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June 13, 2011 - Committee of the Whole Board
Committee of the Whole Board Meeting
Limestone District School Board
June 13, 2011

        A Committee of the Whole Board Meeting of the Limestone District School Board was held in the Board Room at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, on Monday, June 13, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.
Present Trustees:
H. Chadwick, Chair
        G. Beavis
        H. Chadwick
        E. Crawford
        L. French
        D. Jackson
        P. Murray
        S. Ruttan
Present Staff:
K. Burra, Assistant to the Director
E. Braidford, Manager of Financial Services
D. Fowler, Manager of Facility Services
B. Hunter, Director of Education
D. Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
A. Labrie, Superintendent of Education
R. Richard, Superintendent of Business
W. Toms, Manager of ITS and Planning Officer

        Chair Chadwick called the meeting to order.  She reported that regrets were received from Trustee Brown.


        No Trustee declared a conflict of interest.


        Chair Chadwick advised that an item concerning a Request for Proposal would be added to the agenda in Private Session, and that an item concerning the Draft Specific Mandate for the Kingston North PARC is to be added to the agenda in Public Session.

        MOVED BY Trustee Goodfellow, seconded by Trustee Crawford, that the agenda, as amended, be approved.–Carried


        MOVED BY Trustee Goodfellow, seconded by Trustee French, that the Board recess to Private Session and immediately reconvene in Private Session.–Carried


        MOVED BY Trustee Jackson, seconded by Trustee Ruttan, that the Board resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole Board in Public Session.–Carried


        Chair Chadwick stated that the Operational Review process was lengthy, indicating that staff worked very hard over the winter break to prepare for the review of the Board’s operations that was conducted by the Ministry of Education.  She commented that the Operational Review report was quite favourable for the Board.

        The Director stated that the purpose of this evening’s meeting is to provide the findings of the review of the Board Operations that was conducted by the Ministry of Education during January of this year.

        The Director indicated that she would present a brief overview of the process and the document, and then Superintendents Labrie and Richard and she would present the findings related to each of the functional areas of operations.

        The Director stated that the first part of the document is the Executive Summary of the findings, which includes a brief description of each area, and a list of the recommendations.  She said that all of this information is included again in the report, but with far more of the context and the good practices that we have in place (sections 2 through 5).  She indicated that she was going to review in more detail the information included in sections 2 through 5.  Director Hunter said that she would review the Governance area, Superintendent Labrie would review the Human Resources area, and Superintendent Richard will review the Finance and Facilities areas.

        The Director advised that following the Executive Summary is Section 1 which provides a brief overview and background of the school board.  She reported that Sections 2 through 5 include the checkmark boxes.  She indicated that following sections 2, 3, 4 and 5 is the appendix that outlines the process.

        Director Hunter reported that the Ministry of Education began conducting  operational reviews four years ago, and the Limestone District School Board was in the final group of boards to be reviewed.

        Director Hunter advised that the purpose of the review is outlined in Appendix A of the document, which states as follows:

“Recognizing the unique characteristics of each DSB, the specific purpose of the Operational Reviews is to:

  •         Strengthen management capacity in boards, with recommendations that support improvement in non-academic operations;
  •         Highlight existing successful business practices used by boards, to the sector and to school board communities;
  •         Leverage “best practices” across the education sector;
  •         Provide support and assistance to ensure that boards are financially healthy, well managed, and positioned to direct optimum levels of resources to support student success;
  •         Provide the Ministry with important input on board capacity and capabilities for the ongoing development of policy and funding mechanisms.”
        Director Hunter said that the purpose of the review was intended to provide a guide for the education sector that promotes the sharing and implementation of best practices, and clear consistency across the sector.  She stated that the Operational Review is a key accountability mechanism for the government, but it is also a valuable accountability mechanism for elected boards, as it should provide Trustees with assurance that the work of the staff is the right work, being conducted in the right way.  She said that she thought the report was valuable for direction setting.

