Welcome Back To School 2014-2015

Trustee Nohr…Report #28 SD 61
September, 2014
Equality for All in Public Education……Fully Funded and Properly Managed

Welcome Back to School!
We are now two weeks into the school year and I hope that you and your children are well settled.

The strike was a difficult time for everyone. Thank you to parents for your accommodation and support of the teachers who in part were striking to bring back essential funding for students with special needs. Without this funding most students are negatively impacted in the classroom.
In summary, the teachers’ contract includes: 7.25% over 6years, some improvements to extended health benefits, increase to TOC ( teachers on call ) pay, $1,200 signing bonus, $400 Education Fund* for hiring teacher specialists and classroom teachers. * This fund replaces the LIF and so this fund contains very little new money. The big difference is that this funding goes exclusively to hiring teachers. The unacceptable underfunding of our students still continues. Meeting all the necessary costs for public education would require only 1% more of the provincial gov’t budget. I think our students and teachers are worth it. Please read the following quotes for a relevant context to the underfunding issue.

Mr. Iker says the education fund will amount to “several hundred new teaching positions each year” – but some school districts have already indicated it won’t bring classrooms back to the pre-2002 levels the union has long been calling for. * For SD 61, it may mean 5-10 additional teachers only. This is so marginal.
Patti Bacchus, chair of the Vancouver School Board, said it would cost nearly $60-million just to restore what has been lost in the past dozen years in her school district. * For SD 61, it would be about $30M.
“If we were to have the equivalent level of services and staffing as we did in 2002, adjusted for enrolment, adjusted for inflation, it would take about $60-million to restore the equivalent level,” she said.
Here’s something else to think about…?
WE Support BC Teachers shared a link- https://www.facebook.com/supporteducationinbc
September 23
“I should not be subsidizing my child’s school. My child’s teachers should not be subsidizing their school. Teachers shouldn’t pay for the supplies they need to do their job. They shouldn’t take a pay cut so their schools can be properly staffed.”

Jordan Watters for Trustee in SD61 / Facebook
September 25
A report from the VCPAC meeting. Parent action needed to counter dangerous narrative Bird is putting forward.

BC voters supporting BC teachers and public education

I am a parent of a high school student is school district 61, Victoria. I am writing to express my concern with the information given to parents at the recent meeting held by the Victoria Confederation of Parent Advisory Council (VCPAC, the district PAC for school dist…* great discussion on special education designations… is it help with a separate supportive and appropriate learning environment for some of the day…or is it discrimination? read more…/www.facebook.com/jordanwatters4trustee

So at this time I believe it is essential that we as a community including parents, grandparents, teachers, educational assistants, community members, administration, trustees and students must keep this dialogue alive; informing and extending our knowledge with one another and sharing our personal narratives within this vortex of underfunding.

Education Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights
September, 2014 
*Combined with OPPs for September.

Operations, Planning and Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights September, 2014

Special Event…our first student trustee attended this meeting. Welcome Kelsey Hoi! ( Mt. Doug HS )

Trustee Loring-Kuhanga tried to bring forward a motion to be put on the agenda about Clause E.80 of the Framework Agreement Between the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) and the BC Teachers’ Association. Trustee Leonard, the Chair, refused to allow the motion stating that is is a labour relations bargaining issue that was discussed at a special in-camera board meeting and therefore not a topic for a public committee meeting. * I disagree. This issue was in the news and it was important that the lively debate be witnessed in public. We are an advocacy group and therefore we should state our perspective on issues effecting our funding and our students’ learning. We are not a bargaining committee bringing forward details to negotiations. Rather this would be a debate on the concepts within E. 80* (eliminate adherence to collective agreement language for class size and composition ) and the impact for our district…a much more open and transparent process and culture.
“*So when E80 is drafted to supersede all previous articles, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) says the government is trying to pull a fast one and nullify the Griffin ruling and the effect of any subsequent legislation. The government protests that the union is just being paranoid, it would never try such a low-down dirty trick (good idea though).” http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/sandy-garossino/bc-teachers-strike-e80_b_5812134.html
Motion – Moved: (Secretary Treasurer)
That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 ( Greater Victoria ) agrees to cancel regularly scheduled meetings at the call of the Board Chair in consultation with the respecttive Standing Committee Chair in the event that the strike continues unless there are agenda items that require immediate action. For: Horsman Against: McNally, Loring-Kuhanga, Nohr, Alpha, MeEvoy, Orcherton, Leonard and Ferris

