Budget Consultation Meeting
May 3, 2010
A Budget Consultation Meeting was held at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, on Monday, May 3, 2010, at 6:00 p.m.
G. Beavis, Chair
Marg Akey, Supervising Principal
Jane Douglas, Communications Officer
Barb Fraser-Stiff, Superintendent of Education
Richard Holmes, Supervising Principal
Brenda Hunter, Director of Education
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Peter Lynch, Manager of Financial Services
Norah Marsh, Superintendent of Education
Roger Richard, Superintendent of Business Services
Wayne Toms, Manager, ITS
Beth Woodley, Supervising Principal and Executive Assistant
S. Hedderson, Vice-Principal, Frontenac PS and Association of Elementary School Administrators
C. Worthy, Principal, Bayridge SS and Secondary School Principals
Chair Beavis welcomed those present to the meeting, thanking them for coming to present their budget requests. He said that the information presented this evening will be received and Trustees will take the comments from this evening’s meeting into consideration as they move forward through the budget process.
Declaration of Conflict of Interest
Trustee Goodfellow declared a conflict of interest as her son is an employee of the Limestone District School Board, and she withdrew from the meeting.
Approval of Agenda
MOVED BY Trustee Jackson, seconded by Trustee Crawford, that the agenda, as distributed, be approved.–Carried
Association of Elementary School Administrators
Steve Hedderson, Association of Elementary School Administrators (AESA), was present. He thanked the Board for the privilege to be present to speak on behalf of the Association of Elementary School Administrators. He read the following statement:
“Dear Trustees of the Limestone District School Board:
The Association of Elementary School Administrators (AESA) would like to thank you for allowing us the opportunity to share our perspective on budget priorities to consider as part of 2010-2011 budget deliberations.
AESA’s budget priorities reflect the value elementary administrators place on ongoing professional learning for staff to continue to raise the bar and close the achievement gap for all Limestone students and align with the Boards’ Strategic Plan, Success for All. Our budget priorities also represent a progressive look forward to the use of technology in our schools to help support student learning and promote continued growth and achievement. Finally, our budget priorities reflect a continued reality in some of our schools as it relates to the availability of Yard Supervisors for our playgrounds to help ensure the safest possible environment for all of our students.
Budget Priority #1 – Professional Learning
Elementary administrators remain committed to the ongoing learning of all staff, believing it is through the continual growth of administrators, teachers, and support staff that we will continue to improve student learning and achievement. We would ask the Board to consider funding professional learning opportunities for all staff that align with the goals and priorities in the Strategic Plan, in addition to any targeted Ministry funding which may be forthcoming. The sense from elementary administrators is that the investment in Teaching-Learning Critical Pathways (TLC-Ps) in elementary schools has increased collaboration amongst teachers and has resulted in measurable improvements in student learning and achievement. We would ask the Board to continue to find release time for staff to engage in site-based collaborative
planning related to our school improvement plans.
Budget Priority #2 – Technology (Infrastructure and Program Support)
We recognize the value and possibilities that technology brings to today’s learners. With this in mind, we would like to see a long-term investment in basic technology, beyond school budgets, to facilitate the teaching-learning process. This investment could include such items as more LCD projectors, more interactive white boards (SmartBoards) and working toward creating the infrastructure necessary to create a wireless network in all elementary schools. We are also hopeful that a long-term technology investment would explore the use of laptop/netbook carts, alternative configurations of computer technology in our schools, and the use of new technologies that align with and support the goals of the Elementary Program.
Budget Priority #3 – Yard Supervision
There continue to be challenges at some sites in being able to hire and/or keep people in Yard Supervisor positions to help maintain the safest possible playground supervision for our students over the lunch period. Although we feel that this issue may best be addressed as a result of the funding enhancement for Educational Assistants in 2011-2012, there remains concern for the 2010-2011 school year. As a result, we are requesting any budgetary support from the Board to help attract people to the Yard Supervisor role for the next school year to help ensure safety on our playgrounds and help ease the burden on administrators. Principals and Vice-Principals continue to have to juggle the needs inside and outside the school over the lunch period and try to maintain an
appropriate adult to student ratio for the adequate supervision and safety of students despite a shortage of available adults at some sites.”
Mr. Hedderson also spoke to learning resources being a priority.
Chair Beavis thanked Mr. Hedderson for providing the above-noted information.
Secondary School Principals
Caroline Worthy, representing the Secondary School Principals, was present. She thanked Trustees for their support, noting that her presentation will relate to the Central Program Budget allocation.
