June 12, 2012

Briefing - June 12, 2012 - budget meeting

Special presentation

 

Libbie Jennings thanked trustees, on behalf of the Applewood Centre for Adult Learning, for the board’s support of its programs.

 

Delegations

 

Angie Somanlall and Harri Somanlall spoke to trustees about the French immersion boundary change for Britannia Public School.

 

Irena Kravchenko and Glenda Pycha delegated the board regarding the French immersion boundary change for Folkstone and Russell D. Barber public schools.

 

Trustees thank outgoing student trustees

 

Chair of the board Janet McDougald thanked the student trustees for their service in 2011-12. Shivani Shah represented students north of highway 401 and May Zou represented students south of highway 401. Zou will return as student trustee, representing students south of highway 401, for the 2012-13 school year.

 

Board congratulates Ziggy Musial, Brampton Sports Hall of Fame inductee

 

Trustees congratulated Ziggy Musial, facilities manager, on being inducted into the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame at a ceremony held on May 1, 2012 in recognition of his contribution to the sport of lacrosse.

 

Trustees congratulate Herbert H. Carnegie Future Aces Citizenship Award recipients

 

Trustees congratulated graduates Dhruv Bhalla, North Park Secondary School, and Haley Carson, Erindale Secondary School, on being selected as 2012 Future Aces Citizenship Award recipients in recognition of their exemplary citizenship qualities.

 

Peel board wins Hermes Creative Awards

 

The Peel board received Hermes Creative Awards for four of its communications projects this year:

 

Platinum Award – 2011 Engage the Smile video

Platinum Award – 2011 Unlock the Smile video

Gold Award – 2011 Report to the Community

Gold Award – Welcome to Kindergarten package

 

Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional materials and programs, and emerging technologies. They are administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals.

 

Board approves establishment of additional Regional Learning Choices Programs

 

Trustees approved the establishment of additional Regional Learning Choices Programs, with a total start-up cost of $373,500 to be covered through the board’s uncommitted Working Fund Reserves.

 

New programs include:

  • International Business and Technology at Meadowvale Secondary School, effective Sept. 2013*
  • Middle Years Program – International Baccalaureate (grades 9 & 10) at Glenforest Secondary School, effective Sept. 2013 – there is no change to the existing catchment area for IB at Glenforest
  • Strings at Central Peel Secondary School, effective Sept. 2013*
  • Concentrated Advanced Placement at Central Peel Secondary School, effective Sept. 2013 – recommendations for the catchment area* for this program will be brought to the board’s Physical Planning & Building Committee in Sept. 2012
  • Sports at Applewood Heights Secondary School, effective Sept. 2013 – recommendations for the catchment area* for this program will be brought to the board’s Physical Planning & Building Committee in Sept. 2012
  • International Leadership Academy at TL Kennedy Secondary School, effective Sept. 2013 – recommendations for the catchment area* for this program will be brought to the board’s Physical Planning & Building Committee in Sept. 2012 

    *All boundary changes associated with the proposed Regional Learning Choices Program locations will be included in the board’s Annual Planning Document.

Board approves amendment to by-law

The board approved an amendment to the by-law – Appendix B – Code of Conduct for Members of the Peel District School Board. In February 2012, the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) sent a template for a Code of Conduct for trustees to all member boards. Notice of the proposed amendments to the code was given at the Regular Meeting of the Board on May 22, 2012. Changes to board by-laws require the consent of two-thirds of all board members.

Peel board funding cuts show province’s financial commitment to education is ‘lost in translation'
"Referring to student-focused staff as 'back office expense' sounds like Mike Harris talk," says chair

Trustees of the Peel District School Board approved an operating budget of $1.55 billion and a capital budget of $1.72 million for the 2012-13 school year. This balanced budget is a $2.9 million decrease in provincial operating grants from last year. 
 

“The budget before us tonight—all appearances to the contrary—is not a book, or even a binder. It is really a means to an end—the way we achieve our mission to inspire success, confidence and hope in each student,” says Janet McDougald, chair of the board. “And behind the budget before us tonight—behind this critical means to our collective end—is countless hours of work and endless difficult decisions.”

McDougald commended board staff for having done the very best with the reduced funding from the province. Notes McDougald, “Of course, we all know the financial situation in this province, the country, the world. Equally, we know we need to do our part. In fact, long before we received the budget, we had asked each department to reduce discretionary budgets by three per cent across the board. Through the administrative budget process there have been other savings found by reducing office staff support in secondary schools, for example.”

“But right now most people have the sense that the government’s plan—and it is their plan—to freeze salaries, grids and change sick days—is the economic price to pay for maintaining education funding. There is good reason for people to believe that—it has been very well messaged from the province. And messaged often,” notes McDougald. “In fact, it was a commitment front and centre in the budget news release with a lofty promise...the ‘government will continue to build on its plan to have the world's best-educated workforce to ensure future prosperity in the knowledge-based economy.’ Wow. Impressive. But somehow, lost in the translation, is the financial commitment to actually attain that goal.” 

