocated for in this report. Therefore, I could not support such a flawed report.
2. A motion was passed to approve the dates for all the standing committee meetings for the next school year, 2013-2014. Carried-unanimously You can reference this information on the SD 61 website.
3. A motion was passed to make available on the school district website all the academy fees for the specialty programs. Carried-unanimously
4. That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) receive the Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement (2013-2018). Carried- unanimously   You can reference this information on the SD 61 website.
Notice of Motions
Trustee Loring-Kuhanga (September) Whole School Approach to educate students and staff about suicide prevention (Need2)
Trustee Ferris (September) trustee remuneration
Trustee Nohr (September) revision/update to Health and Safety Policy 4300 (1994)*given as direction to the secretary treasurer
Trustee McNally included the following in her June blog…..F.1 McNally: Health and Safety Committee Notice of Motion: September 2013 Board meeting
‘Moved McNally / : 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.
•    Rationale: Safety of employees and students is major concern and objective of any employer (Policy 4300.1, Health and Safety, and associated Regulation). Trustees need to know the status of health and safety concerns (recognizing privacy legislation in relation to individuals) and planned actions in SD61, as Trustees are ultimately accountable in the eyes of the public. Health and Safety action plans and reviews and plans to address WorkSafeBC workplace or whole District citations, along with consideration and discussion of employee and parent concerns, need to be a regular duty of elected officials, notwithstanding the delegation of day to day operations. Several other BC school districts have trustees as members of their District Health and Safety Committees, Gulf Islands SD64 being an example .
A similar motion from McNally was defeated at the combined Education Policy Development / Operations Policy and Planning meeting June 10, 2013. (Against: Alpha, Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga, McEvoy, *Nohr For: McNally )

Arguments against included:
•    Ferris: It’s not appropriate for Trustees to influence the Committee’s thoughts. It’s frustrating when people want to do staff jobs.
•    Leonard: We are responsible for Policy development. Regulations are the purview of the District Leadership Team [senior administration]. This isn’t policy. It’s information.
•    Orcherton: Health and Safety is a bargaining issue. Our role is to set policy. [This Board is not active in Policy generation, though some Boards do see their role as being involved at the generative level of policy development. To be involved or not is simply a matter of District culture, enshrined in District Policy and practice.] We are a Governance Board. This would be interference.
A motion that was defeated at a Standing Committee may come forward to the Board, but will not appear as a “recommended” motion. (Recent motions have appeared as “recommended” without having been discussed at a Standing Committee.) “If a main motion was rejected at an earlier meeting or convention, it may be renewed by being introduced as a main motion at a subsequent meeting or convention.” (p 25 American Institute of Parliamentarians Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, 2012)
Currently the SD61 Health and Safety Committee is made up of the Chair of the Committee, the President of CUPE 382 (outside workers), a representative from CUPE 947 (inside workers), a representative from the Victoria Principals and Vice Principals Association, a rep from Allied Specialists (psychologists, hearing / vision specialists, and others) a teacher rep from the GVTA, and on occasion additional members of partner groups represented. Trustee representation is  notably absent. In June 2013, when two SD61 Trustees attended, the meeting was cancelled by the Director of Human Resources.
Trustee McNally and I attended as observers only,  as the motion failed to have a trustee sit on the committee. * I had planned to vote in support of the motion to have a trustee on the Health and Safety Committee but during the debate I thought that it was stated by some trustees that there couldn’t be any trustees because issues come forward that may eventually be brought to the table for local bargaining. As I found out later, that statement was just an opinion expressed by some trustees, not based in law. There are districts that have trustees sit on their Health and Safety Committee….Qualicum and Gilf Islands. When this motion comes forward again in September, I will vote to have a trustee on the committee because a trustee could provide valuable direction and also a trustee could better understand the potential costs to the board if issues are not effectively and efficiently addressed.

Thank you,
Your trustee,
Deborah Nohr ( 250-380-0888 or 250-896-0808-c )   deborahnohr.ca
* Please take a look at Trustee McNally’s blog, Lined Paper:)

Remember……our district budget ($200,000,000) 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.

