Your browser does not support JavaScript!
April 15, 2013 - School Enrolment/School Capacity Minutes
School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee
April 15, 2013

A meeting of the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole Board was held in the Barry C. O’Connor Board Room at the Limestone District School Board Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, on Monday, April 15, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.
Present Trustees:
L. French, Vice-Chair
G. Beavis
H. Brown
H. Chadwick
E.  Crawford
D.  Jackson
B. Milligan, Student Trustee
P.  Murray
S.  Ruttan

Present Staff:
Ruth Bailey, Accommodation Review Facilitator
Myra Baumann, Manager of Financial Services
K. Burra, Supervisor of Safe and Caring Schools, and Assistant to the Director
Jane Douglas, Communications Officer
Dave Fowler, Manager of Facility Services
Barb Fraser-Stiff, Superintendent of Education
Tammy Giles, Supervising Principal
Richard Holmes, Supervising Principal
Brenda Hunter, Director of Education
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Norah Marsh, Superintendent of Education
Alison McDonnell, Supervising Principal
Roger Richard, Superintendent of Business Services
Wayne Toms, Manager of ITS and Planning Officer 
Vice-Chair French chaired the meeting.  She called the meeting to order reporting that regrets were received from Trustee Goodfellow, and Student Trustee Yun.

Conflict of Interest

        No Trustee declared a conflict of interest.

Approval of Agenda

        Trustee Chadwick indicated that she would like to add an item, “Correspondence and Public Input” to the agenda, under the “Other Business” section.  

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

Business Arising from the April 11, 2013 Minutes

Process for Chair

        Vice-Chair French stated that since the last meeting of the SE/SCC Committee of the Whole Board, Senior Staff have reviewed additional information to support or not support the process for the Chair to allow the Chair to take part in the discussion.

        Vice-Chair French advised that the latest edition (11th Edition) of Robert’s Rules of Order supports an alternate model, indicating that she would prefer that the mover and seconder of the motion to support a Chair Pro-Tem at the April 11, 2013 SE/SCC meeting, withdraw their motion and that we revert back to our traditional process.

        Director Hunter stated that she reviewed Robert’s Rules of Order and she had spoken to the OPSBA Parliamentarian with regard to the impartiality of the Chair.  She said that Committee of the Whole follows the guidelines for the whole assembly, and advised that there are four ways that allows for the Chair of the Committee of the Whole to participate in debate.

        Director Hunter advised that in accordance with Limestone DSB Policy 7 (Role of the Board Chair), section 3.3.0, Remaining Impartial, the Committee of the Whole asks for another Trustee to assume the chair while comment is made.  She indicated that section 3.4.0 indicates that with the unanimous consent of the Board, the Chair may speak to the pending matter without vacating the chair.

        Director Hunter indicated that another way to allow the Chair to take part in debate would be for a person to relinquish the role all together and revert back to the Chair of the Board, and the Chair would ask for a new Trustee to be the chair, or if multiple Trustees, through nominations.

        The Director reported that in the 11th Edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, it allows for an outside person to become the Chair, as a temporary presiding officer.  She said that in certain instances in an ordinary society, for example if an adjourned meeting or a special meeting must deal with a problem that has intensely divided the organization, it may be that such a meeting can accomplish more under the chairmanship of an invited non-member who is skilled in presiding.  Sometimes it may be a professional presiding officer.  If the president and vice-president do not object, the assembly, by major vote, can adopt such an arrangement for all or part of a session.  Alternatively the rules may be suspended to authorize it, even over the objection of the president or vice-president.  She stated that the OPSBA Parliamentarian did not know of a time that this process was used; it is only used for extraordinary circumstances.

        Trustee French asked that the mover and seconder of the motion, Trustees Ruttan and Crawford respectively, withdraw their motion.

