School Board Meeting Minutes: March 24, 2011 - Special
Category : School Board Meeting - Minutes
Published by Michelle MacLeod [Michelle MacLeod] on 04/06/2011


Central Office
Sydney, N.S.
March 24, 2011


SPECIAL BOARD MEETING

(1) CALL TO ORDER:

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

(2) RECORD OF ATTENDANCE:



Present: Lorne Green,Chair Jackie OrganSandra Margettie
Charlie KeaganSteve ParsonsJoan Currie
Cathi PierrardDarren MacNeilGary Fraser
Barb Mercer(conference call)Darrell FlynnDarlene Morrison
Darren Googoo(conference call)Fred Tilley, Vice Chair(conference call)
test
Absent: Kevin Ruelland
test
Also Present:
Ambrose White, Superintendent
Beth MacIsaac, Director of Human Resource Services
George Boudreau, Director of Finiancial Services
Paul Oldford, Acting Director of Operational Services
Michelle MacLeod, Board Recording Secretary


(3) SCHOOL REVIEW:

Mr. George Boudreau reminded the Board of its limited capacity to accrue savings if it does not put schools under review.

If it’s the Board’s mandate to preserve program delivery to our students, then there is no greater opportunity to accrue savings (while maintaining educational service levels) than by closing schools with excess capacity.

Mr. G. Boudreau stated that in the coming weeks the Board will be asked to make tough decisions on how we solve a $5,000,000 shortfall for 2011/12. He reminded the Board that it will translate into layoffs across all sectors and will impact on service levels. Our hope, however, is that somehow the impact on the students will be minimal.

Commissioner Googoo entered the meeting at 5:09 p.m.

Mr. Boudreau went on to say that this is just the first year of a three year fiscal reduction program. In order for the Board to deal with the fiscal challenges of 2012/13 and 2013/14 (with minimal impact on our students), the Board should have between four to six schools up for review in each of the next two years.

Commissioner Fraser reiterated the process which had occurred on March 21, 2011. He spoke of past reviews which have occurred in the Board and the anxiety created. He requested that George D. Lewis, Marion Bridge and Gowrie be removed from the School Review process.

Beth MacIsaac, Director of Human Resources, addressed the Board. She advised the Board that they had reached the tipping point between maintaining programming and staff positions and keeping buildings open. The choice for the future would be to keep poorly maintained buildings open to the detriment of programming and staff.

Mrs. MacIsaac stated further that in the upcoming budget talks there would be difficult decisions to make in terms of employee layoffs. It would be hard to justify not reviewing schools but laying off employees.

Discussions ensued over the schools which were identified and those that met the criteria.

Commissioner Green left the meeting at 6:45 p.m.

Mr. Paul Oldford, Director of Operational Services spoke with regards to the work which will proceed after the schools are identified. He provided an outline of the mandatory commitment of meetings dates which the Board will have to achieve.

Commissioner Green re-entered the meeting at 6:51 p.m.

Commissioner Mercer questioned the process of the Board voting on a motion for School Review process on the same evening that they are provided the information. Commissioner Parsons supported Commissioner Mercer’s opinion of the process. He would like to see more debate and discussion regarding the issue. He supported protecting the community schools by reconfiguration.

Commissioner Googoo noted that we did not vote to close schools, we voted to review schools with the view of making a decision at a later date. He would like to see the Board set a targeted number of schools to be reviewed and those that we would also like to see reviewed, be placed on a list for the forthcoming year .

Commissioner Keagan noted the students will not lose through this process, they will continue to receive an excellent education in our Board.

Commissioner Flynn supported Commissioner Googoo’s suggestion and noted he supported Senior staff in their recommendations.

Commissioner Fraser would like to see only four schools reviewed at this time.

Commissioner Pierrard expressed her frustration with comments which are being made this evening and the anxiety which it has caused.

Lengthy discussions ensued over the schools which should be identified and the number of schools to review over the 2011-2012 school year.

Commissioner Parsons understands the need for school review but at the same time there needs to be consideration for community schools. He also hoped that in 2012 more schools would be put up for review.



NEW BUSINESS:

Commissioner Green - Holy Angels – Noted that he received phone calls from two prospective buyers for Holy Angels. He advised that they are both negotiating to purchase the building with an exit plan of two years for the Board. There is no confirmation to date, however discussions are presently underway. He noted that there would be no incremental cost to the Board.

Commissioner Morrison expressed concerns over issues being debated and discussed relative to motions that have been passed at a prior meeting.

Mrs. Beth MacIsaac, Director of Human Resources noted that with the Grade Eleven and Twelve students remaining at the Holy Angels site the Board will still have a savings of approximately ten teachers.

Mr. George Boudreau advised that the Board will need to have further discussions with the potential buyer and discussions with the Department of Education to ensure that the committed funds by the Department will remain in place. He also advised that the Board have all discussions with their legal counsel present.

Board members cautioned over building the hopes of students and staff up to let them down all over again if the deal falls through.

On the question, concerns were expressed over any costs which the Board would have to endure and the anxiety that the students and staff would be further going through by extending the process.

Moved by Commissioner Pierrard
Seconded by Commissioner Margettie

That the Board request the Board Chair, staff and legal counsel to begin discussions with the prospective buyer regarding a possible lease agreement. Also to contact the Department of Education regarding funding commitment.

Motion carried
2011-03-14



Commissioner Mercer left the meeting at 6:35 p.m.



(4) Adjournment of the meeting. . .

the meeting adjourned at 6:45 p.m.





__________________________________________________
LORNE GREEN GEORGE BOUDREAU
BOARD CHAIR BOARD SECRETARY