More Community Involvement! Lively Debate…wifi

Trustee Nohr…Report #17      SD 61   Greater Victoria
Equality for All in  Public Education
Fully Funded Public Education….. Justice…… Not Charity
May, 2013      What’s Going On At the Board?
First, at our Education Policy Meeting   May 6, 2013
There was no policy work, motions or review of issues related to student achievement.
That is the work of trustees and there is much to be done. Here are some suggestions about what may have been placed on this agenda.
1. Review of LIF effectiveness
 2. Learning Initiatives- What is the refined vision and goals for the next school year?
3. Technology-How are computer labs being used and how are desktop computers being used in classrooms? ( Are they being integrated daily to support learning outcomes and curriculum activities? Do the desktop computers work properly in the classrooms?  Do they need better maintenance? What programs are the teachers using? )

Second, at our Operations, Planning and Policy Meeting   May 13, 2013   Is long term exposure to EMF a health risk, especially for our young children?
As a trustee, I continue to explore the most recent research findings related to this question. Our school district’s mission statement includes the phrase, ‘responsive and safe learning environment’. And so I am encouraging full discussion  of this issue based on the current research of independent scientists and medical researchers, not the research of those affiliated with technology companies or government agencies. The cumulative effect  of non thermal EMF is central to the issue of human health and the international research results are only slowly becoming evident. This evidence is at present not included in the position taken by Canadian and provincial health organizations. Let’s be learn from the past ( nicotine, asbestos, BPA, lead ) and be proactive for our children and the adults working in the system. We have students and employees with EMF hypersensitivity substantiated by their medical doctors. Do we not have a duty to accommodate them as well as protect all our students and employees?
Public Presentations
1. Dr. Kerry Crofton- Doctors for Safer Schools
- EMF causing DNA damage and causing a disruption to DNA repair
- Choose the safest technology- keep all technology hard wired whenever possible and reduce to lower levels of EMF when using wifi (1000 micro watts per square meter…the technology still works)
2. Dr. Martin Blank     Columbia University, USA
- growing numbers of individuals with electro- hypersensitivity/ electro allergic
- recommended that the district develop a ‘safer technology protocol’
- EMF is a new cardiac risk factor; the new asbestos
-again, use the new international biological standards (1,000 micro watts per square meter)
- Health Canada standards- Safety Code 6 is for thermal effects only   Dr. Blank stated that this  safety standard is ‘totally irrelevant’
- WHO/ World Health Organization (2013) categorized EMF as a @B carcinogen
3. Katarina Gustavs    Environmental Consultant      RF meter usage
- it is possible to install wifi more safely (away from students and employees) and save energy
- an attenuation sleeve may be used to reduce EMF
- France – in some areas laws/policy has been passed to keep e-tools wired whenever possible, using the on/off switch
4. Tammy Jeske  parent of child with EMF sensitivity
-strongly encouraged the district to use the precautionary principle
- emphasized the fact that EMF has a cumulative affect
Sub Committee on Public Engagement will be bringing forward some recommendations soon
Oak Bay High School plans are coming along
Motion    Moved- Nohr        Purchase   RF Meter
That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) purchase the RF meter from Gigahertz Solutions to regularly monitor our schools’ RF levels to confirm that all atreas with hotspots (access points, routers, cell phones, iPads) are within limits set to the precautionary level of 1,000 micro watts per square meter. Motion defeated. Against- Orcherton, Horsman, Ferris, Leonard    For- Nohr, McNally, Loring-Kuhanga
My hope was to get a baseline of the EMF in our schools.
Now, at the Board Meeting     Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Student Presentation- Island Ukeleles  Tina Horwood and students from 17 middle and high schools performed a variety of fabulous songs! Thank you to Tina and all teachers in our district that are so dedicated! Awesome job students!
Public Presentations
1.Clint Lalonde   parent  (wifi)  professional work-BCCampus
-spoke in favour of wifi in our elementary schools (wired connections contribute to sedentary lifestyle)
- encouraged the board to consider that Dr. Perry Kendall, the medical officer for BC has stated that wifi poses no all the evidence is not in.”health risks
- Health Canada and other provincial organizations have also stated that there is no health risk to wifi exposure
2. Dr. Valerie Irvine  parent  (wifi)    professional work- UVic  associate professor   Director  TIE Lab  Technology Integration and Evaluation Research lab
