Monthly Archives: April 2014

New BCCPAC Resolution on Board Budget Planning Process

This resolution will be voted on at the upcoming BCCPAC AGM.

http://www.bccpac.bc.ca/news-blog/resolution-seeks-greater-clarity-about-school-board-budgets

Be it resolved that

BCCPAC call on the BC School Trustees’ Association, the BC Association of School Business Officials and the Ministry of Education to, in conjunction with BCCPAC, develop and implement standardized processes to improve the transparency and clarity of preliminary budget information to support parent consultation during the district budget process.

Proposer’s Position Statement Supporting the Resolution.

Parents, PACs and DPACs, often participate in the annual district preliminary budget process. Frequently the information provided by the boards to aid in the consultation is complex, incomplete and lacking in options. The consultation process is reduced to pleas to keep certain programs or measures and offer little or no choice to parents as to what measures they prefer or other programs they may no longer want. The information provided is not in a standard format, nor directly comparable between districts or sometimes even with prior years in the same district. Parents are often provided with the proposed budget but days before the final budget decisions must be made again negating the possibility of meaningful feedback.

This makes it more difficult for parents to provide important feedback to boards regarding which choices for the final budget they prefer. This resolution is designed to provide parents with accurate information, choice and the time for careful consideration of the alternatives. This will lead to boards making better decisions about what parents want in their children’s schools and a better education system.

The provided information should be:

  • Complete
  • Easy to understand
  • In a standard and comparable format for all districts
  • Include a list of all budgetary items and amounts that are not mandated by the Ministry of Education
  • Provide significant choice in measures that will increase or decrease the size of the district budget.
  • Provided to parents before February 28th of each year.

Proxy Voting for BCCPAC – Reminder of Resolutions Meeting

Join us at a resolutions workshop to discuss how to vote at the provincial BCCPAC Conference, Sunday, April 27th, at 11am at Van Bien Training Centre. Lunch provided, pre-retistration required in order to be fed: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/prince-george-dpac-bccpac-resolutions-workshop-2014-tickets-11195450895?ref=ebtn

Nominations: http://www.bccpac.bc.ca/sites/default/files/nominationsonly2014_0.pdf

Resolutions: http://www.bccpac.bc.ca/sites/default/files/articles/resolutionsonly2014.pdf

Why attend?
Various school PACs in this district are members of BCCPAC, and have the right to vote at the AGM. DPAC will be sending representatives, and can vote for members by proxy at the AGM. PACs may wish to give specific instructions to proxy holders on how to vote, or may wish to generally educate themselves about some of the provincial issues that PACs will be discussing.

For PACs who are not sending a delegate to the BCCPAC AGM, DPAC will act as your proxy in order to cast your vote. In exchange, DPAC will pay your PAC 50% of the BCCPAC registration of $75.

DPAC provides this funding to give our school district, and the North, a larger voice at the  BCCPAC AGM.

DPAC is sending three delegates to the AGM, and suggest putting the names of Gillian Burnett, Donna Stephan, and/or Leanne Harasym on our form.

Once you have filled out the proxy formit will need to be sent to both BCCPAC and DPAC. The form asks you to send it to BCCPAC only, but it isvery important that DPAC knows in order to send you a cheque, and make sure that your form was received by BCCPAC.

Please either scan/email the form to info@bccpac.bc.ca and info@sd57dpac.ca, or fax it to 604-687-4488 and (250) 561-6801 (attention DPAC mailbox).

This document is the proxy form:

Voting Instructions and Proxy Form

Find out more about the proxy voting process here: http://conference.bccpac.bc.ca/what-the-heck-is-a-proxy.html
note: this photograph from the 2012 BCCPAC AGM even shows two of your delegates caught in the act of voting!

