School Board Meeting Report – February 21, 2012

The North Vancouver DPAC has been posting updates from their school board meetings example:

The following is an experiment to see if there would be any interest in a similar type of update. 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.


Public Input Session – Partner Groups:
Partner groups added to public input session first.
PGDTA – Tina Cousins
matt pearce away lobbying MLAs, hope he will have better luck at this.
discussion of IEPs, and discrimination.
there is a limit to how much a teacher can teach. it is important to note that some teachers with composition issues are new teachers.
thank you to teachers, parents, and students who spoke at last meeting – need a lbgtq policy. we believe our students have a right to a safe and respectful learning environment. we do not want to just add to existing policy – this is not sufficient.
That the gsa club is the only place students feel safe is shameful. Policy – educate students and staff, keeping students safe only one piece of policy.
if reject different policy, and just add it to existing policy – not good.
celebrate diversity – wear pink, feb 29, take a stand.

DPAC – Don Sabo
parents were concerned about stories heard about last meeting
shocked, by individuals, dpac drafting a letter – would like to see something done
wouldn’t mind jointly partnering with various groups to help raise awareness
would like to talk about openness, accountability, transparency
rather than talk about recommendations in report – committee – more inclusive, including various stakeholders
it’s about being more open, about being more inclusive
definitely have some ideas
quote from Alberta minister of education: “As challenging as it can be, transparency, accountability and engagement will produce real benefits for boards. The better you communicate, the more you engage with your communities and the more you embrace generative governance, the less what you do will result in negative debate and acrimony.”

Chair – definitely open to being open and transparent – board in front of you definitely has these goals in mind.
No representatives presented from other partner groups.

Public Input Session – Public:
Valentine Crawford presented on behalf of Pride PG.
Additionally, heard from 6 thoughtful and articulate students. Their names will appear in official minutes. Great comments from these students, and can’t do full justice to trying to record them, so won’t try to. Emotional stories about bullying, suicidal thoughts, and lack of support by adults.

School district news:
Board wearing pink today as there is no board meeting on February 29th, Pink Shirt day.

Northern Learning Centre reports will be given to EPPC committee on a regular basis, to provide more openness and transparency.

Management and finance report – no real news.

EPPC – usually about 25 research projects a year this year only 3. Likely due to work action.

Presentation from Mackenzie Secondary re: Trades, Mining, and Environment course.
Question from Trustee Cooke – please explain difference between sustainable resources 12 course and this course.
Sustainable resources has a very large focus on coal mining, whereas this course just looks at copper and gold. Out of 21 learning outcomes, only 3 pertain to the goal – local course, with local connections.

All board members in favour of new course.

Education Services
reviewed committee mandate
report – family resource centre
Update – capital plan – nothing from Ministry as yet
Enrolment projections and DPAC report
– did discuss how confidential these numbers are. The numbers are based on a fluid formula, and they could be misused in community. The fear is that if school numbers are down, could be on closure list.
– Numbers are not confidential at all.
– concern over pinch points
– do still have over 2000 empty spots
– committee – input from partner groups
– during closure, were asked by partner groups that it be done quickly, not draggd out

Heather Park busing and courtesy ridership
– when made Miworth decision, meant as a one-off decision – there are 6 additional families also affected by decision in Nukko Lake catchment going to Heather Park school
– ongoing questions around transportation and budget
Motion that busing be reinstated, on courtesy basis, for the Heather Park families who had bus service previously, to the end of June 2012
question – what are additional costs, and are there other families out there?
– no applications have been made by any other families
cost – $216 a day for busing, and supervision cost to school of some $2500 (assuming 1.5 hours per day of additional supervision), for a total of some $20,000 to the end of June.

Trustee Bekkering – Miworth decision weakened policy, this would weaken it more – but do need to relook at busing policy.