Facilities Report

Randi Falls, principal of Vic. HS gave an update on the Multi-Purpose Sports Facility project. Then total estimated cost is approx. $5.5M and the City of Victoria has approved a matching grant of $250,00. Currently, the fund raising total is $179,000.

Capital Projects
Director of Facilities, Seamus Howley, gave an update on the following projects:
- Quadra Elem. $9M seismic upgrade almost done…at the time of this blog it is now completed
- Tillicum Elem. $3M seismic upgrade was completed this summer
- George Jay Elem. $5M seismic upgrade will be completed for Sept. 2015 ( Students are at Richmond for this year )
- New Oak Bay HS project is ahead of schedule and will be open for Sept. 2015

Public Disclosure Of In Camera Items 
Chair Leonard reported out the following:
That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) publicly calls upon BCPSEA to agree to binding arbitration without pre conditions in the current labour dispute between BCPSEA and the BCTF. And, further that any costs associated with an arbitrated settlement be borne in totality by the BC provincial government and that no costs be downloaded to BC Boards of Education. ( trustees votes could not be reported out ) Chair Leonard stated that there would be an Open Letter sent to the community regarding the current labour dispute.

Now for the Board Meeting

Monday, September 15, 2014 
Special Event… our first student trustee attended this meeting Welcome Kelsey Hoi! ( Mt. Doug HS )

Community Presentations
Carolina Tudela, a parent at Vic. HS spoke about her position that the trustees that voted for the transfer / closing of Sundance School ( Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy and Ferris ) were callous and unwilling to genuinely work with parents to explore options to keep Sundance open.

Ross Gilbert, a teacher at Central MS, spoke about the serious lack of respectful engagement with the public at public Board meetings

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten/music teacher at South Park vividly described the neglectful impact of underfunding in her K class last year

David Futter reminded the Board about the constitutional rights of teachers through the Charter of Rights and Freedoms ( 1982 ) to freely associate and bargain ALL their working conditions

Bev Bacon, a teacher and special education teacher, presented a historic review of the cycle of funding and not funding of special education students

Trustee Report
 Trustee Nohr- I spoke about my willingness to hear from the public and employee groups on any issue at any time and to engage meaningfully especially at our Board meetings. I thanked the teachers for their sacrifice during the strike and commended the teachers for their courage to speak out and inform the public and parents about what is really happening in some of our classrooms.


#1 Motion– . 2013-2014 Audited Financial Reports
That the internally restricted surplus funds appropriation of $14,305,021 be held for school level funds $4,966,701, unspent project budgets of $2,507,438, purchase order commitments of $530,882 and previously approved budgeted surplus $6.3M be approved. Passed unanimously (Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally) Absent- Trustees Alpha and McEvoy

That the June 30, 2014 unrestricted operating surplus of $4,250,959 be carried forward to be applied towards the 2015-2016 projected deficit. ( projected forecast to be in excess of $6.3M Passed unanimously (Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally) Absent- Trustees Alpha and McEvoy

That the audited financial statements for the year ending June, 2014 be approved. Passed unanimously (Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally) Absent- Trustees Alpha and McEvoy

#2 Motion- That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 ( Greater Victoria ) approves the schedules as required by the Financial Information Act for the period July1, 2013 to June 30, 2014
#3 Motion That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) approves the revised Policy 3450.1 School (Non-Public) funds. Passed unanimously

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!
Trustee Deborah Nohr
Have a look at Trustee Diane McNally’s blog- Lined Paper

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