According to BCCPAC, the following PACs are members:

  • Beaverly Elementary 57 Prince George Yes
  • Buckhorn Elementary 57 Prince George Yes
  • College Heights Elementary (Ecole) 57 Prince George Yes
  • DPAC SD#57 Prince George 57 Prince George Yes
  • Duchess Park Secondary 57 Prince George Yes
  • Edgewood Elementary 57 Prince George Yes
  • Giscome Elementary 57 Prince George Yes
  • Hart Highlands Elementary 57 Prince George Yes
  • Heather Park Elementary 57 Prince George Yes
  • Heritage Elementary 57 Prince George Yes
  • Highglen Montessori Elementary 57 Prince George Yes
  • Lac des Bois (Ecole) 57 Prince George Yes
  • Nukko Lake Elementary 57 Prince George Yes
  • Nusdeh Yoh 57 Prince George Yes
  • Pineview Elementary 57 Prince George Yes
  • Prince George Secondary 57 Prince George Yes
  • Quinson Elementary 57 Prince George Yes
  • Spruceland Traditional 57 Prince George Yes
  • Van Bien Elementary 57 Prince George Yes
  • Vanway Elementary 57 Prince George Yes

Recess cancelled in SD57

The school district has announced that recess will be cancelled as a result of the first stage of the BCTF job action:

http://www.sd57.bc.ca/fileadmin/cao.sd57.bc.ca/District_Info/2014.04.22_Strike_Letter_to_Parents_and_Guardians.pdf

Recess was also cancelled by the administration, as a result of the 2011 job action: http://sd57dpac.ca/2011/08/recess-update/

Recess is not cancelled in all of BC:

 

Recess will be cancelled in several school districts across B.C. as the province’s 41,000 public-school teachers begin job action on Wednesday.

The districts that have cancelled recess include:

 

  • Prince George
  • Quesnel.
  • Terrace.
  • Prince Rupert.
  • North Okanagan/Shuswap.
  • Bulkley Valley.

Northern Vancouver Island School District had considered cancelling recess, but reconsidered and decided not to cancel it.

BC Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker said six school districts have plans to cancel recess tomorrow when the phase-one action begins.

“We don’t think that’s fair to the students, that they’ll be cancelling recess,” he said. “Some of the cancellations are without even first talking with the [union] local about whether administration can even do the coverage, and we find that very disappointing.”

In some cases, cancelling recess could mean the school day is shortened by 15 minutes.

Iker explained that voluntary activities in which teachers are involved will continue during the first phase of the planned job action, but some teachers’ duties will be left to principals, vice-principals, and other management.

“What we won’t be doing is supervision, before and after school, during recess, and at lunchtime, which we don’t do right now,” Iker said.

“Our expectation is that, according to the essential services legislation, excluded staff … will be picking up supervision,” he said.

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/teachers-job-action-starts-today-at-b-c-schools-1.2618989

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/some-b-c-schools-cancel-recess-as-teachers-job-action-starts-1.2617605

 

Parent Information night – Children with Behaviour Disorders

CANCELLED – more information to be provided at a later date.

The BC Council for Children with Behaviour Disorders (BCCCBD) is holding a day long session with Cris Rowan, BScOT, BScBi, SIPT, CEO Zone’in Programs Inc. and Sunshine Coast Occupational Therapy Services Inc., on:

  • AM Workshop – Harnessing Energy – Goal: profiles the Zone’in Concept to improve self-responsibility, and offers information regarding sensory integration, tools and techniques to enhance sensory processing, attention and learning ability.
  • PM Workshop – Disconnect/Reconnect – Goal: raises public awareness regarding the damaging impact of technology on child development and academic performance, and provides initiatives for homes, schools, health professionals, governments, researchers, and technology production corporations to create ’sustainable’ children.

The full day session is $100, but a A FREE parent night will also be offered from 6:30pm-8:30 on May 11h at the Van Bien T & D Centre – 311 Wilson Crescent.

If individuals are interested in attending the parent workshop, just let the secretary at their school know, or call Student Support Services at (250)561-9235. They can also just show up, but if they pre register then we will at least have ball park numbers on how many people to expect.

