Superintendent Report - March, 2013
Category : Superintendent Report
Published by Marjorie Graham [Marjorie Graham] on 03/26/2013

MARCH, 2013

The Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board is facing a 1.5% reduction in funding for 2013-14 fiscal year. This amounts to $2,000,600 plus cost pressures which we estimate at another $2 million for a total of $4 million. Although the reduction was capped at 1.5%, which we appreciate, the challenges of a $4 million reduction after the severe cuts of the past two years will be especially difficult for our Board.

Funding Reductions:
2011-12 $3,374,100
2012-13 $2,860,000
Non-Funded Cost Pressures $3,000,000
TOTAL $9,234,000

We have reduced 113.7 teaching positions through attrition and 105.5 non-teaching positions during the past two years to accommodate these reductions. We also reduced non-salaried cost centres in excess of $850,000.

Our challenge for 2013-14 of approximately $4,000,000 will be to search every budget line to find savings. We are just starting the budget process and will keep our schools and communities updated as we move through the process.

The Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board has identified four schools for review as of April 1, 2013. These four schools are: Mount Carmel Elementary School, St. Agnes Elementary School (F.J. Angot building), Florence Elementary School as well as MacLennan Junior High School. The review of these schools will be undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Education Act Regulations respecting the Public School Review Process. Our Board is also embarking on a planning process which will position the Board to meet the long term educational facility requirements for students served by the CBVRSB. The planning framework for long term facility provision and system sustainability is entitled “Looking Inward.” The reflection associated with this planning and consultative framework will also examine potential grade level configuration as it relates to service provision. The Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board faces a number of challenges with respect to our primary mandate – the delivery of programs and services to students under the jurisdiction of the school board. Among the most significant of these challenges are: declining enrolment, financial (budget restraints), facility refurbishment and/or construction and lastly, significant policy and planning documents. We will move through the “Looking Inward” document with community consultation and, at the end of the day, hopefully provide the best educational programs and services to the students of the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board.

I would like to mention that the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board International Student Program welcomed 29 new students in February 2013, as well as 41 returning students, for a total of 70 for the second semester. These students are attending various secondary schools: Breton Education Centre, Glace Bay High, MacLennan Junior High, Malcolm Munroe Memorial Junior High, Memorial Composite High, Oceanview Education Centre, Riverview Rural High, Sherwood Park Education Centre, Sydney Academy, Sydney Mines Junior High, and Whitney Pier Memorial Junior High. They come to us from 15 countries: Belgium, Brazil, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Thailand, and Turkey. Many of our students had fantastic introductions to winter in Nova Scotia. So far, these students are getting to know their new families, schools, and communities. This experience enriches the lives of both the International Students, as well as, our Canadian students in- and outside of the classroom.

I would like to recognize and congratulate Sydney Academy on the launch of “The 3rd Century Scholarship Endowment Fund.” The purpose of this endowment campaign is to raise 1,000,000 to invest in the Sydney Academy Scholarship Fund. The formal campaign will run one year - from March 2013 to February 2014. Sydney Academy graduates over 200 students each year and intends to provide each graduating student who achieves the honours standard of 80% with a minimum $500 bursary to support their post secondary education. The fundraising components include a $100,000 donation from fundraising chair, Parker Rudderham, an alumni-giving campaign, planned giving campaign, corporate sponsorship, alumni dinner, $50,000 ticket draw and other projects. Partners include: Steel Centre Credit Union, Celtic Financial, and Chairperson, Mr. Parker Rudderham. This is truly a unique and inspiring project, and I wish all the success on this wonderful endeavor and thank Mr. Rudderham for his wonderful donation to Sydney Academy and his leadership on this project.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to direct your attention, and that of the board members and staff, to the comments from our school principals that are placed on individual school websites. These items represent the awards, achievements and successes of our students and staff within the boundaries of the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board. Again, I ask the principals to ensure that these important communications are kept up-to-date.