School Board Meeting Minutes: February 26, 2013 - Special
Category : School Board Meeting - Minutes
Published by Michelle MacLeod [Michelle MacLeod] on 03/26/2013

Central Office
Sydney, N.S.
February 26, 2013



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


Present: Lorne Green, ChairJoan CurrieJack Toomey
Jackie OrganStewart MathesonJoyce Lind
Steve ParsonsJohn Berk
Sandra MargettieKevin Ruelland
Darrell FlynnYvonne KennedyFred Tilley

Absent:Barb Mercer(sent regrets)Gary Fraser(sent regrets)Fred Tilley
Darren GoogooSandra MargettieKevin Ruelland
Also Present:Ambrose White, Superintendent
Beth MacIsaac, Director of Human Resources
George Boudreau, Director of Financial Services
Susan Kelley, Director of Programs and Student Services
Paul Oldford, Director of Operational Services
Lewis MacDonald, Coordinator of Facilities Management
Michelle MacLeod, Board Recording Secretary


a. Commissioner Parsons – NSSBA Structure Review
b. Director of Operational Services, Mr. Paul Oldford - School Review
c. Commissioner Flynn - NSTU Staffing

(4) “Looking Inward” (Follow-up Presentation, Paul Oldford)

Mr. Paul Oldford, Director of Operational Services provided a review of the meeting which was held last week.

He noted that staff has worked on a revised communication plan as advised by the Board. He also noted that a Special Committee of the Board will work on this plan as part of the communication strategy.

Discussion ensued with regards to introducing “Looking Inward” to the principals.

He further noted that we need to develop a communication strategy designed to build trust with stakeholders, educate stakeholders around the complex issues, and receive feedback.

Concurrently to the consultative process, the board will need to consider if it wishes to begin any school reviews in 2013-2014 by mid March to meet with regulatory requirement for publishing Identification Reports.

Commissioner Tilley entered the meeting at 5:36 p.m.

Discussions ensued regarding concerns surrounding our procurement policy. Mr. George Boudreau, Director of Financial Services provided clarification regarding the issue.

On the question lengthy discussions regarding communication strategy and further delivery of the document occurred.

It was noted by several Board members that the task of delivering the message will be a challenge however it is vital that the correct message is delivered.

Moved by Commissioner Matheson
Seconded by Commissioner Lind

That the Board approve the recommendation received from senior staff to hire a communication specialist to assist and enhance the delivery of the “Looking Inward” document. . .

Motion carried

Commissioner Parsons voted against the motion

It was noted that the Looking Inward document contains the following sections; an introduction, identifying needs, Seven families of schools, eleven appendices and a go-forward plan.

It provides an insight into student population comparisons. It further identifies the number of school buildings. It was noted that the enrollment decline provided is a conservative assessment. Discussions ensued over the seriousness of this decline throughout the years.

Planning strategy is under development which outlines the issues, provides background around the policies, guidelines, and directions influencing the decisions necessary over the next few years and beyond.

Revisions to the methods used by boards to request funding for large capital projects like school additions and alterations and new schools will need to be revised. We now are provided this opportunity annually. This enables us to develop a capital plan to support facility renewal and consolidation.

A communication strategy will be developed to provide information to stakeholders. We wish to ensure clear and accurate information is provided around complex issues.

Budget planning, school review and capital planning were issues noted which need to be addressed.

All Board members should be respectful and supportive of the decisions made. While Board members may not all agree with decisions of the Board they should be united on the final outcome.

On the question the Board were provided clarification with regards to school review and the identification of schools which will be part of the process.

A consensus was reached to provide the principals with some insight regarding the document.

Commissioner Parsons, Mercer, Green, Matheson, Kennedy and Tilley all agreed to sit on a sub-committee.

Commissioner Flynn left the meeting at 7:00 p.m.

(5) New Business:

a. Commissioner Parsons – NSSBA Structure Review – Commissioner Parsons asked the Board to review the nine recommendations which were distributed to be discussed at a later date.

b. Director of Operational Services, Mr. Paul Oldford - School Review – Mr. Oldford provided a list of potential school reviews for 2013 up to and including 2016. (attached to the original minutes) He noted that scenarios may change over the years along with the list itself. Comments regarding reconfiguration do not require a school review. However; he suggested that public consultation should occur.

It was noted that on Tuesday, March 4, 2013 a meeting is scheduled to take place to discuss the issue in further depth.

Commissioner Tilley noted that it is an emotional issue which requires a strong understanding of the serious issues our Board is about to face. He identified strong understanding of communities and decisions need to be rock solid. He further spoke of guiding principles that the Board need to develop and keep in mind.

Commissioner Kennedy noted that we need to send a strong message that our goal and main focus is what is for the betterment of the students.

Mr. Lewis MacDonald, Coordinator of Facilities Management, identified the seven criteria’s which the Department of Education use for addressing capital projects. He noted the reports are due the end of April. He reiterated that many factors are considered. He also noted that the Board needs to provide a rationale for each of their projects.

On the question several board members spoke regarding the betterment of the students.

c. Commissioner Flynn - NSTU Staffing – Commissioner Flynn left the meeting before this item could be addressed.

(6) Adjournment of the meeting. . .

the meeting adjourned at 7:18 p.m.. . .