Policy 5119 Update

At the most recent policy and governance meeting, by a two to one vote, trustee representatives voted to send the changes to policy 5119 to the April 29th school board for a final decision.

The draft revisions, and the comparison between the current policy and draft:

The two trustees stated that there was no need for any changes to the draft changes to the policy, and no need to finish the discussion on the matter. A trustee stated that they did not feel that they had a mandate, at this point in their term of office, to make any changes to the draft amendments to the policy (but apparently would have a mandate to change the policy itself – just not the changes to the policy). Another trustee stated that they were interested in seeing what sort of feedback they got back from parents and other partner groups, as a result of putting this policy forward.

It is important to note that this policy already went out for feedback, and that DPAC sent in a submission representing about 200 parents concerns, and listing a number of suggested changes to the policy. Our submission to the board was as follows:

Trustees did debate at a previous board meeting in 2014 whether or not siblings of non-catchment enrolled children should have any priority at school registration time over catchment children – whether or not to prioritize keeping families together, or putting catchment children in a school. Trustees decided at that time to prioritize catchment children over siblings of non-catchment children – the order of priority would be siblings of catchment children currently enrolled, catchment children, siblings of non-catchment children currently enrolled, and non-catchment children. That decision of the board is not reflected in the draft changes to the Regulations, which do not give any priority to any siblings.

It is important to note that the Regulations is the board’s responsibility, and can be changed only by the board. Anything other than a minor change must go out for public input. The Administration Procedures in the policy document is the area controlled by the Superintendent, and can be changed by the Superintendent at any time, without requiring the permission of the board. Administrative procedures cannot contradict Regulations, and are meant to go into more detail.

More information on the difference between sections of policy: http://sd57dpac.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Davies-Brickell-System-for-policy-development.pdf

 

The April 29th board meeting would be held in Mackenzie, but a video conference hookup would be available in the Prince George board office. It is possible that the board may wish to change the board meeting that this discussion will be held, as this is a policy that really is most important in situations where there is more than one school option in a community (unlike Mackenzie).

Budget shortfalls across BC School Districts

Note: DPAC expects to hear the final numbers for budget shortfalls in SD57 on Wednesday, at the expanded committee of the whole.

From the Vancouver Sun:

School boards around the province are facing at least $56 million in budget cuts and considering eliminating more than 350 jobs heading into the new school year.

And that doesn’t include some districts that have not yet released their budget figures for next year, including Surrey, the largest district in the province.

In Coquitlam, the province’s third-largest school district, the shortfall is $13.4 million on their $270-million total budget, which could mean the elimination of 163 full-time jobs including 103 teachers, support staff, special education assistants and school administrators.

The Vancouver district is faced with a $12.34-million shortfall, which could mean the loss of 70 full-time positions, including controversial decisions like cutting elementary school band or eliminating the district’s athletic coordinator. Next year could be even more challenging because Vancouver schools are facing a $26.6-million shortfall for the 2015-16 school year.

While Vancouver’s budgetary woes have been caused at least in part by declining enrolment — districts are funded by the province on a per-pupil basis — many districts, such as Central Okanagan and Delta, are facing shortfalls despite the fact enrolment is projected to increase.

Budget cuts are still necessary in many areas because the overall provincial budget for education has remained flat, while rising costs — such as support staff wage increases, hydro cost increases, Medical Services Plan premiums and other mandatory benefit costs — are not being covered by the provincial government.

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/School+districts+across+planning+deep+cuts+balance+budgets/9746279/story.html#ixzz2zX6BwbBS

Strike Update

The BCTF has announced that stage 1 job action will start on Wednesday, April 23, after the Easter weekend. There will be no immediate school closures or disruptions to students. This first stage is administrative in nature only. Teachers will continue to teach, write report cards, communicate with parents, and participate in their volunteer extracurricular activities.