        Director Hunter reported that information regarding the fieldwork, report and follow-up is outlined on page 71 of the document.  She indicated that on January 17 and 18, 2011, the Operational Review Team visited our Board and met with the leaders of departments.  She said that over the following few months, the Operational Review Team wrote a draft report, which contained a synopsis of findings, and where appropriate, recommendations for improvement.  She said that the Ministry reviewed the draft report and provided feedback to the review team.  The review team then met with Board Senior Staff to review and obtain feedback.  She said that the review team incorporated the feedback from both the Ministry and the Board and prepared a final report.  She said that we were presented with the Final Operational Review Report in May.

        Director Hunter stated that in order to have a checkbox marked with a “yes”, a Board had to be 100% compliant with the Ministry’s criteria.

        Chair Chadwick suggested that the Ministry change the checkbox to include not only a “yes” and “no”, but also add a comment to say “in progress”.

        In response to a question from Trustee Jackson, Superintendent Richard stated that there is no withholding of Ministry funding, if a board was not in 100% compliance with the Ministry’s recommendations.

        Chair Chadwick reported that the Ministry of Education will have the Operational Review Report of the LDSB posted on its website, and that we are also required to post it on our website.

        Director Hunter reported that with regard to the recommendations, our response is variable.  She said that for some recommendations, we believe that we are already compliant, and for some cases we have already adopted the recommendations or are planning to implement them.  She said, however, that for other recommendations, we need some further discussion among staff and/or Trustees, and for one or two others, we believe the recommendations are not fully feasible within the current level of resources available.

        Director Hunter referred to section 2 – Governance and School Board Administration – Findings and Recommendations, page 16 of the document and read the following paragraph:

“The following table summarizes the leading practices defined for governance and board administration, and identifies where evidence showed that the practice was adopted in full.  Where the evidence was not present or the practice was not completely adopted at the time of the review, a “No” indicates that an improvement opportunity exists.”

        Director Hunter referred to the “Development of the Board’s Strategic Directions/Plan” information on page 19 of the document, and stated that the Ministry was pleased with our Strategic Plan.

        Trustee French stated that we need to consider as we go through the document that the Ministry was extremely complimentary of our practices and process, which speaks well for staff.

        Superintendent Labrie reviewed section 3 – Human Resource Management and School Staff/Allocation – Findings and Recommendations.  He said that the first couple of pages in this section provides an overview of the Human Resources Department.

        Superintendent Labrie stated that the Development and Reporting of Annual Goals and Priorities chart indicates that the Board is 100% compliant with the Ministry’s mandate.  He reported that in the Staff Recruitment/Hiring Chart, the board received two “Nos”.  He said that in the Limestone District School Board, Trustees are involved on hiring panels and on bargaining committees; however, the report indicates that Trustees should not be involved in these two areas.  The report states “However, trustees should express their views on recruitment through the development of Board policies and by-laws.  They should not be part of the hiring process for employees other than the Director of Education.”  He said that with regard to Labour Relations, the report states: “It is recommended that Trustees should continue to provide the school board with a policy and priority framework for bargaining, and not play a direct role in negotiations.

        The Director suggested that the matter of Trustees on hiring committees and on bargaining committees be discussed at a future Trustee Retreat.

        Trustee French said that she would seek, for the retreat, information on other Boards’ practices along with an opposing legal opinion  from the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association on the matter of trustees being involved on hiring committees and in union negotiations.

        The Director said that the Board received kudos for its attendance management, recruitment strategies, and communications.

        Superintendent Richard referred to section 4 – Financial Management – Findings and Recommendations.  He indicated that the first page of this section outlines an overview of the purpose of the organization of the finance department.

        Superintendent Richard stated that the Board received all “Yeses” with regard to the Development and Reporting of Annual Goals and Priorities, and Organization Structure and Accountability.  He further stated that the Board received all “Yeses” with regard to the Annual Budget Development Process.

        Superintendent Richard said that we received all “Yeses” with regard to Cash and Investment Management.  He said that the Ministry was impressed to see that we had one bank account for all schools, the Board, and school councils, noting that was exactly what the Ministry was looking for to happen in all school boards.

        Trustee Jackson indicated that he would like the Board to respond to the 18 items where the Board received a “No”.  It was indicated that the Board would respond to the 18 items that received a “No”.

