June 11, 2013

Briefing - June 11, 2013

Board recognizes winners of National French Public Speaking competition

The board recognized Clarkson Secondary School students Liam Bekirsky and Jounaid Lyaghfouri on their success in this year’s French Public Speaking competition. After placing first in their respective categories at the provincial level, Liam and Jounaid participated in the CPF National Concours d'art oratoire 2013 held at the University of Ottawa on May 25, 2013. Liam Bekirsky placed first overall in the Early Immersion Category and Jounaid Lyaghfouri placed second overall in the Francophone category. The CPF National Concours d'art oratoire is organized annually by Canadian Parents for French.

Board approves Terms of Reference for the Physical Planning and Building Committee

Trustees approved the Terms of Reference for the Physical Planning and Building Committee. As part of the board's regular review of its by-laws, all committees of the board review and make any necessary changes to their Terms of Reference.

Board approves establishment of additional Regional Learning Choices Programs
 
Trustees approved the establishment of additional Regional Learning Choices Programs, and another location for an existing program that will be open to its students in September 2014. The total start-up cost of $137,000 will be covered through the board’s uncommitted Working Fund Reserves.
 
New programs include:

• Arts and Technology at Morning Star Middle School in Mississauga
• Actively in Motion (A.I.M.) at Royal Orchard Middle School in Brampton
• International Baccalaureate (IB) at Harold M. Brathwaite Secondary School in Brampton, a popular program already available at W.G. Davis Senior Public School and Glenforest and Turner Fenton secondary schools

Board defers removal of buses for Caledon East for one year

The board approved to defer the removal of buses for students living north of Larry Street and
attending Caledon East Public School for one year, effective September 2013. The board will work with the Town of Caledon to address safety issues.

Appointment to Special Education Advisory Committee

Trustees approved the appointment of Mary Wright to be the representative for The Peel Caring Network for Challenged Kids on the Special Education Advisory Committee.
 
Board approves revised Flexible School Boundaries policy

The board approved Policy #19 – Flexible School Boundaries. On October 9, 2012, the Board appointed Trustees Ford, Lawton and Green to the Flexible School Boundary Policy Review Committee. The committee's changes to Policy #19 are designed to make it more "family friendly". Policies are available at www.peelschools.org/trustees/boardpolicies.

Board approves revised Student Trustees policy

The board approved Policy #66 – Student Trustees. The revisions have been made to incorporate changes recommended by Student Trustees Bui and Zou and to update the information regarding the election process. Policies are available at www.peelschools.org/trustees/boardpolicies.

Board approves authorization of loan from Ontario Financing Authority

The board approved the by-law to authorize a loan from the Ontario Financing Authority (OFA) in the principal amount of $9,742,364, pursuant to a loan agreement under section 7 of Ontario Regulation 41/10.
The Ministry of Education through the Ontario Financing Authority is moving forward with the
issuance of long-term financing to permanently finance the remaining renewal costs incurred
with respect to the Good Places to Learn (GPL) renewal program. The Peel District School
Board will finance the remaining GPL expenditures to August 31, 2012 in the amount of
$9,742,364. Repayment of the loan will be amortized over 25 years at an interest rate of
3.663% per annum. The Peel District School Board will receive capital grant payments from
the Ministry of Education to cover all interest and principal payments associated with this long-term
financing.

Budget like a summer blockbuster movie, but without the happy ending says Peel board chair

Loss of nearly $10 million in funding and lowest per pupil special education funding is “shocking”

Trustees of the Peel District School Board approved an operating budget of $1.55 billion and a capital budget of $179.2 million for the 2013-14 school year.

Comparing the budget process to the production of a summer movie blockbuster, Janet McDougald, chair of the board, notes “Make no mistake—this is not a Ron Howard, happy ending kind of movie. Not this budget. We have lost nearly $10 million in provincial funding. That is shocking, but with no other sources of revenue, we have to accept this further underfunding and once again work with it.”

Adds McDougald, “Do you know what happens when there are more demands and less money? Maybe we could hope to be like the characters in the new movie ‘Now You See Me’. After all, they are magicians who can seemingly make millions of dollars appear out of mid-air. That would be handy at budget time. But sadly, not the case. Instead of hoping for a magical solution—like a provincial move to fairer funding that doesn’t put Peel in the back of the pack—we had to find our own solutions, and make some tough choices. And we did just that. Significant cuts to central departments - returning 46 teachers from central roles back to the classroom, reducing school operations, and on and on. But as we did so, we kept our focus on our goals, and priorities.”