Principal Worthy reported that secondary schools are directly allocated funds based on a per-pupil basis, as determined by the Board. Trustees also allocate funds to support Board-wide initiatives and programs through the Secondary School Central Program Budget.
Principal Worthy reviewed the expenditures in 2009-10, as follows:
Secondary School Central Program Budget
This budget allows for cost effective use of limited financial resources among schools. It supports a number of initiatives and resources utilized Board-wide. It enables Principals to respond to new opportunities, provide pathways for all students, and provides direct support in support of teaching and learning in our classrooms.
In the 2009-10 school year, the Central Program Budget provided funds for the following areas:
- Co-operative Education
- Late Busing
- Teacher Resource Centre
- Secondary Curriculum
- Secondary Athletic Costs; OFSSA, line painting, SLHS trips, etc.
- Cancopy, Video, SoCan and other Technical Licences
- Outdoor Education
- Secondary school enrichment programs
- Graduation awards and bursaries
- The University and College Information Program
Principal Worthy reviewed the following information:
Financial Needs for 2010-11
The maintenance of the Central Program Budget is vital to the continued success of Limestone District Secondary Schools. Collectively reviewing our financial demands and working together with central funds to address needs with cost efficiency and consistency across secondary schools has proven to be an effective model. There are three areas in which Principals agree there is significant pressure and we are unable to provide enough financial support without central budget coordination and support.
Previous one time allocations to fund the purchase of new textbooks supporting changes in secondary curriculum have greatly assisted schools. Again this year, several subject areas have completed major curriculum changes and learning resources will need to be purchased which not only support the revised content to be delivered but the differentiated instruction methods of delivery which support student success. Although textbooks have, in past, been a major portion of the learning resources required, secondary Principals strive to stay abreast of other resources, assistive technologies and additional learning materials which will further enhance our ability to meet every student’s need through relevant, engaging programming. Although schools set aside funds to support
learning resources, school budget allotments will only accommodate limited purchases.
Examples of some of the costs associated with learning resources include purchase, installation and software for on-line video projector use (approximately $1,000 per unit), on-line textbook licenses or purchase of class sets; major curriculum changes will require the purchase of multiple class sets in several grades and destinations. (One class set approximately $2,500 – example science grade nine academic x 3 sets/semester plus grade nine applied x 2 sets/semester plus same grade ten equals approximately $25,00 for one school grade nine/ten science curriculum)
Secondary Principals are extremely appreciative of the computer allocation support. Funds this year have been very helpful in continuing to keep abreast of the demands on funding for technology and to close any gaps from years where this allocation was not available. Continuation of this funding at the current level is invaluable to school planning for maintenance and renewal of our computer hardware, software and licensing requirements to meet student programming needs.
Gymnasium Inspections and Repairs
All secondary schools are inspected annually by Playground, Assembly, Repair and Consulting Services (P.A.R.C.S.). Inspection reports indicate repairs to be completed to ensure safe learning environments for our students. While these repairs must be completed, the costs
can be exorbitant and unexpected. Support to address these repairs centrally may help us to ensure repairs are completed with cost effectiveness and without placing unexpected demands on planned school budgets. Sample costs incurred by our secondary schools include repairing or upgrading bleachers; minimum cost of $10,000, intensive backboard repairs: $12,000.
Principal Worthy said that Secondary Principals wish to acknowledge and thank Trustees for their continued support and hard work, particularly during the difficult budget process. She stated that our combined efforts will serve to provide excellent programming, safe environments and a quality educational experience for all of our students.
Chair Beavis thanked Principal Worthy for providing the above-noted information.