Adds McDougald, “When all the numbers are crunched, all the beans counted, all the information run through the government’s budget software, the end result is not positive for the Peel District School Board, for our staff, for our students or for our community. In fact, it is fair to say this has been the most difficult budget for this board since this ‘education government’ was elected.” 

For many years, Peel trustees have asked and continue to ask for the funding formula to be reviewed, and for the gap between the provincial average per student amount and the amount given per Peel student to be closed. Although some progress has been made, there is more to be done. “Now, I want to be clear, this is not about support or lack of support for this government or our local MPPs—we recognize and acknowledge the progress made, the funding provided, the peace and stability in schools, the innovative and powerful programs introduced in the last eight years. But all this does not justify unconditional support when we have to cut literacy teachers, for example...our reduction of $2.5 million was higher than we deserved...As well, the board remains the lowest funded board on a per pupil basis for high needs students,” McDougald explains. 

The board maintains these cuts are unfair, “as is the arbitrary cut to our maintenance budget of about $2.4 million this year, and four times more than that next year for a total reduction of $9.6 million. Once again, as a board, we feel punished for having been efficient and effective in building new schools while closing under-enrolled older schools. After all, that was the government direction. Now, the boards with those older, under-enrolled schools will actually get more maintenance funding this year,” notes McDougald. 

“This is simply not fair. Not fair to our students and communities who make such excellent use of our schools. And not fair to our extraordinary custodial and maintenance team who do an extraordinary job of keeping schools spotless. The extra year to phase in was helpful, but I would respectfully remind the government that when we received the increased LOG funding that our students deserved, they phased it in over four years,” says McDougald. “I would ask the government to phase this reduction in over the same number of years—and to reduce the amount to something fairer for the students, staff and taxpayers of Peel. This will be a key issue we will raise with our MPPs so their voices can be heard. As well, the funding formula has got to be addressed. Our per pupil funding gap continues to be inequitable relative to neighbouring boards.”

Continues McDougald, “I am also, frankly, concerned about the kind of language and messaging I now hear from the province. In their May 29 news release about ‘protecting gains in education,’ the quote was, ‘With enrolment down significantly since 2003 and projected to continue to decline in the coming years, Ontario needs to focus limited taxpayer dollars on the classroom rather than administration and back-office expenses.’ I haven’t heard that kind of talk since the Mike Harris government.”

“This is an outstanding budget report, given the funds available. With the commitment from all our hard working staff we will continue to focus on the success of every student, but if the government would have the courage to address our growth by reviewing and redistributing funding, we could do so much more. To this end, we will continue to advocate for all our students and staff in Peel,” says McDougald.

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.

Elementary principal assignment

The board received the following elementary principal assignment, effective Sept. 1, 2012:

David Jack from principal at Sir William Gage Middle School to School Effectiveness Leader

Elementary principal appointment

The board received the following elementary principal appointment, effective Sept. 1, 2012:

Margaret Wise-Hellmuth from vice-principal at Smithfield Middle School, Toronto District School Board, to principal at Artesian Drive Public School

Retirements

Trustees recognized the contributions and years of service of the following staff who are retiring effective June 30 unless otherwise indicated:

Cathie Auger, teacher
Andja Bago, school attendant, will retire June 17
Tracy Bates, teacher
Angela Brien, office assistant, will retire Aug. 31
Ross Burton, teacher
David Cairns, teacher
Douglas Caldwell, teacher
Pat Chaszcziwskiy, teacher
Laura Chyfetz, teacher
Tom Elliot, custodian, will retire June 29
Raymond Fowler, custodian, will retire June 29
Susan Franceschini, teacher
Marion Frankel, teacher
Jean Franz, office manager, will retire Aug. 31
Adela Grabar, school attendant
Sharman Howes, teacher
Marilyn Jurinic, office manager, will retire Aug. 31
Darina Kovac, teacher
John Kurlowicz, teacher
Robert Lawrence, teacher
Marilyn MacKay, teacher
Nigel Marshall, teacher
Joan Matthews, teacher
Jack McCollum, teacher
Carrie Nadon, office assistant, will retire Aug. 3
Krishna Nankissoor, teacher
Ambalika Naresh, office manager, will retire Aug. 27
Tina Nazarec, teacher
Teresa Oliveira, teacher
Sheila O’Shaughnessy, teacher
Gul Paul, teacher
Michael Penrose, teacher
Edward Richard, teacher
Elmer Rosenberg, teacher
Lesley Scott-Krawczyk, teacher
Ghazala Shaheen, teacher
Grazyna Stepien, teacher
Louise Tennant Rozell, teacher
Darlene Thomson, office assistant
Paul Thompson, teacher
George Trenton, teacher
Wendy Tristram, head custodian, will retire Aug. 15
John Tsakonas, teacher

The next regular meeting of the board of trustees is Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.
 

 
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