Despite the funding reductions, the board will maintain support for key initiatives including the Vision for 21st Century Teaching and Learning and The Journey Ahead: Our Action Plan for Equitable Hiring and Promotion.

Says McDougald, “For 21st Century learning, we will in fact enhance our work to increase the role of parents as partners. As for The Journey Ahead –if we believe in bias-free hiring, and we do—we have to make sure we do everything possible to transform our hiring practices—even if the funds are limited.”

A key focus for the board moving into the next school year will be special education funding. 

Explains McDougald, “We are the absolute lowest funded board in the entire province on the high needs amount of special education. In case you didn’t get that, let me repeat –Lowest. In. The. Province. Funded almost 50% less than our neighbour board. That is not acceptable. It was not acceptable when we first realized it several years ago. It was not acceptable when the province promised year after year to review what they also see as a flawed formula. And it is certainly not acceptable this year when they have again quietly announced that they will not review the formula. Not. Acceptable.

Last Wednesday, Minister Sandals met with us and we were able to raise this issue with her in person. First of all, my appreciation—and the appreciation of this board—to the minister for showing the respect locally elected trustees deserve. She gave what we have wanted for a while—the commitment of time and attention to our issues in Peel. 

Did she write us a cheque? I wish—back to that magic movie again. But she did demonstrate a clear understanding of the issue, and a genuine appreciation for the situation we find ourselves in. Now, what we need, what the students of Peel deserve, is action.

The province must fund the high needs special education students we have in our school now—today—not the ones that were there 10 years ago. They need to use the current, correct data. If they could do that, we would go a long way to solving the fair funding gap.

That must take political will. There is no new money—so they will need to redistribute funds. And that’s hard. But so is the work we have done with our own budget.

Now, the province needs to do the same. The meeting was a great start. Minister Sandals asked Peel Board to submit our suggestion on what a fairer provincial funding model would look like. We accept that challenge and will submit our proposal as soon as possible. And then we wait – to see if the offer of change is sincere.”

For more information about the Peel board budget, go to www.peelschools.org. For a complete copy of the budget, call 905-890-1010 (or 1-800-668-1146) ext. 2012.

The following elementary principal assignment will be effective June 12, 2013:

Anne Muller from principal at Kindree Public School to principal at Queen Elizabeth Senior Public School

The following elementary principal appointment will be effective June 12, 2013:

Chandra Sutaria from vice-principal at Janet I. McDougald Public School to principal at Kindree Public School

The following elementary vice-principal appointment will be effective June 12, 2013:

Ciera Murphy from teacher at Fairview Public School to vice-principal at Janet I. McDougald Public School

The following elementary vice-principal appointment will be effective September 1, 2013:

Jeremy Taylor from teacher at Castlemore Public School to vice-principal at Brisdale Public School

The following elementary vice-principal assignments will be effective September 1, 2013:

Lauren Grant from vice-principal at Thornwood Public School to vice-principal at The Valleys Senior Public School

Pamela Fowler from vice-principal at Agnes Taylor to vice-principal at Thornwood Public School

Dhalia Battick from vice-principal at Calderstone Middle School to vice-principal at Agnes Taylor Public School

Retirements

Trustees recognized the contributions and years of service of the following staff who are retiring:

Loretta Arnot, teacher, will retire June 30
John Bissylas, teacher, will retire June 30  
Sylvia Camilleri, school attendant, will retire June 28  
Lina Elliot, office assistant, will retire June 30  
Malcolm Engering, teacher, will retire June 30  
Katharyn Fehrens, teaching assistant, will retire Aug. 30  
Dale Flannigan, teacher, will retire July 31  
Cherry Goodwin, teacher, will retire June 30  
Lee Gosse, teaching assistant, will retire Aug. 30
Wendy Hall, teacher, will retire June 30
Glenda Hepburn, teacher, will retire June 30
Debbie Kehoe, office manager, retired June 3
Carlos Moniz, teacher, will retire June 30
Anthony Mustillo, head custodian, will retire June 28
Lesleigh Neid, teacher, will retire June 30
William Newhook, teacher, will retire June 30
Deborah Price, principal, will retire June 30
Carolyn-Leigh Slinowsky, teacher, will retire June 30
Carol Watters, teacher, will retire June 30
Mary Wilson, office manager, will retire Sept. 30
Greg Wojton, teacher, will retire June 30
Tracy Xiao, teacher, will retire June 30
Sharonne Young, teacher, will retire June 30

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