March 27, 2012 Board Meeting Notes

Experiment #2 in posting updates from school board meetings.

This is only one person’s notes from the board meeting, and is not intended to be a full representation of what happened during the meeting, or any type of official minutes of the meeting. There may be major errors in fact, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.

The official minutes of this meeting will eventually be published on the school board website.

Board Agenda Package:

Public Input session

Susan – Discussing discrete policy – lgbtq
Pink elephant campaign – posters with elephants and hurtful words
Asking for discrete, standalone anti-homophobic policy

Anthony – You guys think the policy in place works, but if so, it needs to be enforced. Gave example of a slur being used in front of 4 teachers, who did nothing.

Denise McDonald, Giscome – request a memorandum of understanding from the board regarding steps to be taken for a Giscome school.

Tina Cousins – discussing stand alone policy for lgbtq. PGDTA does not feel that the board has taken a leadership role in this issue. Reissuing a document from the past does not solve it, request to work with partner groups on this issue.

Trustee Warrington thanked presenters for reminding board fo the importance of this issue.

Comments from Trustee Bella and Trustee Cooke.

Partner Groups

Don Sabo for DPAC
Would like to trustees live up to election promises of more accountability and transparency – seeing some changes, and thanks for that.
Discussion of change to bylaw 1
Enforce positive behavior – timbits as a reinforcement
Read part of letter regarding anti-bullying, letter presented to board
Comments from Trustee Bella – Shawn Peters workshops on antibullying for gbtq – perhaps have him come and speak at DPAC.

Lorraine Prowse for CUPE
Feb – agreement ratified, only to have it expire June 2012

Matt Pearce for PGDTA
Thanks to board for letter to Minister Abbott. Teachers feel that they have been demoted from employees to public servants. Local has voted to withdraw themselves from extracurricular activities for the remainder of the school year and for next year, should Bill 22 not be withdrawn. Hopes that the community will step up to replace teachers for these activities.
Teachers will withdraw from First Class communication system, although will continue to use it to communicate with parents.
Members have supported choice programs in the past. Have concerns over unintended consequences in this district, and in others, but they can create a two-tier education system. They have barriers in there to keep children out – such as the 30% who live in poverty, and those with learning disabilities. Issue a challenge to board – the economically disadvantaged children can get into those programs in the first place, not just for those already in the programs. Example given of East Vancouver – mainstream population of ESL and choice programs of almost no ESL students.
Comment from Board – They recognize dangers that can happen when not all children have the same opportunities, this board is very concerned.

No report from PGPVP
No report from DSAC

School District News
Superintendent Stubbs of RCMP – works with district extensively on various initiatives.
Thanks for outstanding level of cooperation from the schools allowing RCMP members to come into schools to help with various programs, such as DARE and anti-gang initiatives.
Discussion of anti-gang activities – enforcement, have seen dramatic decrease in violence. Education, proactive response, very key.
$175,000 grant has been awarded to run a program – Step in and Step Up – education on anti-gang. Program is spread over 3 year time period. Various areas – social media campaign via video conference; interactive youth forums on standing up to gang violence; two day gang summit. Target audience – middle school to high school, all youth, entire district.
Currently have 1 hour presentation on anti-gangs that they try to deliver to all grade 8 students – this will be better.
Questions from Trustees Bella, Hooker, Cooke, Bourassa.

Trustee Bennett
RCMP Youth Academy – very impressed.

Trustee Bourassa
Few good news stories – Blackburn elementary, has Music Monday (national program), with financial assistance from PAC have a music class once a week for every class, plus a band and ukulele program. Hixon had Rick Hansen relay go through time, school was a rest stop. Mackenzie and Morfee – have yellow ribbon campaign – suicide prevention campaign, and a number of awards at Central Interior Science Fair, and students competing in athletic events. Mackenzie Secondary and music program. Hoping enrolment happens as a result of Mackenzie mine opening before September 30th cut-off for funding!

Trustee Bekkering
Public awareness to CanSpell national spelling bee, April 1st on CBC – Logan O’Neill from Malaspina Elementary will be competing.

Trustee Cooke
Regarding Duchess Park, they have received a letter from admin of school district 71, writing to compliment junior girls basketball team for sportsmanship.

Trustee Warrington
Thanks to coordinators of science fair, and teachers. Very proud of work both our students and teachers do in these endeavours. Please also extend thanks to Mr. Rutherford for the Zone professional development conference. Hope the event will continue for years to come.

At 7:53pm, moved into the business of the meeting.

Approved minutes.
6.1 Motion re Enrolment and Capacity
DPAC’s recommendations, and other partner groups in support would like to see more discussions regarding long term planning for the district.
Board has not yet met with DPAC as yet to discuss what sustainability committee would look like.
Motion from Trustee Cooke: postpone discussion on recommendations until after meeting with DPAC. All in favour, passed.

