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.
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
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?
#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
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

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