Karla Maki-Esdon, Cataraqui Conservation Region Authority
Ms. Maki-Esdon thanked the Board for allowing her to present to Trustees this evening. She presented the following information:
- CRCA has operated curriculum-based conservation education programs for area school children at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area in Kingston since 1981
- approximately 6,000 school children from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 participate in these programs annually
- the Limestone District School Board leases Gould Lake Conservation Area near Sydenham from the CRCA and operates an outdoor education facility
- we also offer conservation educational programs at Mac Johnson Wildlife Area in Brockville
- CRCA programs make use of our forests, fields and wetlands on our properties to teach children and youth about nature and the environment in a hands-on manner
- programs link to the science, geography and physical education curriculum for elementary and secondary schools
- funding for our conservation education programs at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area comes from:
- fees paid by students attending the programs
- fundraising – primarily by the Cataraqui Conservation Foundation
- 11 member municipalities of the CRCA through their municipal levy
- a per student fee paid by participating schools boards (LDSB – $3 per student; Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB – $3 per student)
- 2010 budget for our conservation education programs at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area is $130,300
- we do not receive any provincial grants for education programs
CRCA Commitment to Education
- CRCA’s Conservation Strategy adopted in 2001 places a high value on education of our watershed residents
- CRCA board has committed municipal funding for our conservation education programs and have shown their support by assisting the Cataraqui Conservation Foundation with their fundraising efforts for conservation education
Provincial Position on Environmental Education
- Shaping Our Schools Shaping Our Future – Report of the Working Group on Environmental Education June 2007 chaired by Roberta Bondar stated that there is “a gap between the environmental education “intended” in Ontario’s curriculum and that which is taught and received in the classroom”
- this report made a number of recommendations to improve environmental education
- led to the development of a policy framework for environmental education in 2009 called Acting Today, Shaping Tomorrow
- one part of this framework states that “school boards will be expected to revise or develop an environmental education policy, in collaboration with their community partners, that reflects their local circumstances”
- Conservation Authorities across Ontario are prepared to continue working with local school boards to help develop this policy and to provide high quality environmental education programs to help implement this policy
Requests to the Limestone District School Board
- in 2008 the CRCA requested and the LDSB agreed to increase the per student fee from $1.00 to $3.00 for education programs at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area
- the same fee is paid by the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board
- in 2009, approximately 2,735 students from LDSB participated in our conservation education programs
- cost to the LDSB was $8,205
- requesting that the LDSB continue financial support at this level to provide conservation education programs for its students
- the LDSB leases Gould Lake Conservation from the CRCA and uses it for outdoor education programs
- was used by 291 school classes in 2009 plus summer programs
- current 10-year lease expires on August 31, 2010
- requesting that LDSB renew Gould Lake Conservation Area lease in 2011
- assist in ensuring that teachers are aware of various conservation education programs that are available near their schools
- requesting that LDSB add links to their internal website to various Conservation Authority education program pages
Ms. Maki-Esdon distributed the CRCA Elementary School Education Programs 2009-2010 brochure.
Chair Beavis thanked Ms. Maki-Esdon for providing the above-noted information.
LDSB Special Education Advisory Committee
Chair Beavis advised that only one written submission was received, which was from the LDSB Special Education Advisory Committee. The submission read as follows:
“We, the Limestone District School Board SEAC, submit that what we value most is the importance that the School Board has given over the years to ensure that students with special education needs have the same opportunities as other students. We appreciate that these students have been provided with the supports and services that allow for them to participate and be engaged in classroom learning and extracurricular activities.
In order for students with special needs to achieve as well as they do, the Clinical Professional supports that are provided by the Special Education Department are crucial. We recognize that these supports are costly and know that the costs continue to rise. Given that the High Needs Amount was set based on costs of about five years ago, the current costs for the level of support that we would like to see maintained will be high, but we do consider this to be a priority for our students. While we also recognize that the funding formula has yet to be finalized for the year, any reduction in support at this point would be detrimental to the students supported by the Special Education Department.
We are concerned about the projected reduction of allocated funding for Special Education that will come to our Board understanding that the funds are based on a per pupil formula and the Board is currently projecting declining enrolment. Both the SEPPA amount and the High Needs Amount (HNA) will be reduced because of our declining enrolment. Unfortunately, despite the declining enrolment, the number of students with special needs and the complexity of their needs is not declining proportionately. Our Board should be commended on the success it has achieved
in supporting our students with special needs. However, it seems this success has an ironic and perhaps unintended, cost to the Board. Based on the implementation of the HNA Measure of Variability (MOV) – an index that measures how well students succeed in comparison to other school boards, the successes our Board has created, may be in serious jeopardy, should the Ministry then withhold funds using this formula. This seems like a punishment for succeeding and will have a significant adverse effect on the overall success rate of our highest need students.
We recognize the importance of the supports and services provided for our students with special needs and realize that the costs to maintain these services are increasing while the money provided is decreasing. We hope that the LDSB will consider the maintenance of these services for special education to be a priority in planning the budget for 2010-11.
Thank you for your consideration.”
Next Meeting Date
A Committee of the Whole Board Meeting to review revenue is scheduled for Monday, May~10, 2010, at 6:00 p.m., at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, in the Board Room.
MOVED BY Trustee Chadwick, seconded by Trustee McLaren, that the meeting adjourn at ~6:20~p.m.–Carried