Education Programs and Planning Committee
7.1 Brief report – Trustee Hooker
7.2 Sports School Academy – as specialty academy.
Powerpoint presentation on campus proposal. Goal to provide an environment that will help high performance athletes balances pressures of their education successes and sports careers, in grades 10 to 12.
Discussion and questions. Refer to board package for details of program.
Recommendation for Academy was passed unanimously by the Board.

Management and Finance Committee
8.1 Committee report – Trustee Bourassa – reviewed financial projections, operating grant, bus contract, public sector accounting board format, KPMG will be coming to discuss changes in how statements look (significant changes).
8.2 Student Transportation Services Contract
Motion to accept Diversified transportation for student transportation.
Trustee Bella – question regarding have we heard of transportation funding coming from government? Change – transportation is included in unique geographical factors funding. Previously 4.2 million, $10.2 million now which also included in unique geographical factors. Sarah’s note – So what was last year’s unique geographical factors?

Question: are we looking at transportation changes, are we open to looking how to look to deliver these services, with this contract being accepted? Courtesy, etc – that whole transportation conversation that we put off until after we found out our funding. Are we going to pursue that, now that we’ve awarded this contract?
Trustee Bourassa – That would be for the policy committee to discuss, whereas this is finance.
Request for clarification from Bryan Mix- contract in place is defined by policy. Two different issues – funding and grants, vs. policy. Funding vs. spending – two different things. New funding difference is tens of thousands of dollars, if that. Any adjustment to the program takes away service, creates greater inequity. If board has an issue with policy, that’s a different issue than approval of bus contract.
Trustee Cooke asked to review a copy of the contract before voting on it. Trustee Warrington suggests postponing motion until they have a contract to review.
Bryan Mix – notes that the contract conforms to policy. Rest of it relates to insurance, vehicles, and has been gone into in committee. They have responded to a public tender – school district has many tenders, many long contracts – such as 300 pages. Company has various issues to take care of before, delay may cause issues.
If wish to look at contract, then would need to look at public tendering process, if you do not have trust in that process. Would implore you to move forward, based on faith in public tender process.
Trustee Bennett suggests trusting the work done in the committee meeting – due diligence has been done.
Trustee Hooker – clarify point that Trustee Bella was making – awarding contract does not preclude relooking at transportation policy. Answer was yes.
Trustee Cooke – dos not have problem with tendering or with district staff, but would like to discuss contract before approving it. Perhaps a special meeting.
Trustee Bekkering – needs to trust senior admin, went through tendering process, partner groups were there.
Clarification by Trustee Bennett – management and finance, partner groups not there. Would be prepared to make motion to refer transportation to policy for further discussion.
Trustee Warrington – question regarding cost – the cost is very close to previous cost?
Bryan Mix – It is within current level of budget, given the reduction in kilometers. Budget going forward a rollover budget, cost escalation doesn’t take place first year of a contract. Question: what happens starting 2013/14?
It is the policy that determines the cost – routes drive cost. Taking away bus service is a crippling experience for families. Try to do the best possible program for most of the kids.
Trustee Bella – very happy that we’re not going to hear in the future that we’re overspending on transportation – as now a unique geographic feature area of budget.
Motion: Trustee Cooke not in favour, all others in favour. Recommendation is carried.
Trustee Bennett – motion: that transportation be referred to education services committee and policy and governance committee for a review of our current transportation policies and practices.
Important that this conversation happens.
Trustee Bourassa – why do this when we wouldn’t be changing?
Trustee Bella – perfect opportunity to pull in partner groups for discussion, such as parents. What can we bring forward? Look at CORES recommendation, have that discussion.
Trustee Cooke – transportation funding has changed, so would like to know how that would affect us?
Trustee Bennett – not saying that change is going to come – review and discussion.
Trustee Hooker – committee of the whole, rather than ed services or policy and governance.
Trustee Warrington – history – have done this several times, have referred transportation issues to ed services, and have looked at policy itself. What is our goal? Do we have a purpose, changes in mind? Regarding efficiencies, have looked at in the past.
Trustee Hooker –
Trustee Bourassa – vote against it, don’t believe there are inefficiencies in routes, we do hear from people.
Trustee Bella – goal is that an efficiency doesn’t have to be dollars, bus with 25 kids rather than 3 kids because we’re helping kids get to school. Does our policy address the changes that have happened in the district? Invite the input, without people thinking that nothing’s going to change. Would like the input coming in first.
Trustee Bennett – didn’t mean to imply that efficieies haven’t reviewed in the past. Important that we have a discussion.
Trustee Cooke – with transportation funding changing, and budget coming up, fresh eyes and new perspective and new knowledge, although repeat for senior admin. For a committee of the whole to relook at bussing, and partner groups should be considered.
Motion – in favour – all but Trustee Bourassa.

Education Services Committee
Trustee Bella – information piece on carbon neutral report, and discussion of initiatives and savings in utilities costs. Adventure playground purchase at Lac des Bois, pleased to see that Henderson is still supplying playgrounds as a result of the playground committee.
Trustee Cooke – asked about playground, it’s all overhead equipment, called PAC chair to ask her about that, and was told that they had conferred with older children – this playground is targeted to older children, grades 5-7.
All in favour, approved.

