School Board Meeting Minutes: July 6, 2015 - Special
Category : School Board Meeting - Minutes
Published by Michelle MacLeod [Michelle MacLeod] on 09/29/2015

Central Office
Sydney, N.S.
July 6, 2015



A Special Board meeting of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board was called to order today beginning at 5:04 p.m.


Present: Stewart Matheson, Chair Kevin Ruelland Sandra Margettie
Joan Currie John Berk Yvonne Kennedy
Barb Mercer Gary Fraser Jackie Organ
Joyce LindCharlotte Shaw Jack Toomey
Absent (with regret): Fred Tilley Steve Parsons Lorne Green
Absent: Darren Googoo
Also, Present: Beth MacIsaac, Superintendent
George Boudreau, Director of Financial Services
Wendy King, Director of Human Resource Services
Paul Oldford, Director of Operational Services
Cathy Viva, Acting Director of Programs & Student Services
Karen Casey, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development
Sandra MacKenzie, Deputy Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development
John Astephen, Regional Educational Officer
Michelle MacLeod, Board Recording Secretary


Mr. George Boudreau, Director of Financial Services provided a summary of the proposed budget for 2015-2016 and highlighted previously approved cost cutting measures. Budget discussions ensued.

Moved by Commissioner Ruelland
Seconded by Commissioner Berk

That the Board accept the 2015-2016 budget as presented. . .

Motion carried

Commissioner Mercer voted against the budget.


Ms. Cathy Viva, Director of Programs and Student Services presented the School Board Business plan. She further highlighted the contents of the plan such as the Department/Government priorities, Board Governance structure, the functions of various departments, achievements for 2014-2015, Goals for 2015-16, priorities, performance measures, etc. She noted that the School Board Organization structure and key facts will now have to be completed since the budget is approved.

Moved by Commissioner Margettie
Seconded by Commissioner Fraser

That the Board approve the Board Business plan as presented. . .

Motion carried

(5) By-laws Committee:

Superintendent Beth MacIsaac advised that the Board and staff have been working diligently to amend and update policies throughout the past year. The By-laws now need to be updated. Any Board members who wish to participate on this committee are asked to forward their name to Michelle MacLeod before September.

(6) HR Report:

CUPE Report:

a. CUPE Resignations:

Moved by Commissioner Ruelland
Seconded by Commissioner Margettie

That the Board accept with regret and thanks for years of service the following resignations. . .








Edmoroda MacDonald

Bus Driver/Transportation


June 19/15


Susan MacNeil

LBG/Glace Bay Elem


June 9/15

Motion carried

NSTU Report:

b. NSTU Retirements:

Moved by Commissioner Berk
Seconded by Commissioner Ruelland

That the Board accept with regret and thanks for years of service the following retirements. . .

Employee #





Catherine Walker

Riverview High

June 30, 2015


Firman McCormick

Principal, Bridgeport School

June 30, 2015

Motion carried

c. NSTU Administrative Appointment:

Moved by Commissioner Margettie
Seconded by Commissioner Berk

That the Board approve the following administrative appointment. . .

Employee #


Previous Position

New Position




Marlene Urquhart

Acting Coordinator of Secondary Programs

Coordinator of Human Res Serv.

Pos #: 81013310

August 1, 2015 to July 31, 2016

Motion carried

d. NSTU Administrative Appointment:

Moved by Commissioner Mercer
Seconded by Commissioner Ruelland

That the Board approve the following administrative appointment. . .

Employee #


Previous Position

New Position




Ron Muller

Grade 6

Tompkins Memorial

Principal, St. Agnes Elem Pos #: 81002812

August 1, 2015

Motion carried

e. NSTU One (1) Year Temporary Assignments (For Information Only):

Employee #


Previous Position

New Position




Corin MacKeigan

Grade P/1/2

Donkin/Gowrie Comp

Mathematics Coach P-3 Base: TBA

August 1, 2015 to July 31, 2016



Jillian MacNeil

Grade 5

Harbourside Elem

Mathematics Coach P-3 Base: TBA

August 1, 2015 to July 31, 2016



Kim McCarron



Mathematics Coach 4-12 Base: TBA

August 1, 2015 to July 31, 2016

f. NSTU Extended Temporary Assignment (For Information Only):

Employee #






Barb Nicholson

At Risk Teacher

Adult High School

August 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016

g. NSTU Summer Hires:

Moved by Commissioner Organ
Seconded by Commissioner Berk

That the Board approve the following summer hires. . .

Employee #







Term #: 40057175

Sarah McCormack

Baddeck Academy (Base)

Position #: 81004966


Baddeck Acad (Music P-7, Band 5-8), Middle River (Music P-5, Art 4-5)

Term: Aug 1/15 to July 31/15



Sub #: 40047000

Term #: 40054258

Greg Wilson

Cabot Secondary School

Position #: 81005262


Cabot Secondary School (Music 6-12, Band 6-8, Canadian Hist 11, Sociology 12) Term: Aug 1/15 to July 31/16



Term #: 40058036

Meredith Bingham

Cape Smokey Elem


Position #: 81005322


Cape Smokey Elem (Music P-5, Band 5, Art 4-5, Science P/1/2, Health 2/3), North Highlands Elem (Health 2/3) Term: Aug 1/15 to July 31/16



No Sub or Term #’s

Keith MacDonald

St. Joseph Elementary


Position #: 81007022


St. Joseph Elem (Music P-5), Seton Elem (Music P-5), Thompson Middle School (Music 6-8) TERM: Aug 1/15 to March 23/16


