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Sections > School Board Meeting - Minutes > School Board Meeting Minutes: April 11, 2011 - Special
School Board Meeting Minutes: April 11, 2011 - Special
Published by Michelle MacLeod [Michelle MacLeod] on 04/18/2011 (2152 reads)
School Board Meeting Minutes: April 11, 2011 - Special

Central Office
Sydney, N.S.
April 11, 2011



A Special Board meeting of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board was called to order today beginning at 5:05 p.m.



Lorne Green, Chair Steve Parsons Joan Currie
Barb Mercer Kevin Ruelland Darren Googoo
Charlie Keagan Cathi Pierrard Jackie Organ
Darlene Morrison Sandra Margettie Darrell Flynn
Darren MacNeil Fred Tilley

Absent: Gary Fraser (sent regrets)

Also, Present:

Ambrose White, Superintendent
Beth MacIsaac, Director of Human Resource Services
George Boudreau, Director of Financial Services
John Astephen, Director of Programs and Student Services
Paul Oldford, Director of Operational Services
Mary Passerini, Coordinator of Human Resources
Sandra Burke, Coordinator of Finance & Accounting
Michelle Gouthro, Acting Board Recording Secretary


a. Commissioner Mercer - Elementary Reading Challenge

Moved by Commissioner Organ

Seconded by Commissioner Keagan

That the Board accept the agenda with one additional item….

Motion carried



i. NSTU Retirement(s):

Moved by Commissioner Mercer

Seconded by Commissioner Parsons

That the Board accept with regret and thanks for years of service the following retirements…

Professional Number





John Astephen (Director)

Central Office

June 30, 2011


James Beaton (Principal)

John Bernard Croak

June 30, 2011


Linda Campbell

Glace Bay High

June 30, 2011


Peter Campbell (Principal)

Glace Bay High

June 30, 2011


Aletha Coffin

Sydney Academy -Dept Head

June 30, 2011


Janette Gillis


June 30, 2011


Imelda Grant


June 30, 2011


Susan Greaves

Holy Angels

June 30, 2011


Mary Lou MacDonald

Robin Foote

June 30, 2011


Marjorie MacLeod (Vice Principal)


June 30, 2011

Motion carried


ii. Classroom Staffing:

Mrs. Mary Passerini, Coordinator of Human Resources presented the proposed amendments to the classroom staffing plan presented on April 5, 2011.

Several questions were addressed from Board members regarding enrollment adjustments at the identified schools – Robin Foote, St. Anne, Riverview Rural High, Donkin, Sydney Academy and Cabot.

Commissioner MacNeil entered the meeting at 5:21 p.m.

Moved by Commissioner Morrison

Seconded by Commissioner Organ

That the Board approve the attached amendments to the classroom staffing plan as presented by staff (attached to the original document)…..

Motion carried


Commissioner Tilley entered the meeting at 5:24 p.m.


Mr. Boudreau provided an overview of the process which has taken place over the last couple of months. He stated that throughout our deliberations declining enrollment and excess square footage were important factors to consider in our strategies to balance the budget. He further stated the Department of Education has reduced funding for our Board by 2.47% and mandated the Board to assume all cost pressures. As well, the Department has mandated the Board to reduce administration by 15% and reduce Board consultants by 50% over three years.

Mr. Boudreau reviewed with the board, senior staff’s recommendation for reducing administration. It was noted that the mandate is $1,035,000 and the recommendation revealed a reduction of $1,087,000. Included in the administrative cuts is a strategy for reducing travel cost for administrative staff by $50,000.

Mr. Boudreau provided a power-point presentation (copy attached to the original minutes).

Commissioner Parsons questioned savings in square footage i.e. Northside Learning Centre. He reiterated his wish to reduce cost in other areas by reducing square footage to mitigate against classroom cuts.

Mr. John Astephen, Director of Programs and Student Services provided an overview of the impact on the reductions recommended in administration with special emphasis on Consultants, Secondments and Mentors.

Commissioner Tilley questioned the number of administrative assistants/secretaries in administration and wondered about the possibility of shared clerical support.

Commissioner Googoo questioned a long term plan to reach the targeted reduction in consultants over three years. It would be 10.5 FTE’s in total. It was noted that a three year plan would provide some continuity for the Board and provide an opportunity for planning.

On the question of square footage it was noted that you do not achieve the savings in the first year however; long term savings can be achieved.

Mr. Boudreau continued his presentation and highlighted senior staff’s recommendation for achieving a balanced budget.

In summary, $2,684,000 would be achieved in the teacher’s salary component of the budget (63.2 teacher FTE’s), $588,000 from operations, (18 non-teaching staff) and $1,987,000.00 from other (64.5 non-teaching FTE’s)

It was further stated that an extensive review of the Board’s teacher assistant service, revealed that we can reduce our compliment by 50 to 65 FTE’s, and that this would translate into a budget savings of $725,000, (included in “other” above). Mr. John Astephen further advised that when this review was conducted student needs was the focus and the revised provincial guidelines and independence was kept in mind throughout the process. Staff recommended reductions in teacher assistant support.

Commissioner Parsons commended staff and the Board for carrying out this review.

Mr. Boudreau then highlighted other areas of reductions including Adult Education, Itinerant staff, Board based consultants, bus drivers, school secretaries, Summer Student program and Community Liaison Officers. The closure of Holy Angels High was also reflected in the distributed report. (report attached to the original minutes)

Clarification was requested with regards to the timeframe for staff lay-offs. Discussions ensued regarding the impact to the classroom environment and long term plans for the Board.

Commissioner Parsons reiterated that it is the mandate of the Board to approve a balanced budget and question increases in administration over the past years when we have declining enrollment. It was his intent to thoroughly review the budget so that the impact on the classroom would be minimized as much as possible. He reminded the Board that it is their responsibility to represent the students of this Board.

Commissioner Keagan requested clarification on the supports provided by the technology department and the support which the Board members receive from Compu-Clone.

Mr. Tilley cautioned the Board members about micro-managing the Board. He reminded the Board of its principal role of policy development and governance.

Concerns were expressed regarding the Northside Learning Centre and the Professional Development Centre and their sustainability and ability to provide savings in the budget. Mr. Astephen requested that the Board consider the impact of students who are presently attending the Northside Learning Centre and their impact on the classroom environment. Mr. Astephen would like to revisit the issue with his staff and bring forth recommendations at a later date which would be in the best interest of the students.

Commissioner Googoo noted that the Board should provide a mandate to Senior staff in order to achieve cost savings in future years keeping in mind the capacity issue with square footage. It would be his view that Senior staff and the Board should be working to achieve long term savings.

Commissioner Ruelland left the meeting at 7:23 p.m.

Commissioner Tilley left the meeting at 7:23 p.m.

Mr. Boudreau further provided a summary sheet of the impact on staff.

The Board Chair advised the Board to review all the documents which have been received this evening and on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 the Board can decide whether to accept the budget as presented or to provide some recommendations for change.


a. Commissioner Mercer - Elementary Reading Challenge – An elementary reading challenge occurred and Shipyard Elementary placed third in their division and Marion Bridge placed fourth in their division. She wished to commend staff and the students for a job well done.

(7) Adjournment of the meeting. . .

the meeting adjourned at 7:36 p.m.. . .

______________________ ______________________
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