BRIEFING - HIGHLIGHTS OF THE JUNE 9, 2015
MEETING OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Trustees thank outgoing student trustees
Chair of the board Janet McDougald thanked the student trustees for their service in 2014-15. Paul Okundaye represented students north of highway 401 and Trevor Sookraj to represented students south of highway 401.
Catherine Soplet delegated the board regarding a proposed initiative to Pilot Citizen Apprenticeship Youth Peer Tutor Program in 2017.
Board approves boundary changes for Applewood and Rick Hansen secondary schools
Board approves enrolment cap at SouthFields Village Public School
Trustees approved an enrolment cap for SouthFields Village Public School of 44 classes, effective June 30, 2015. New students from the area bordered by Old School Road, Old Kennedy/Kennedy Road, Etobicoke Creek and Highway 10 will be directed for the regular track program to James Grieve Holding School and for the French Immersion Program to Herb Campbell Public School. For more details, see Section 9.2 of the Board Meeting Agenda
Board approves boundary changes for Fletcher’s Meadow and Credit Valley #2 secondary schools
Board approves tender for Streetsville Secondary School renovation
Trustees approved the tender in the amount of $6,766,440 including HST for renovation of Streetsville Secondary School, be awarded to Pre-Eng Contracting Limited.
Trustees approve revised appointment of administrative and supervisory personnel policy
The board of trustees approved revisions to Policy 3 -Appointment of Administrative and Supervisory Personnel. The revisions to the policy have been vetted by Leadership Council and the Trustee Review Committee. The approved policy will be available at http://www.peelschools.org/trustees/boardpolicies/
Trustees approve revised procurement policy
The board of trustees approved revisions to Policy 80 - Procurement. The revisions to the policy have been vetted by Leadership Council and the Trustee Review Committee. The approved policy will be available at http://www.peelschools.org/trustees/boardpolicies/
Board reduces transportation criteria for grades 7 and 8, effective September 2016
Trustees approved the motion to reduce the transportation eligibility criteria for grades 7 and 8 students from 3.2 km to 2.0 km, effective September 2016, subject to budget.
"Ministry Wheel of Fortune spells out financial stability for Peel board, but still room for improvement," says Peel board chair
Trustees approve budget that brings enhancements to Peel students
Trustees of the Peel District School Board approved a balanced, operating budget of $1.77 billion and a capital budget of $138.7 million for the 2015-16 school year.
During her remarks at the Regular Meeting of the Board on June 9, 2015, Chair of the Board Janet McDougald spoke to the current status of public education in Ontario, "Over the past few weeks, I've experienced excited uncertainty, and liken the feeling to being on a game show. Not The Bachelorette or Survivor, more like Deal or No Deal—without Howie Mandel and the suitcases of money. Despite the turbulence we've experienced over the past few weeks and the uncertainty that ongoing provincial negotiations may bring, it's important that we remain optimistic. Though, some days, it'd be easier to use the Phone-A-Friend lifeline."
During her budget remarks, McDougald noted the following key highlights of the 2015-16 budget:
- Although secondary enrolment will be down in 2015-16, elementary will be up with a net enrolment increase of 259 students. As most of the funding is linked to enrolment, this will have a net positive effect for the Peel board.
- The board will receive $17 million more funding for Grants for Student Needs. About $11 million will be used to fund salary increases for teachers moving up the grid based on qualifications and experience.
- The board has been allocated $50 million in facilities improvements as part of the 2015-16 School Renewal grant allocation. Approximately $32 million is composed of the School Condition Improvement grant—a $20 million increase from last year. This $32 million will be used to improve key building components and systems, such as roofs, windows and electrical work. The remaining $18 million is the board's regular renewal allocation, and will be used for a number of renewal projects, including facility improvements to instructional space, accessibility, outdoor playing fields, gym flooring, curb appeal, etc.
- Special Education funding will increase as a direct result of the Peel board's Fix the Formula campaign, which took place during the 2013-14 school year. The board will receive close to an additional $5.6 million in 2015-16. Although, this funding brings us closer to actual spending, the Peel board will continue to spend more than its allocated funding to support students because there are clear and defined special education needs.