Trustee Bourassa – also in opposition – focus resources in classroom.
Trustee Bella – totally support – fine to bring kids to school last year, should be good this year, extension of good will.
Trustee Warrington – was part of Miworth decision – which was meant to be a one-off. That was different from the Heather Park situation. Courtesy can be applied for if there is no schedule change and additional cost. Noted that students were transported to Heather Park last year as a result of transition from middle school to elementary school.
Trustee Bennett – is it possible to lower the cost of supervision?
Response: no, and the 1.5 hours of additional supervision is assuming that another supervisor wouldn’t need to be hired, and paid a minimum of 4 hours a day.
Trustee Hooker – don’t support, but also want to relook at transportation. Cost is high.
Trustee Cooke – wish she had known the numbers at the ESC meeting, as cost was not specified at that meeting. Understands human element, is torn.
Vote – in favour Trustee Bella, motion not carried.
Trustee Cooke brought forward some motions from the DPAC report.
Motion: that DPAC’s request that enrolment projection data be released for inclusion in their report be granted.
Vote: none opposed, motion carried
Motion: that an ongoing education sustainability committee be created, with partner group/critical stake holder representation, be formed to monitor and assess enrolment changes, school capacity, and any significant events that could affect school district operations.
Trustee Bennett: question about critical stake holders
Trustee Bella: comment re ed services committee
Bryan Mix: finds one phrase in motion scary – “any significant events” would be turned into an ad hoc committee discussion with stakeholders.
Trustee Hooker: concur with recommendations and intent. Suggests that discussion be deferred to after board planning session in March.
Motion: table motion to March 27 board meeting, none opposed, motion passed.

Policy and Governance:
board orientation session
minor change to policy 5119
Trustee Warring – clarification as intent of change, would students in choice programs have more options than those in regular programs? May be a philosophical question.
Clarification by Brian Pepper as to intent, mention of choice program/schools and geographical choice.

After last board meeting, referred to senior admin to see if must have separate LGBTQ policy.
boards must have one or more codes of conduct, rules re: codes of conduct, and provincial standards for codes of conduct.
Presentation from Cindy Heitman regarding SAFER schools.
Recommendation 1: Ensure that the SAFER schools resource guide is updated and redistributed to schools.
Recommendation 2: Ensure that the curriculum and instruction department continues to support and provide workshops for staff, students and parent son topics related to LGBTQ issues in schools.
Recommendation 3: Ensure school principals, as part of their yearly review of the school code of conduct, review with all students policies 1170.1 and 5131 and the school based reporting protocols associated with each policy
Trustee Bourassa – concerns around enforcement, education side being covered with motion quite well. Need more than just education and reporting.
Trustee Bekkering – question to Cindy Heitman. Answer about updating document, working with all, better job of getting into hands of teachers and those who would be using it on a regular basis.
Trustee Bella – thanks to all who have presented on behalf of all of those who have been bullied. Also have a big concern re: enforcement piece; those who will not be educated.
Brian Pepper – talked re enforcement at length
Trustee Hooker – thanked presenters. not convinced that moving LGBTQ to a separate policy would have any affect, and may even be discriminatory. suggestion of addressing funding towards education.
Trustee Cooke – thanked gallery, lots of good points made. Enforcement a big part of the issue. In favour of a separate policy, existing policy not working, maybe an additional policy is needed, go back to policy and governance – tend to have a lot of questions. do we not have enough money for discipline, is it a funding thing, and staffing?
Trustee Bella – right to safe schools. who determines the severity of the discipline. start with young students, teach them to be careful with their words, and how to say this isn’t right. Not sure how to put in that piece of how to report, this has to come forward, and the person receiving the information needs to move with it. Feels stuck.
Trustee Warrington – motion on the floor is regarding educational piece, am hearing we have major concerns regarding enforcement and policies. We do not take this lightly.
Trustee Bourassa – in support, it’s about half of what we need at this point. Question – timeline?
Cindy Heitman – would like to see resource guide over end of school year and work on it over the summer.
Trustee Bennett – wanted to discuss policy at board level, in public. Utilize stakeholders in district to help change culture.
Trustee Hooker – how to incorporate stakeholders with updating resource guide?
adding “and that the process of updating the guide includes the involvement of the LGBTQ community”.
Trustee Bourassa – against amendment, due to additional time required for consultation.
Trustee Bella – would like involvement of all partner groups, open it up for input.
Trustee Cooke – would like to see input, as times have changed, from interested parties.
Trustee Hooker – realize concern over timeframe, but do require involvement – involvement doesn’t necessitate a committee. “Add other partner groups”?
4 in favour of amendment, 2 opposed (Bella and Bourassa).
Favour of first recommendation – none opposed, carried.
recommendation 2 – none opposed, carried.
recommendation 3 – none opposed, carried.

