Friday, January 13, 2017

School District 52 to set course for Budget consultations for 2017

The January meeting for School District 52 covered a  number of topics during the course of the Board's first public gathering for 2017, with a pair of consultation plans the main themes for the Tuesday evening session.

In their information release from the Tuesday meeting, the School District reviewed their plans when it comes to a decision on how the 2017 Spring Break will look like.

As part of that engagement process the District will consult with the community and partner groups for a thirty day period, offering two options for consideration.

One, which would return the District to its traditional one week break and the second which would put in place a two week break similar to what the School District had in 2016.

We provided a look at those two options yesterday on the blog (see here), as well we provided a link to the survey that is now available for those in the community to share their thoughts on the options.

The School District anticipates reaching a decision on which version to approve at their February 14th meeting, though they also note that the approval of a calendar with a 2 week Spring Break would be subject to reaching an agreement with the Prince Rupert District Teachers Union.

The other consultation session for this month will offer up a chance for the community to take part in the annual Budget Consultation process.

Towards that community engagement process the District is setting aside January 25th as the date for the first of the sessions, a 7 PM meeting at the multi purpose room of Charles Hays Secondary School.

The format of the meeting will include a 'world cafe' discussion period, where participants can share their thoughts on the themes of the budget preparation, working in small groups.

Other items of interest reviewed at the first School District session for 2017 included the announcement of the approval of the District's Annual Capital Budget Bylaw.

The School District addressed that issue on January 10th, noting four projects which had been approved by the Ministry of Education for the school year, with the District allocating funding for those projects as follows:

School Water system enhancements $150,000
Conrad Boiler Replacement $130,000
Conrad HVAC system replacement $376,5745
Bus replacement for students with special needs $87,562

The District also approved an Amended Budget Bylaw for 2016-17, with the total budget bylaw amount listed as $27,830,885 which is a decrease of 1.2 percent from the original bylaw amount of $28,165,497.

The School District notes that the decrease primarily has been achieved through the operating budget.

Student achievement also was a theme for Tuesday's session, with Superintendent Sandra Jones delivering a report on the District's Graduation Rates for 2015-16.

In that year, SD52 saw a 3 per cent improvement in the six year completion rate to 67 per cent, while the District achieved a 94 per cent completion rate for students who began their grade 12 year eligible to graduate.

The Report also outlined that the year to year fluctuations in rates are expected because of the nature of the small class cohorts found in Prince Rupert.

A trio of School events also were reviewed by School Trustees, with the District hearing some background on a Graduation Video project hosted at Pacific Coast School, as well as a short overview of the work of Shelly Moore who had visited the district in the first week of the year to work with teachers on themes of inclusion.

In addition to working with the District's teachers, Ms. Moore also hosted a well attended public session at Charles Hays on January 6th,  earlier this month we offered up a look at some of her work which you can review here.

School District Officials also provided a preview of an upcoming event at Charles Hays Secondary that will take place in February, when SD52 will host a Canada 150 event called the The Power of Ideas. Which offers a hands on approach to science for participants, a public opportunity to explore the exhibit is planned for February 15th from 5 to 7.

More notes on that Canada 150 can be found on our blog item of late December.

The full information release from Tuesday's meeting can be examined here.

One item not mentioned and something which it appears has not been addressed by SD52 officials as of yet, is the status of the still open seat on the School District Board.

For those that may have forgotten, SD52 sat through the majority of the 2015-16 school year without filling the seat that was held by trustee Judy Carlick-Pearson who left the District board in November of 2015.

So far in this 2016-17 school year the School District has not offered up any public comments as to whether it plans to hold the required by-election process to fill the seat, or if they intend to finish out a second consecutive school year without a full contingent of elected trustees.

You can find more items of interest about SD52 issues here, while a wider overview of education on the North Coast and across the Northwest can found from our Education archive page.

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