School Board Meeting Minutes: January 26, 2009 - Special
Category : School Board Meeting - Minutes
Published by Michelle MacLeod [Michelle MacLeod] on 02/25/2009

Malcolm Munroe Jr. High
Sydney, N.S.
January 26, 2009


(1)          CALL TO ORDER:

A Special Board meeting of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School board was called to order today beginning at 5:00 p.m.


Present: Lorne Green, ChairDarren MacNeilGary Fraser
 Joan CurrieDarren GoogooSteve Parsons
 Charlie KeaganBarb MercerCathi Pierrard
 Jackie OrganDarlene MorrisonSandra Margettie
 Kevin RuellandFred Tilley 
Absent: Darryl Flynn  
Also Present: N.E. Davis, Superintendent of Schools

B. MacIsaac, Director of Human Resource Services


J. Astephen, Director of Programs & Student Services


A. White, Director of Operational Services


G. Boudreau, Director of Financial Services


P. Oldford, Coordinator of Facilities Management


Minister of Education, Honourable Minister Judy Streatch


Deputy Minister of Education, Mr. Dennis Cochrane


Janet Fryday Dorey, Executive Assistant


Darryl MacDonald, Director of Facilities Management


Darrell Youden, Executive Director of Corporate Policy


Nancy Watson, Director of Communication


J. Burton, Director of Regional Educational Services


Michelle MacLeod, Board Recording Secretary

(3)       Introduction of the Minister and Deputy Minister of Education:

Honorable Minister of Education Judy Streatch and Deputy Minister Dennis Cochrane were introduced to the Board.  Various members of Department staff were also introduced.  Those present were Darryl MacDonald, Darrell Youden, Nancy Watson

Mr. Davis, Superintendent of Schools provided an overview of the present status of the Board and some of the challenges and concerns which we are facing.

Some areas of concern which were addressed by staff and Board members were the O2 program, Vocational program, BLAC Report, assistance with the deficit which the Board is experiencing, rural schools and the new school for the Glace Bay area. 

Minister Streatch spoke on the importance of the federal budget and the impact it may play on the education system.  She understood that contractual issues exist when decisions are required to be made so the importance of timing is a factor.  She appreciates the challenges which the Board will be facing.

Commissioner Parsons questioned the school closure process and had some concerns with the length of time the whole process entails. 

Mr. George Boudreau, Director of Financial Services questioned the process which will unfold if a budgetary shortfall exists for the 2009-1010 fiscal year.  He recognized the areas of the Board which are already experiencing shortfalls and the importance of decisions regarding funding being receiving in a timely fashion.


Mr. Dennis Cochrane, Deputy Minister of Education spoke with regards of the projects which the Board has provided in order of priority.  He explained the process which is in place and shared some information with the Board.  He also noted that to date, nothing is etched in stone.  He recognized the declining enrolment factor and that presently across this province there are thirty-forty schools which could be closed.  He spoke with regards to capacity in our schools and how we must work towards making the most efficient use of our classroom space.

He spoke with regards to the requested new bus garage which is on the Board’s priority list.  He noted that he understands it is no longer conducive however; when it is placed on the same list as new schools or capital construction projects then it’s priority is lost.  He did recognize however,  the importance of this facility..

He recognized the issues at St. Anne’s School, New Waterford which includes Breton Education Centre, Mount Carmel and St. Agne’s Elementary, Cusack/Cornwallis and the issues which presently exist on the northside in schools such as Seton, Memorial High School and Dr. T.L. Sullivan.  He addressed the issue of roofing concerns which exist in many of our schools.  Mr. Cochrane spoke at length on the issue of renovations at Breton Education Centre and the sustainability of Mount Carmel and St. Agnes School.  Commissioner Ruelland expressed his concern over the highlighted schools in the New Waterford area. 

Commissioner Tilley recognized the renovations which have been done to date on the Northside.  However; he wished to see the gymnasium and the band room at Sydney Mines Jr. High considered during any further renovations on the Northside.  Mr. Cochrane recognized that over $200,000 is available in 2010 for renovations at Sydney Mines Jr. High. 

Commissioner Fraser questioned the status of capital renovations to St. Anne’s School.  Mr. Cochrane  addressed the scenarios which could exist regarding St. Anne’s, Bridgeport and MacDonald elementary.

Commissioner Tilley requested a written overview re: the different scenarios for the Board to meet and discuss further before any decisions or recommendations are made for the department.

The meeting was intervened for the public session and they agreed to continue after this session. (7:00 p.m.)

The meeting reconvened at 7:53

Deputy Minister Cochrane began discussions on the issue of capital renovations for St. Anne’s School.  It was noted that the cost to purchase the Glebe house is an exorbitant amount.  He reviewed the issue of grade reconfiguration in some of the existing schools. Deputy Cochrane reminded the Board of our collective obligation to achieve the most efficient use of our school facilities as possible. 

MacLennan Junior High’s enrollment figures were highlighted and the issue of reconfiguring the students in the Westmount area as well.  Whitney Pier Memorial was noted as needing ventilation, roofing and brick work. 

The bus garage for the Transportation Department was discussed.  The cost for the new bus garage was estimated at 4.5 million.  It was noted that if approval is given by the Department, the Board may have to borrow half the funds required to construct the garage.  Commissioner Parsons recognized the concerns which are presently occurring at this site.  He noted that the students no longer have the ability to park at the local arena and student parking does not exist at the site.  The students are parking on the main road and on the side streets which is a safety issue as well.

Commissioner Morrison advised that since 1991 she has been advocating to have the bus garage removed from this area in order to address the safety concerns. 

Deputy Minister Cochrane noted that the information provided this evening are scenarios for the Board to consider over the next couple of months.  He also stated that these are options which the Board will have to think about in order to make a sound decision which is best for the students and for the Board.

Commissioner Currie left the meeting at 8:10 p.m.

Commissioner Pierrard questioned the funds which are available for Baddeck in the forthcoming years.  It was noted that renovations could begin in April, 2009. 

Commissioner Fraser reiterated comments recently stated by Commissioner Ruelland.  He noted that the community of New Waterford are very traditional but at the same time and very appreciative of anything that may be considered.

Mr. Paul Oldford, Coordinator of Facilities Management wish to see the amount of funds for Sydney Mines Jr. High and Seton be increased in order to further increase major renovations at these sites.    He would also like to see funding allocation for projects which do not make the Capital renovations list increased to address the issues of doors, windows, etc, in some of our schools.

Mr. George Boudreau, Director of Financial Services questioned whether funds could be made available from the infrastructure funds which will be made available after tomorrow’s federal budget.  

Board Chair, Lorne Green thanked Mr. Cochrane and staff for coming down and meeting with our Board.  He also thanked them in advance for providing further documentation for the Board to consider. 

(5)        Adjournment of the meeting. . .

Moved by Commissioner

Seconded by Commissioner

that the meeting adjourn at 8:26p.m.

_________________________                        ______________________

LORNE GREEN                           GEORGE BOUDREAU

BOARD CHAIR                           BOARD SECRETARY