- stated that wifi accessibility is essential to 21st century learning
- engagement, personalized learning depends upon having wifi access
- stated that she was very upset that her daughter in kindergarten could not use her iPad for a special project
3. David Leach  parent (wifi)   professional work-   UVic  Director of Techology and Society program
- fully supports wifi use for students in elementary school… inexcusable not to
- Trustee Diane McNally-lined-paper.com stated the following about David Leach’s presentation, ” Mr. Leach says the precautionary principle is already enshrined: “The fact is, the Precautionary Principle is already implemented in the Wifi guidelines and exposure limits by the World Health Organization, Health Canada, and other public-health bodies”. Nope. The Canadian Environmental Law Association states: ” The precautionary principle denotes a duty to prevent harm, when it is within our power to do so, even when all the evidence is not in.”
4. Karen Weiss   parent  (bullying)
- spoke about her son’s first hand experience with bullying over his EMF sensitivity
- recounted the disrespect and mocking her son had received
- reminded the trustees that a minority position or personal experience must be respected and valued
- bullying has become central to the wifi debate, many hashtag comments were collated and provided to trustees and the public (‘bizarro’, ‘trolls’, ‘nutbars’, ‘They’re uneducated because wifi distracted them from learning’)
- responsible citizenship should be central, not bullying
5. Peter Milne  parent  (conflict of interest)
- conflict of interest in organizations as high up as the World Health Organization
- board accountable to the community and the public
- board must be aware of these conflicts
- Peter Milne will speak at the next board meeting on these conflicts of interest
Results of LIF – Learning Improvement Fund    $1.915M  (2012-2013)
 7 new full-time teachers
- the equivalent of 9 FTE by increasing teaching time for teachers already in the district- increased their contractual time
- 212 top up hours for EAs
- 61 hours for meeting time for EAs
- 284 new hours for EAs already in the system
- $15.649 for professional development related to increasing knowledge relevant to student learning for students with designations
Motions
1. Needs Budget-Moved- Ferris
That the Board of Education of School District No. 61, (Greater Victoria) submit the District Needs Budget as well as our balanced budget.
Motion carried – unanimously  * In my heart of hearts, I would rather put all of this funding into direct service for students (counsellors, teachers, speech and language, psychologists etc)
2. Technology Installation- Trustee McNally
That the SD 61 IT department  research and report back to the board on costs for purchase, setup, and maintenance of a live feed camera(s) in the Board room, the objective being live streaming and archiving (archive function to include key-word searchable and RSS function) of  board meetings online. * Referred to public engagement committee This is not the responsibility of this ad hoc committee. Trustees should debate and vote on the motion.
I attended the Special Education Parent Network Day. There were excellent speakers, as well, it was a great support network for parents.  A tremendous amount of current and highly relevant information was provided for attendees. Well done parents of Vic High, Central Middle School and Sir James Douglas and Margaret Jenkins elementary schools.
Thank you,
Your trustee,
Deborah Nohr ( 250-380-0888 or 250-896-0808-c )   deborahnohr.ca
* Please take a look at Trustee McNally’s blog, Lined Paper:)

Remember……the new budget has no additional funding for public education! That means we take 2% or $350,000 from our SD 61 budget BEFORE we even start.

Wi-Fi Victory for Victor School

I  must respond to the letter written by Mr. McDermott, a parent with a child at Victor School.
I support the use of technology as one important teaching tool. At this time I believe that we should continue to use the hard
wired technology already built into our classrooms, at least, at the elementary level. And the reasons are as follows:
1. It will cost more to install wifi when we already have hard wired technology
2. Laptops and iPads can be charged using hard wired technology and taken from the trolleys and used anywhere in the school
3. The World Health Organization has classified wifi as a B2 carcinogen
4. Wifi is ubiquitous now and we are just beginning to understand the non thermal biological effects especially for children
5.Dr. Martha Herbert PhD M.D Harvard Medical School stated, after reviewing 550 current research findings,
‘EMF/RFR from wifi and cell towers can exert a disorganizing effect on the ability to learn and remember,
and can also be destabilizing to immune and metabolic function.  www.bioinitiative.org
6. I support the Precautionary Principle- prove that there are no negative effects
7. Our district, like every district, has children and employees experiencing significant sensitivity to EMF/RFR

Deborah Nohr
trustee
SD 61
Victoria