It was a jam-packed board meeting and thank you to everyone who attended. We will have a very busy fall, but until then, enjoy the summer holidays!
The final Board meeting of the 2014-2015 school year concluded last night.
- I was pleased that the board voted to support my motion on campaign finance reform with additional expense disclosure (with an amendment by Trustee Nathan Ip requesting that municipal donations be eligible for a tax receipt mirroring provincial or federal elections).
- I was pleased to see that we will continue to support the student Leadership Legacy Program and the proposed next steps with the student trustee program. Thank you again to Johannah Ko for her service as our first Student Trustee!
- I was pleased with the budget the Superintendent brought forward and the proposed allocations (see below)
- I was extremely pleased with the school names and were honored to have Dr. Ann Armour, Nellie Carlson, and Michael Phair in attendance at our board meeting.
From the Board Media Release:
BOARD APPROVES $1 BILLION BUDGET FOR 2015-2016 SCHOOL YEAR
Wed, 24 Jun, 2015
The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the Edmonton Public Schools’ $1.08 billion budget for the 2015-2016 school year at their regularly scheduled board meeting yesterday.
The budget means more teaching and support staff positions in schools to cope with increased student enrolment, restored funding for students with learning challenges, additional funds for instruction and many areas holding the line on spending.
- Funding for instruction will increase 4.4 per cent due to increased enrolment and higher teacher salaries.
- At the school level, there will be an additional 67 full-time equivalent teaching positions and an extra 51 full-time equivalent support staff positions.
- For students with learning challenges – funding will be restored for inclusive education at $61.8 million and PUF (Program Unit Funding) at $38.2 million.
- The overall fall enrollment is expected to be more than 92,000 students – an increase of about 2,700. Most of the increase, 1,655 students, will be in elementary grades.
- Board of Trustees’ budget of $859,000 remains the same.
- System Administration & Board Governance is just 3.3 per cent of total spending, well under the 3.6 per cent cap set by the province.
“This budget shows our dedication to putting money where it’s needed most – in the classrooms to support both students and staff, and ensuring our most vulnerable students are getting the services they need,” said Board Chair Michael Janz. “We feel this budget also ensures we have enough teachers and staff to work with our rapidly growing student population.”
NEW SCHOOL NAMES
In other board news, trustees approved five names for new District schools – Margaret Ann Armour School in Ambleside, Nellie Carlson School in MacTaggart, Ivor Dent School in Rundle Heights, Roberta MacAdams School in Blackmud Creek and Michael Phair School in Webber Greens.
SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR FOR 2016-2017
The 2016-2017 School Year Calendar was approved on Tuesday afternoon as well. The calendar ensures all District schools have the same calendar and common days off, which makes it easier for families to plan childcare or transportation. Feedback from families and staff has been positive. Time off for the 2016-2017 calendar has allotted for a fall break with a six-day weekend, an extended May long weekend and a two-day Teachers’ Convention.
LETTER TO THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION
Trustees also unanimously approved writing a letter to the Minister of Education noting the community supports consolidating students from Highlands, Montrose and Mount Royal Schools at a modernized Highlands K-9 School.
Our next board Meeting is September 8th. We will certainly have a very busy year ahead!
One of the first items on our agenda will be discussions about provincial advocacy and what the place of the Edmonton Public School Board is within various member organizations. As you may recall in 2012, the EPSB ended it’s membership with the Public School Boards’ Association of Alberta. Our board may yet have a similar debate about our future relationship with the Alberta School Boards’ Association, a member-service and advocacy organization.
Trustee Orville Chubb moved the following Notice of Motion. The Motion will be discussed at the September 8, 2015 Board meeting.
Please be advised that the following Notice of Motion was served at the June 23, 2015 Edmonton Public School Board meeting:
- That the Board affirm its desire to maintain coverage for its employees under the Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan.
- That the Board give notice of its intention to, in the fall of 2015, consider a motion to end its membership in the Alberta School Boards Association.
- That the Board give notice of its intention to ask the Alberta Teachers’ Association, the Alberta School Boards Association, and the Board of the Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan to amend the Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan Deed of Trust to delete the requirement for membership in the Alberta School Boards Association to be eligible to be a participating employer in the Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan.
- That the Board give notice of its intention to ask the Alberta Teachers’ Association, Alberta School Boards Association and the Board of the Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan to exercise their discretion to allow the District to continue to be a participating employer in the Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan irrespective of its membership status in the Alberta School Boards Association.
I will craft a more fullsome blog post soon outlining some of my thoughts on provincial advocacy opportunities and strategic partnerships.
I believe there are exciting ways to amplify the voices of our communities while ensuring that taxpayer dollars are maximized in the classroom. An example of this was the ad-hoc April 20th gathering of 19 school boards during the provincial election, (initiated by the four metro school boards, not by the ASBA).
Since we do not use ASBA services, the significant expenditure that EPSB spends on the ASBA ($206,286 plus trustee time, travel, and staff support) has been of unanimous concern to our board as articulated in the February 23, 2015 Letter from Trustee Nathan Ip requesting a membership fee reduction of 10%, and that the ASBA cease membership in the American National School Boards Association (NSBA) and the Canadian School Boards’ Association (CSBA).
As leaders, we want to be proud of every single dollar we spend as stewards. I reflect frequently on our responsibility as stewards as the taxpayer dollar and I ask myself: “Do we derive value from our participation in the ASBA?” and if not, “can we build a better alternative?”
*update June 25th: Metro News picked up the story: http://metronews.ca/news/edmonton/1408528/edmonton-public-schools-to-consider-leaving-alberta-school-board-association/
*You can also read the proposed budget & bylaws bulletin for the ASBA here: bb_bulletin15
* You can also read my letter of resignation here: http://www.michaeljanz.ca/2015/06/resignation-letter-as-vice-president-alberta-school-boards-association/