        In response to a question from Trustee Ruttan, Director Hunter stated that a smaller board (fewer than 12 Trustees) may operate without such rules, but our policy guides the process.  She said that Robert’s Rules of Order is our default policy.
        Trustees Ruttan and Crawford withdrew their motion.

Review of Financial Information – Operations Savings, Capital Renewal, Capital Priorities Grants, Operating Leases and Partnerships

        Superintendent Richard stated that the purpose of this evening’s presentation is to review financial information with Trustees.  He said that financial information is interspersed throughout the Senior Staff Report and the Senior Staff Follow-Up Report.  He indicated that Trustees had asked for additional information.

        Superintendent Richard provided the following information:

Capital Priorities Grants

  • Capital Priorities funding is allocated to school boards for the construction of new schools, the purchase of school buildings, the construction of building additions or the undertaking of major retrofits of existing schools.
  • Funding decisions are based on the Ministry of Education’s review and analysis of the capital priority business cases submitted by school boards.  The Ministry of Education’s review focuses on a number of criteria including but not limited to:
  • appropriateness, cost and viability of the proposed solution
  • number of surplus spaces to be removed
  • facility condition information/magnitude of renewal needs
  • joint school and/or partnership opportunities
  • number of students in poor condition schools
  • School boards do not have to undertake any long term borrowing in order to finance Capital Priorities capital investments.  The Ministry of Education also funds all short term interest costs related to Capital Priorities capital projects.
Superintendent Richard acknowledged that there is no impact on the local budget, but on provincial taxpayers.  He said that with regard to the Government’s Capital Budget, there are no savings (for the Board or Province) if we do not take the funding as it would simply be allocated towards another board.

  • For the 2012-2013 budget year, school boards across Ontario submitted capital project business cases to the Ministry of Education for Capital Priorities funding totaling $3.5 billion.  In the end, the Ministry of Education approved just $620 million in Capital Priorities funding (i.e. only 18% of the total funding amount requested).  Eighty-seven projects (new buildings, replacement buildings, additions, etc.) were approved.

  • In cases where an accommodation review process is required, the Ministry of Education will only announce funding for a Capital Priorities capital project, if there is an approved board recommendation.
  • The application process for Capital Priorities capital funding is quite simple. From time to time, the Ministry of Education notifies school boards that they should submit updated major capital priority lists.  Boards of education submit their major capital priority list along with any corresponding business cases.  The Ministry of Education reviews the submitted business cases and approves projects for Capital Priorities funding based on the availability of Capital Priorities funding at the time.
In response to a question, Superintendent Richard stated that in terms of retrofit, it is best to review the Ministry of Education announcement of $620 million in Capital Priorities funding.  He said that 87 projects were funded across the province, including new buildings for enrolment increases where there was no existing school, but in this case boards would have to justify 900 or more secondary students in an area where they do not have a school.  He said that for replacement builds, such as the $9 million we received to replace two existing schools in Kingston North, the funding received from the Ministry would have to be used to build a new school.  He said that of the 87 projects that were approved, only two were retrofits.  He indicated that it is rare for the Ministry to approve a straight retrofit project, noting that it is difficult to put a business case in that would justify it if we did not do anything else.  Superintendent Richard stated that capital renewal funding is for renewal, and Capital Priorities funding is not to be used for renewal.

Director Hunter commented on one retrofit project that was on the Ministry’s list that was approved.  She said that she spoke to the Director of that district school board who indicated that the retrofit funding resulted after the closure of three elementary schools in that board, and $2 million was for an office area.  She indicated that the Ottawa-Carleton DSB received retrofit funding for an old high school, indicating that they had capital reserves, and they received permission from the Ministry to use that existing money from their capital reserves to fund the retrofit project.

Trustee Jackson stated that there is a definite interest in building new over retrofitting existing buildings unless a board does some major reorganization and downsizes its property overall.