Mechanical system upgrade – Fortis memo of agreement, noted with annual facilities grant if we can find dollars for upgrades, frees up some money to cover some changes.
Trustee Cooke – asked if Bryan Mix can extend on some of the interesting information. Discussion of geo thermal options, such as at Duchess Park. Recognizating gas bill for Duchess Park for January was $1000 – in other schools, $6000 for larger space. If this can be financed within current utility bill – ideal.

Policy and Governance
Trustee Bennett – had a few partner groups to discuss changes to child protection policy, such as DPAC 57 Review and Input on Draft Policy 5145. Thanks to Don Sabo and Lorraine Prowse.
Recommendation – update policy as presented, minor changes based on feedback from partner groups.
Added definition of parent, significant changes under reporting and investigation, Teacher Regulation Branch of Ministry rather than BCCT, training required annually for district employees.
Trustee Hooker – question re: – is there a difference between staff in schools and district staff? No, the superintendent would not need to be notified.
Trustee Cooke – again policy – “should” or “must” notify? They must inform proper authorities, should inform principal as a courtesy.
Brian Pepper – it would be typical that the welfare worker would discuss with principal – it’s not up to school principal as to how the investigation would continue. Acknowledges he is being fairly brief and somewhat obtuse.
Motion – all in favour, motion carried.

Trustee Cooke – why was DPAC letter not in board package, as it did have some great feedback? Answer: those recommendations were brought to the committee level.
Trustee Cooke – quite a relevant document, we had all these other documents included in the board package – and all this great work that DPAC did, public should know.

Motion: minor revision to sexual harassment of students
Adding “Abusive behavior that includes discrimination against others on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and/or perceived sexual orientation.”

All in favour, recommendation passes.

Change to bylaw 1 – delete clause 3 – “The business discussed at committee meetings is confidential; therefore, persons representing other organizations at committee meetings will be required to sign confidentiality agreements.” – to be considered at public meeting of April 24th.
Motion: that policy 5145.5 (Sexual Harassment of Students) and Policy 5131 (District Student Code of Conduct) be referred to Policy and Governance for discussion, prior to being presented presented by senior administration at the May public board meeting.
Originally moved by Trustees Cooke and Bourassa, various amendments.
Have discussed education side, we know there are policies in place, but there appears to be a weak link in this process.
Next board meeting will be in Valemount – yes, Brian Pepper will be there. There is a missing piece – no students have spoken about enforcement. Students have spoken about reporting.
Trustee Cooke – do we need more staff for enforcement, for online component of bullying? Wish to look at all the components that deal with enforcement.
Brian Pepper – will bring various items, and talk on general and specific issues. Sees it as a reporting issue, not a staffing issue.
Trustee Bella – also education about the enforcement piece – people know how to report.
Trustee Bourassa – wording may be a bit vague, but think Brian Pepper knows what we want.
Trustee Bella – we should be specific.
Trustee Cooke – would like to see the information presented in public.
Trustee Bourassa – take to policy and governance first, to refine what it is the board is looking for, and then bring to May board meeting.
All in favour, motion passed.

District Administration Reports
Candidates failure to file campaign finance disclosure statements – Bal Gill and Rhonda White did not file. The candidates may file a late statement upon the payment of a late filing fee of $500. Sarah’s note: no mention of where campaign finance disclosure statements are made public. 

Trustee Reports
BC School Trustee Association – Trustee Bella
Provincial Council – February 24 and 25 – Presentation regarding budgets from MOE
Motion regarding mediated resolution regarding teacher contracts
Trustee Bella – was a successful candidate

DPAC – Trustee Cooke
Not a lot to report – doing a lot, starting a lot and finishing a lot. Statistics regarding two spring break on PG Citizen website. DPAC website – about 102 people commented on website, giving opinions on 2 week spring break, majority in favour.

DSAC – Trustee Bennett
Very excited to report – number of new members. Revised policy, and good conversation over what DSAC wants to accomplish. Lots of passion in that room. Thanked Josh Hewit, outgoing chair helping to transition.

CTC Advisory Council – Trustee Bekkering
Deferred report to May meeting, wasn’t in her binder.

Aboriginal Education Board – Trustee Warrington
Board would like to meet with trustees – preferably a dinner evening meeting.

New Business
Election of Provincial Councillor
Nominations open – Trustee Bourassa – nominated Trustee Hooker – accepts nomination.
Trustee Bella – nominates Trustee Bennett – declines nomination. Would be willing to serve as alternate.

Information Items
Minor update to policy 5126 – district awards committee – doesn’t require vote, just minor changes.

Letter to Minister of Education

Meeting ended at 10:41pm.

Note: TimBits were given out to board, media, staff and audience before the district administration reports due to a pause in the meeting for phrasing of a motion and a procedural question.

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