Motion – In sexual harassment of students policy, be referred to policy and governance to develop and include under definitions:
abusive behaviors that includes discrimination against others on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or perceived sexual orientation.
none opposed, motion carried.
Trustee Cooke – bcsta recommendation for separate policy from 2005.
Motion: that the LGBTQ issue be directed back to the policy and governance committee for further review.
Trustee Bella – suggestion of more clarification
Friendly amendment – “, based on recommendation in 2005 from BCSTA regarding LGBTQ policies”
Trustee Bennett – point of information.
Trustee Bourassa – brought to p&g, had discussion, unless different members not sure what would be different. Against motion.
Trustee Bekkering – also against motion, want code of conduct to be comprehensive. Now need to test education and enforcement.
Trustee Cooke – would like to see go back to policy and governance for more discussion around enforcement, and look clearly at discipline.
Trustee Bella – in favor, would like more information from bcsta and from other districts.
Trustee Hooker – question re: policy and governance committee, answer from Brian Pepper.
BP – even in time of strike, plan to move in direction of having admin/teacher meetings to discuss reporting and safety concerns.
… missed some comments …
Motion: Cooke and Bella in favour, opposed Bekkering, Bourassa, Hooker, Bennett, motion defeated.

BCSTA Association – Trustee Bella
– some great conversations
– provincial council does come up this weekend

DPAC – Trustee Cooke
discussed funding – DPAC to PACs, priorities within school districts
– thanks to Mr. Pepper – thanking for assistance with pac contacts
BCCPAC conference
great conversation around bullying and discipline actions
tour of district resource centre, parents were able to go on tour there
discussion around kindergarten registration and capping
end note – when in Vancouver @ new trustee session, was told PG DPAC well organized and articulate – very fortunate in PG

DSAC – Bennett
hoping to get them revived – no report at the moment

Regional District – quick note – met with them Feb 1st – around rural schools, board reaffirmed commitment to work with regional district, and committed to further meetings
Calendar committee – recommendation brought to either March or April meeitng – some interest being shown

New Business:
Trustee Bourassa Motion: move that bylaw 1 be moved to policy and governance committee meeting for the purpose of revising clause 3.3 to allow those persons who attend committee meetings to publicly discuss agenda items, other than those which are privileged to in camera in accordance with the school act.
Trustee Hooker – in favour, had some suggested wording.
Trustee Warrington – all partner groups are provided with agenda prior to a committee meeting, and this provides partner group time to review agenda, and seek input from other members of partner group. It isn’t until a recommendation comes to the board that the board passes it or rejects it. Ramifications of changing bylaws needs to be seriously considered, with great caution.
Trustee Bella – conversations with other boards – their trustees try to take back seat at committee meetings, try to get more partner group input. Concern – if partner groups then go out after meeting to try and get input, then where does that input go?
Trustee Bekkering – in favour to go to committee to discuss, what are some of the ramifications?
Trustee Bennett – in favour, so that it can be discussed at committee. 10pm is not the time to be debating this.
Trustee Bourassa – want to point out that public discussion can be stifled by public not knowing what motions are being brought forward to board meeting.
Trustee Cooke – in favour, talk through it. Stakeholders asking to have more openness.
Motion – in favour – cooke, bekkering, bourassa, bella, hooker, bennet. Opposed – Warrington.

1 Comment:

  • I love this.  Thank you for providing these notes.  As someone who normally attends all Board Meetings, but is unable to for the next few, I really appreciate this timely review of the discussions and details.  Errors will be ironed out in the official minutes, but there is great value in having this information so quickly after the board meeting.  This will allow parents to bring any concerns raised as a result of discussions at the most recent Board meeting in a timely manner to the next Board meeting.

    I for one appreciate and support this continued effort.  Thank you!


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