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.

#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

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