School Board Meeting Minutes: January 10, 2011 - Special
Category : School Board Meeting - Minutes
Published by Michelle MacLeod [Michelle MacLeod] on 02/02/2011

Central Office
Sydney, N.S.
January 10, 2011



A Special Board meeting of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board was called to order today beginning at 5:03 p.m.


Present: Lorne Green,Chair Steve ParsonsDarrell Flynn

Barb Mercer Charlie Keagan Kevin Ruelland
Cathi Pierrard Joan Currie Fred Tilley
Sandra Margettie Jackie OrganDarlene Morrison
Darren MacNeil Darren Googoo
Absent: Gary Fraser
Also Present: Ambrose White, Acting Superintendent
Beth MacIsaac, Director of Human Resource Services
Paul Oldford, Acting Director of Operational Services
George Boudreau, Director of Finiancial Services
Michelle MacLeod, Board Recording Secretary


Mr. Ambrose White, Acting Superintendent noted that on Friday, January 7, 2011 he met with the NSSBA, fellow Superintendents, Board Chairs, Communication Officers and other vested parties with regards to a communication plan and the hiring of firm to develop a strategic communication plan. It is a partnership with all stakeholders to get some good news stories of what is happening in our schools and the positive impact education has had on all students in the province. It is the hope to have information out before the end of January, 2011.

Commissioner Flynn questioned the status of CUPE participating in this process.

Commissioner Tilley entered the meeting at 5:13 p.m.

Mr. George Boudreau, Director of Finance noted that expenditure reduction Scenarios were reviewed by Senior staff. He provided a power point presentation and handouts to those in attendance. An Impact Assessment of Proposed Funding Reduction was provided. Highlights of this noted that the Provincial funding reduction for the next three years is approximately $196,000,000. He noted that the non-NSTU staff will need to be reduced by 22%, reduce all non-salaried discretionary cost centers by 22%, convert text book credit allocation to cash 75% (first year only) reduce NSTU salaried FTEs by 24% and ten school closures over the second and third year. Even with all of these recommendations we would still need to achieve close to $3,000,000 in order to reach our target of $25,000.000.. He stressed that all of this will be difficult to do however with the proposed reduction in funding, the Board will be faced with many difficult decisions if and when the 22% reduction in Education funding is made official.

Mr. White advised that administration is not receiving any confirmation or responses on the reductions from the Department of Education. We are patiently waiting like all other Boards across the province. Consultants, Secondments, mentors will all be eliminated throughout the system. Professional Development will be affected. Programs will all be under review i.e. Skills Trade and O2. Maintenance, cleaning will be reduced in our schools and the mandated work will need to be covered first.

Mr. White advised that a meeting with the Principals will be held to advise them of the seriousness of the situation. This will be followed up with meetings with union representatives over the next three weeks.

Commissioner Keagan was pleased to hear that administration plans to meet with the administrative staff at the schools along with union representatives.

Commissioner Tilley stressed the importance of providing the information to the public as soon as we can.

Commissioner Parsons would like to have scenarios prepared for reductions of lesser amounts such as 15% and 10% in case the government of the day decreases its proposed percentage reductions.

Commissioner Ruelland re-iterated the importance of respecting our employees by advising them of the impact.

Commissioner Googoo expressed his concern with the province not straying from the original announcement of a reduction of 22%.

Commissioner Morrison was disappointed that CUPE was not at the table during the NSSBA session last week. NSGEU and Confidential employees were also left out of the process.

Commissioner Keagan noted that all the unions need to be involved in the fight to save education.

Some of the highlighted areas which the Board would like to provide to the public is the reduction in staff over the past ten years and schools closed. It was highlighted that we can pay now or pay later – literacy results will decrease along with math results; just to name a few areas of concern. Mr. Boudreau noted the decrease in enrollment has also impacted the number of FTE’s in our Board. Discussions took place around the province negotiating salaries and benefit settlements with the unions and then expecting the Boards to pay.

Mrs. Beth MacIsaac, Director of Human Resources advised that our Board will be more directly impacted since we do not have any probationary teachers and we only have full-time teachers.

Board Chair Lorne Green stressed the importance of reaching out to the public as soon as possible and to have the budget implications of the provincially negotiated settlements quantified and disclosed. Cap sizes, outcomes and doing less with more should all be stressed and communicated strongly to our schools and to the public.

Mr. White advised that next Tuesday, January 11, 2011 is the targeted date to meet with school administration and the SAC’s to provide an impact assessment. Mrs. MacIsaac will meet with the union leaders as quickly as possible to advise them so that they are prepared for their provincial meetings.

Mrs. MacIsaac advised that by February we will need to know the reduction in order to prepare for lay-offs and to meet all deadlines.

Senior staff were requested to develop an impact statement which could be distributed to all students in our Board. A press conference will be scheduled to advise the press all at the same time with the same message. Mr. Oldford, Acting Director of Operational Services suggested that the Board place ads not only in the local post but also on the community channels to reach out to everyone.

(4) Adjournment of the meeting. . .

the meeting adjourned at 6:17 p.m.