        In response to a question from Trustee Jackson, Superintendent Richard stated that it has to do partially with capacity overall, as well as the merits of a business case.  He said that if there was a bias of the Ministry, it would go back to the Prohibitive to Repair concept.  The Ministry picked 65% as the number for a board to get to a certain level of RECAPP, and the requirements to fix a school.  

        Superintendent Richard reviewed the LDSB Cumulative Event costs vs. Cumulative Base Funding for the period 2011 to 2035.  He said that we approach total ReCAPP costs of $.5 billion, and the grant only approaches approximately $80 million.  He said that there is a huge gap between the cumulative renewal needs as compared to the level of funding we will receive.

        The Director stated that in the additional recommendations section of the Senior Staff reports is that we continue to advocate to the Ministry for retrofit funding, noting that an example would be to advocate for them to start another Good Places to Learn Grant.

Operating Leases in Central/North Kingston

        Superintendent Richard indicated that the Board expends $106,318.80 to lease space to accommodate the QECVI Second Chance Program, $54,541.65 to lease space for Youth Access and $80,557.60 to lease space for KCVI Streetsmart, which totals $241,418.05 annually.

Partnerships in Central/North Kingston

        Superintendent Richard reviewed the following information:

# of Classes
Square Ft.
Circle of Friends Day Care
Frontenac PS
Old MacDonald Day Care
Central PS
Frontenac County Childcare
Frontenac County Childcare

Projected Operational Savings If One School Closed

        Superintendent Richards reviewed the following information:

Financial Data
Enrolment (ADE) as at October 31, 2012
Projected Reductions in Expenditures if One School Closed
Head Caretaker
Other Support Staff
Utilities, Operations and Maintenance
Operational Savings
Additional Transportation Costs*

*Note -- Ministry of Education currently fully funds all legitimate student transportation costs for Limestone DSB.
        Trustee Jackson asked if the reductions assume that we close a school.  Superintendent Richard stated that this is correct; it assumes the full closure of a school.

        Superintendent Richard reviewed the LDSB Enrolment by Panel – 1998 to 2012, and Projected Enrolment – 2013 to 2020 information.  He indicated that there were over 25,000 full-time students in 1998 and in 2012, we were down to13,000 elementary students and under 8,000 secondary students, noting that is about a 4,000 student drop.  He said that we are anticipating that elementary enrolment declines and it is tapering off and anticipates that it will go back up.  He said that in the secondary panel, we anticipate further declines for some time.  We anticipate for 2013-2014 a structural deficit of $2.5 million to $3 million at this time.

        Trustee Ruttan asked if the Board could sell the land around schools.  Superintendent Richard stated that Regulation 444/98 in The Education Act deals with the disposition of physical assets, and it also deals with the leasing of space.  He said that we could sell land around a school, but we would have to go through the preferred agencies list, and any preferred agency wishing to buy the land would have to pay market value for it.

        Trustee Murray asked if the Ministry of Education is still reviewing its funding formula.  Superintendent Richard indicated that the Ministry has said that given the economic situation currently, they are looking at the entire model.

        Trustee Chadwick stated that in terms of Capital Priorities grants, if we have $9 million for an elementary school and build that school and we do not use all of the $9 million, are we able to use the money left over.  Superintendent Richard stated that he does not believe a project could come in under what the Board was allocated.

        Director Hunter advised that when the Board decided to move the students from Sandhurst Public School to Bath Public School, the funding followed the children.

        Trustee Ruttan stated that around a business case, she understands Capital Priorities and Capital Renewal.  She asked if a Capital Renewal Plan and a Capital Priorities Plan could be put in side by side.

        Superintendent Richard stated that the Ministry of Education, when looking at a particular solution for a group of students, expects a board to put in the best business case possible.

        Trustee Murray stated that a lot of the options before the Trustees involve the former Calvin Park building.  She asked about what kind of retrofit money we would have to apply in that case.  Superintendent Richard stated that any funding to do a one-off, that is not part of secondary schools, is capital renewal.  He said that money the Board receives each year for capital renewal has to be allocated there.  He said that there is a minimum of $300,000 that has to be spent there.  He said that there would be no additional Capital Priorities money; it is simply capital renewal money.