During Stage 1 job action teachers will not:

  • Undertake any mandated supervision of students outside of regularly scheduled classes, except as set out by an essential services order.
  • Attend any meetings with management other than meetings of the worksite Joint Health and Safety Committee.
  • Provide principals or administrators with any routine printed, written, or electronic communication.
  • Receive any printed, written, or electronic communication from an administrator.
  • Be at a worksite prior to one hour before commencement of instructional time and one hour after the end of instructional time, other than for pre-arranged voluntary activities.

What does this mean for parents?

At this point, there will still be communications with parents, such as report cards. Teachers will continue to carry out voluntary activities that have been previously arranged. Field trips ought not be affected, at this point.

One question mark that remains is what this will mean in SD57 for recess. During the last job action, this district cancelled recess, as providing supervision at recess took administrative staff time. Only a few districts in BC did so.

From the Vancouver Sun, September 2011:

Qualicum is one of several school districts that cancelled recess after teachers said they would not supervise students on the playground as part of their job action. The other districts are Central Okanagan, Vernon, North Okanagan-Shuswap and Prince George. Southeast Kootenay district also cancelled recess but trustees recently voted to reinstate it next month.

For more information, see the BCTF news releases: https://www.bctf.ca/NewsReleases.aspx

SD57 has also previously posted a communications strategy in the event of a strike: http://www.sd57.bc.ca/fileadmin/cao.sd57.bc.ca/District_Info/commstrat.pdf

Counselor Newsletter

Are you making the most of report card talks?

 

report_card.jpg
Maybe your child’s report card is great. Maybe its worse than you had feared. Whatever the report card says, it provides a great chance to talk with your child about school and study habits.

 

Answer yes or no to the questions below to see if you are making the most of report card talks:

 

___1. Do you take the report card seriously and set aside time      to talk about it?

 

___2. Do you ask your child if she agrees with the grades and      why or why not?

Continue reading Counselor Newsletter

Field trips and Hardship Policy

There was a recent article in the Tyee about students self-excluding from field trips, due to financial concerns:

http://thetyee.ca/News/2014/04/10/Students-Self-Exclude/

A public school system is intended to provide all children with an equitable education, regardless of their family’s income. That means school fees should never stand in the way of a good education.

Sometimes, however, it’s students or their parents standing in the way. Faced with having to admit poverty, or knowing that asking for their parents’ money will elicit an “I’m sorry, we can’t afford it,” students exclude themselves from field trips, courses, or other educational “extras” that come with a price tag.

 

As a reminder to parents, school district 57 has a financial hardship policy for students:

http://www.sd57.bc.ca/fileadmin/cao.sd57.bc.ca/Policy_Manual/Policies/5101.pdf

The Board of Education of School District No. 57 (Prince George) is committed to ensuring that no student is denied an opportunity to participate in a course, class or program because of financial hardship.

The administrative procedures as laid out in policy are as follows:

  1. All communication with students and/or parents regarding fees and deposits must include a statement that explains that fees will not be a barrier to student participation in school activities.
  2. Schools will publish, at the beginning of each school year, a schedule of fees and deposits. This schedule shall include reference to the procedures that can be followed by students, or parents on behalf of students, who would otherwise be excluded from the course, class or activity because of financial hardship.
  3. Schools will establish a hardship application process that is clear to students and parents. All staff members should be aware of this financial hardship provision and be able to advise students and parents with regard to access.
  4. The procedures for addressing financial hardship must be clearly communicated to parents and students and should be conveyed in such media as the student handbook, the parent handbook, student planners, newsletters and/or the school’s website.
  5. The hardship application process may be formal or informal. The process must always, however, respect an individual’s privacy and dignity and adhere to strict principles of confidentiality and fairness.
  6. All requests for support will be considered by the school. The school should consider, but not be limited to, the following options: deferred payment, payment over time, partial waiver or full waiver.

 

Schools that are not following these policies should be reminded of policy 5101.