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).

3 thoughts on “Policy 5119 Update

  1. Just to clarify for choice school (french immersion) transportation at the high school level – there is access to busing through Franco-Nord for a nominal monthly fee. That is important for people to be aware of as it is an option.

  2. I have a question in regards to one sentence in the report – “Is this provision meant to exclude people who do not have an alternate means
    of transportation from participating in choice programs that take place in their
    own catchment school?”. If the choice program is in their own catchment school, would they not be eligible for any transportation offered as part of living in that catchment i.e. busing if rural? Otherwise, if the school is in their catchment anyway should it not be a reasonable distance to attend?

    1. Nope – this particular change to policy 5119 is specifically meant to exclude students in a choice program attending their catchment school, even though that would be in contradiction to the transportation policy. This would include PGSS students taking the Montessori choice program, Duchess Park students taking the French Immersion program, Heather Park students taking the French Immersion program, and any Kelly Road students enrolled in the Northern Learning Centre choice program. As well, this would affect any other choice programs implemented – for example, parents in Mackenzie are interested in starting a choice program there.

      Students only are eligible for busing if they live, what is it, over 4km away from their school – some catchments are very big, such as PGSS’s catchment.

      What really gets me, is suppose we deny busing part way through the year to a student – suppose we take someone living in the Buckhorn area, who is taking Montessori at PGSS. Another student moves into the area, the bus is full, and the district attempts to save money by kicking the Montessori kid off the bus. The student could still attend Montessori if their parents could take them. If the parents can’t do that, they could still get a bus if they transfer to the regular program. Result? District still spends the money, and student’s life is disrupted by being pulled out of their current classes. Student is most likely to be disrupted if parents can’t afford to take student – this is a negative impact on equity. How is this a good idea?

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