        In response to comments from Trustee Jackson, Superintendent Richard stated that the Board’s business case would be based on approved decisions by Trustees related to the outcme of the accommodation review.

        In response to comments by Trustee Jackson, Superintendent Richard stated that if the Board did not receive funding for a new build, then it would have to put in a subsequent business case for retrofit money, or the Ministry might indicate that the Board should apply for retrofit funding the next year.

        Director Hunter stated that sometimes a board does not receive funding and the Ministry will send them back to the drawing board.  She said that if we said that we need funding to rehabilitate all three schools that are collectively well under capacity, they would predictably say you have not consolidated, and you need to.

        Trustee Ruttan asked if the Ministry breaks the province down by region and has pots of money in the breakdown.  She asked what our chances would be for a new school and three new buildings.  She asked if staff could predict where the Limestone DSB sits in the province.  Superintendent Richard stated that we are not privy as to what happens at the Ministry level.  

        Director Hunter indicated that the Ministry’s first priority would be to boards where there is no school, such as occurs in growth boards.

        Trustee Murray stated that when we think in terms of funding, for urban Trustees, they try to figure out what schools will look like in the future.  They look at funding and buildings themselves.  She asked about changing programming, and the possibilities for advocating for different types of funding.  She asked if extending Focus programs to grade ten would fill space. She said that when dealing with funding, we are still dealing with a cookie cutter template.

        Director Hunter indicated that there is some limited local opportunity for creativity for some of the funding we get for staffing, for example.  She said that creative models are something we need to push and develop.

        Trustee Jackson stated that in terms of a new construction business model, we have not said where we might build a new school.  He said that in terms of building a business case, land is a big factor.  He said that if the Board acquires a site, it is expensive, but to build on land we already have, we would not pay anything for the land.  He asked how staff would construct that business case, if we have to rezone land.

        Superintendent Richard stated that regarding the question of servicing, we are talking about urban Kingston, and therefore, all land would be serviced.  He said that there might be a small fee to attach to a building you are constructing on the land.  He stated that the Ministry does not require boards to say where the land will be when it puts in its business case.  He advised that one use of the Capital Priorities funding is for the purchase of land.  He commented that we would ask for that in an approval.  He said that the Limestone DSB has done this in the past.

        Trustee Jackson stated that with regard to new construction, he understands servicing at the street level on a number of sites we have considered.  He commented that it will be very much dependent on where we build.  If a school is within 30 metres of a street, there will be no servicing costs.  He remarked that for one site we are looking at, servicing would be a long stretch.  He asked if we had rough ideas for the number of students at a new school.  He asked about what we are looking at for all capital costs in land, and the decommissioning of schools.

        Superintendent Richard stated that with regard to decommissioning of a school, the Ministry does allow funding for demolition.  He said that in terms of the total amount of funding we are talking about, it is in the $30 million range if land is purchased, a new school building constructed and existing building(s) decommissioned.  He advised that is the range of funding boards receive for a secondary school based on the general numbers we are looking at.

        Student Trustee Milligan stated that the recommendations from the Senior Staff Follow-Up Report indicated an addition at LCVI, but not an auditorium.  He asked where the funding would come from if KCVI closes and an auditorium is built at LCVI.

        Superintendent Richard referred to recommendation 1.4.3 and stated that there would be a couple of options with respect to the addition.  He said that when we are doing the design, if we are creative, sometimes money savings strategies can be out of the design.  He said that there is a potential of long-term leasing and if that would be done, that would contribute significant dollars for the auditorium at the school.