- For the second consecutive year, the board will increase the number of teaching assistants in schools, adding 70 teaching assistants in 2015-16 to support students' complex physical, development, emotional and behavioural needs.
McDougald noted that, although the board's Fix the Formula campaign was successful with respect to special education funding, the board's work isn't done when it comes to fairness and funding. She said, "We must begin to talk publicly and openly about the need for English as a Second Language funding for students who are born in Canada. These students have the same language learning needs as those who arrive from outside of Canada and must be offered the same access to service and the same level of funding. Yet, we receive far less for ESL funding for these students and that's not fair."
- Transportation remains a key ask of Peel families. Explained McDougald, "Last year, we voted to lower grade 1 and secondary busing distances. Next year, subject to budget, we will look to approve a reduction in transportation eligibility distances for grade 7 and 8 students that would take effect September 2016. Enhancements in the provision of transportation continue to be a goal of this board."
In preparing the budget, staff focused on supporting student success and well-being, and worked for months gathering input from the system to ensure funding priorities align with system goals. Noted McDougald, "This work is especially challenging when there are financial implications you have no control over—it's like being a contestant on Press Your Luck, but there's no button to press…only whammies." She went on to mention two specific funding challenges for the Peel board:
Concluded McDougald, "The ministry
Wheel of Fortune spells out financial stability for the Peel board. Although there's still room for improvement in their funding model, we continue to be committed to working within the grants we're provided to meet the learning needs of all Peel students.
Ministry of Education has removed the top-up allocation, which was used for
expenditures on schools that are not at full capacity. They are, however,
allowing for a two per cent increase on non-staff school operating costs and a
seven per cent increase for electricity rates.
- Funding for administration and governance was changed in 2014-15. The change is being phased in over four years, and has resulted in a $750,000 decrease for Peel for the 2015-16 school year. This phasing in will continue for another two years, with a total loss of $3 million over the four-year phase-in period ending 2017-18.
"But, what the future will bring remains to be seen…we look tonight at a budget that has significant enhancements for our schools and students. That is positive and inspires hope. Yet, we don't know what lies ahead, financially or politically, for public education, and education in Peel. And that's anxiety-inducing, for us, our staff, our students and their families.
But given all of this, we remain focused on the projects in our
Report Card for Student Success, and guided by our mission statement—to inspire success, confidence and hope in each student. Every decision this board makes, each item we add to the budget and each that is taken away, all reflect that mission and what is in the best interests of students. This is a responsibility we take very seriously, and I'm very proud of our steadfast commitment in this regard."
The following elementary vice-principal appointment will be effective June 10, 2015:
Carol Coyle from acting vice-principal at David Leeder Middle School to vice-principal at David Leeder Middle School
The following elementary vice-principal assignments will be effective September 1, 2015:
Vinita Mongia from vice-principal at McBride Avenue Public School to vice-principal at Springfield Public School
Carol Coyle from vice-principal at David Leeder Middle School to vice-principal at Britannia Public School
Trustees recognized the contributions and years of service of the following staff who have/are retiring:
Glenn Caine, teacher, will retire June 30
Joe Catalfamo, principal, will retire June 30
Susan Charman, teaching assistant, will retire June 30
Errol Fraser, teacher, will retire June 30
Linda Gage, teaching assistant, will retire Aug. 31
Grace Hamilton, teacher, will retire June 30
Marilyn Hansen, teacher, will retire June 30
Fiona Harrower, teacher, will retire June 30
Claire Johnson, teacher, will retire June 30
Janet Laverty, teacher, will retire June 30
Bina Maini, teacher, will retire June 30
Cynthia McBride, school attendant, retired May 21
Andrew McIvor, head custodian, will retire June 30
Louise Morgan, teacher, will retire June 30
Prunella Reynolds, teaching assistant, retired May 31
Dorothy Taylor, teacher, will retire June 30
Peggy Taylor Reid, teacher, will retire June 30
Laurie Thompson, special education resource teacher, will retire June 30
Sharon Thorpe, teacher, will retire June 30
Terry Westgarth-Taylor, custodian, will retire June 30
Myrna Widmer, office assistant, will retire Aug. 31