        The Director said that the Board did receive a significant number of “Yeses”; we have many outstanding practices in place.

        Superintendent Richard referred to section 5 – School Operations and Facilities Management – Findings and Recommendations.  He said that in terms of an overview the Ministry outlines the purpose of reviewing the organization of operations and facilities.  He commented that this area is not unlike the other areas.  He said that the Ministry was looking at Annual Goals and Priorities.  He remarked that the Ministry was pleased with the Board’s Strategic Plan and the process elements that feed into the Strategic Plan.  He indicated that we received “Yeses” in all of those areas.

        The Director said that we are committed to look at the recommendations, finding best practices, adopting them and localizing them.  She said that she is very proud of the work staff has done, and she is proud of the report.  She said that we have received positive comments around our communications.  She said that Senior Staff take the recommendations in the report very seriously.

        Chair Chadwick thanked the Director and everyone involved in the review for their work, commending them for the work they put into the review and for the report being favourable.

        The Operational Review Report for the Limestone District School Board was received.


        Superintendent Richard stated that Trustees will recall two previous revisions to Policy 15 (School Accommodation), based on very clear guidelines put out by the Ministry of Education.  He advised that one of the changes that came about during the last revision was that PARCs are to receive a specific mandate from the Board, as they begin their work.

        Superintendent Richard referred to page 2 of Policy 15, reviewing the conditions for when a school or group of schools may be considered for study.  He presented the following draft mandate for discussion:
“Develop recommendations to address the following:

1.      The enhancement, where possible, of the program and learning opportunities for students;

2.      The reduction of the building maintenance and operating expenses and the need for major capital improvements;

3.      The reduction of the excess student capacity at the schools within the review;

4.      The clarification of the boundaries for each school in order to:

        a)      Ensure that all schools will have sufficient capacity to accommodate the Full Day Early Learning Kindergarten program, as well as any future projected enrolments; and

        b)      Adjust the catchment areas where more than one school is identified for attendance purposes to ensure that each school has only one English and one French Immersion attendance area.

In working toward solutions that meet the above criteria the PARC must consider the overall impact on all of the students in the review area and the Board.”

        Chair Chadwick withdrew from the chair, and Trustee French assumed the chair.

        Trustee Chadwick stated that she would like to see a preamble in accordance with the Director’s Report presented at the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole to say that we would like the PARC to consider the following mandate.  She said that she believes that to be less prescriptive.

        Vice-Chair French withdrew from the chair and Trustee Chadwick resumed the chair.

        Trustee French said that a specific mandate helps the PARC to focus on something; we want to honour the time the PARC puts into its recommendations.

        Chair Chadwick stated that the wording has to be presented in the context that we honour the time the PARC members put into the process, and that in accordance with feedback from the Ministry and outlined in Board policy, we have to develop a PARC specific mandate.


        Trustee Beavis stated that he has received a number of calls from parents in the Kingston West/Loyalist PARC area who indicated that they were very pleased with the way in which the schools where the children will now be attending have welcomed the students and parents.

        The Director said that the Principals of the schools in the Kingston West/Loyalist PARC are keeping notes of the successful transition strategies they are using with regard to students, parents and staff for future system use.


        MOVED BY Trustee Crawford, seconded by Trustee Jackson, that the Committee of the Whole Board rise and report to the Board.–Carried


        MOVED BY Trustee Goodfellow, seconded by Trustee French, that the meeting adjourn at 8:35~p.m.–Carried


        MOVED BY Trustee Crawford, seconded by Trustee Beavis, that the Board resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole Board in Private Session.–Carried


H. Chadwick, Chair
G. Beavis
E. Crawford
L. French
A. Goodfellow
D. Jackson
P. Murray
S. Ruttan

        MOVED BY Trustee Goodfellow, seconded by Trustee French, that the Board accept the proposal received from Youth Diversion for a long-term suspension and expulsion program for a one-year period, with the possibility of extension for one or two additional years.–Carried

        MOVED BY Trustee Crawford, seconded by Trustee Beavis, that the Board recess to Public Session and immediately reconvene in Public Session.–Carried