        In response to a question by Student Trustee Milligan, Director Hunter said that in the two-school option, Senior Staff tried to develop two composite environments for both schools; French Immersion and International Baccalaureate programs at one new school, and if we have an AP, arts and technology focus at LCVI.  There are a variety of profiles that make schools attractive to students.  Both schools could have a small theatre.  She said that there is quite a lot of space at LCVI.

        In response to a question from Trustee Crawford, Superintendent Richard stated that once a school is closed, the Board does not count that as pupil places.

        Trustee Chadwick asked how does staff show operating savings for the former Calvin Park building.  Superintendent Richard stated that if a school is closed and disposed of, costs would disappear.

        Trustee Chadwick asked what the cost savings at the Calvin Park building would be if it was operating as a school filled with regular elementary students.  Superintendent Richard stated that this information would be provided to Trustees.

        Trustee Jackson requested a comparison between retrofitting a school and new construction costs.

        Vice-Chair French called a for a 10-minute recess at 7:35.  The meeting reconvened at 7:45 p.m.

Other Business

Future Topics

        Trustee Murray asked that we revisit the facility conditions index for LCVI, QECVI and KCVI.

        Vice-Chair French stated that Trustees could take the report references staff provided and find the piece in the Senior Staff Report and Senior Staff Follow-Up Report to craft their questions.

        Vice-Chair French stated that Senior Staff are working on programming ideas for the next meeting.

        Ms. Bailey advised that a full report on each of the schools Facility Condition Index could be found in Appendix 4 of the PARC Report, starting on page 84.

        Trustee Ruttan indicated that she would like to move towards making a decision.  Vice-Chair French stated that Trustees have the option to do that.  She said that Trustees would start to go through the recommendations and talk about the ones before us, saying that might spark discussion with regard to pros and cons.

Correspondence and Public Input

        Trustee Chadwick stated that she wanted to acknowledge and consider publicly the correspondence that Trustees are receiving directly and the public input that is seen in the press, such as the recent advertisement that a group placed in the newspaper and letters to the editor.  She said that some of what Trustees see is from alumni.  

        Trustee Chadwick stated that she struggles with some correspondence and some letters to the editor.  She said that she is hopeful that all students who graduate do feel good about their education.  She said that she is happy that they have an affinity to their high school, and they feel that their high school helped them to launch their success.  Trustee Chadwick commented that she is concerned that the community thinks she may put stock in that and use that as a basis for her decision.  She said that she wants to have this conversation in a public forum

        Trustee Ruttan stated that the letters to the editor are one person’s opinion, and we have to take it as one person’s opinion.  She said that in order to get a letter published, the letter has to be chosen by the Editorial Board, and there are likely others not chosen representing a variety of viewpoints.

        Trustee Beavis stated that when he sees that a person has signed a letter, he takes it as the person’s opinion.  He said that person has a right to express their opinion.  He said that we have to look at their letter and say thank you for it.  He said that Trustees have to rule on the evidence of the situation they have and not on the person who sends a letter.

        Trustee Chadwick stated that this accommodation review is about our current and future students, and the situation we currently face.

        Trustee Jackson said that to him it is respectful to receive all correspondence and acknowledge that he has received it.  He said that it becomes part of the larger view from the public that Trustees consider.  He said that it is one of the factors, but not the only factor, and that he gives it the weight it deserves.  He stated that people are able to express their views, and that he is not necessarily swayed by the opinions.

        Trustee Chadwick stated that she has no concerns about public input.  She said that we do not discuss it, but we have acknowledged it.  We are receiving it, and we are reading it.

Future Meeting Dates

        The next meeting of the SE/SCC Committee of the Whole Board will be held on Monday, April 29, 2013, immediately following the Budget Consultation Meeting.  The SE/SCC Committee of the Whole Board will also meet on Thursday, May 2, 2013, at 6:00 p.m.  Both meetings will be held at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston.

School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole Board to Rise and Report

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


MOVED BY Trustee Jacskson, seconded by Trustee Chadwick, that the meeting adjourn at 8:05 p.m.–Carried