Sub #: 40039837

Term #: 40056744

Aileen Butler

John Bernard Croak


Position #: 81006784


John Bernard Croak (Music P-5, Band 4-5), Donkin/Gowrie Complex (Music P-8, Band 4-8), St. Anne Elem (Band 4-5)

Term: Aug 1/15 to July 31/16



Sub #: NEW

Janet O’Brien

Tompkins Memorial (Base)

Position #: 81007505



Tompkins Memorial (Music P-5, Band 4-5), MacDonald Elem (Music P-5, Band 4-5), St. Agnes Elem (Music P-5)

LTS: Sept 1/15 to Nov 6/15 Term: Nov 9/15 to July 31/16



Sub #: 40027846

Term #: 40057161

Tommy Sheppard

Cabot Secondary School (Base)

Position #: 81005250


Cabot Secondary School, Cape Smokey Elem and North Highlands Elem (Guidance)Term: Aug 1/15 to July 31/16



Sub #: 40028538

Term #: 40038038

Douglas Desveaux

Cape Smokey Elementary (Base)

Position #: 81006710


Cape Smokey Elem (Core French 4-5, Social Studies 4-5, Science 4-5), North Highlands Elem (Core French 4-5, Science 5), Cabot Sec. School (Core French 6-8) Term: Aug 1/15 to July 31/16



Term #: 40057523

Victoria Klimek

Glace Bay Assessment Centre (Base)


School Psychologist

Term: Aug 1/15 to July 31/16



Sub #: 40054955

Term #: 40055291

Stephanie LeBlanc

St. Agnes Elementary (Base)


Educational Assessor

Term: Aug 1/15 to July 31/16



Sub #: 40050132

Term #: 40057736

Kalyn MacLeod

Sydney River Assessment Centre (Base)


Speech-Language Pathologist LTS: Sept 3/15 to Nov 2/15

Term: Nov 3/15 to July 31/16



Sub #: 40037047

Term #: 40027039

Isaac Batten

Cabot Secondary School


Cabot Secondary School (Math 6-8, Science 6-8)

Term: Aug 1/15 to July 31/16



Term #: 40057618

Paula LeBlanc

Dr. T.L. Sullivan Middle School


Schools Plus Facilitator (Social Worker) Term: Aug 1/15 to July 31/16

Motion carried


Moved by Commissioner Margettie
Seconded by Commissioner Organ

That the Board go to an in-camera session. . .

Motion carried

Commissioner Fraser chaired the in-camera session.

Moved by Commissioner Margettie
Seconded by Commissioner Berk

That the Board rise and report. . .

Motion carried

Commissioner Fraser reported that the Board discussed a personnel issue which HR provided a report.

The Ms. Karen Casey, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development along with the Ms. Sandra MacKenzie, Deputy Minister entered the meeting at 6:08 pm

(7) Opening Comments:

Opening comments were provided by Commissioner Matheson, Acting Chair for the meeting. He noted that the Board has met quite often over the past two years. He highlighted our Looking Inward document which the Board takes pride in.

(8) Long Range Outlook – Provincial Linkages:

Superintendent Mrs. Beth MacIsaac began the session highlighting that the Board has an infrastructure problem. She further noted that the Board has made a commitment for change. In January the Board made a significant move to the Middle School model with grade configuration. On August 24th the Board will be holding a public meeting to conduct a School Review. We are seeking a commitment to advocate for the Boards needs to achieve its goals.

Mr. Paul Oldford, Director of Operational Services provided some history of the Board. He highlighted declining enrollment, a decrease in schools by 53 sites since its inception.

An extensive long range outlook was developed through extensive public consultation with the purpose being to provide for school facilities in a time of changing demographics. The long range outlook identifies 13 schools to be considered for permanent closure by consolidating at other existing schools. It also identifies five schools to be considered for permanent closure by consolidating at 2 proposed new schools. It further identifies the capital support necessary to achieve the Long Range Outlook Goals. In total a potential savings ranging from 4.4 to 5.9 million annually could be achieved.

The constraints are also highlighted in the Long Range Outlook i.e. Board Decisions regarding School Reviews, Provincial Government Decisions regarding Capital funding and P3 leases.

Another significant obstacle facing the board is the phasing out of transitional funding whereby this board needs to adjust to 7.2 million less funding over the next three years.

Highlighted in the power-point presentation were the needs to achieve the five year outlook and the impacts of the building rationalization project wrapping together seven projects.

Mr. George Boudreau, Director of Financial Services noted that due to grade level configuration in 2015-2016 we were able to reduce costs significantly in order to achieve savings and therefore contributed in excess of $800,000 towards the transitional recovery.

Deputy Minister Sandra MacKenzie questioned in the area of savings if the Board looked at Transportation. Secondly; where the P3 schools will remain open if the Board compared this to the schools the Board presently owns. Lastly; she noted that the Department is developing a document of what they see at the end of the long range plan.

The Minister Karen Casey recognized the Board for its Long Range Outlook. She noted that we are ahead of other Boards at this time. She noted that the Board can plan for its long range capital needs but somehow Boards and the department need to work together so that they can move through their plans. She recognized that the Board has a real estate problem of having too much real estate for the enrollment which exists. The Board needs to demonstrate how it’s in the best interest of programming for students.

The move to grade configuration is in line with the work which was conducted by Dr. Jim Gunn. Superintendent MacIsaac noted that the Board and staff worked hard and diligently to achieve this. Communication still continues through our website with our school communities. It was highlighted that it was consistent throughout the Board. All sites were treated the same and treated fairly.

Commissioner Ruelland noted we are being very transparent with the school communities and are having open dialogue. He noted that the capital funding to start projects is crucial and we need to start soon or we are delaying where we want to be. He further noted that we have to be open for change and we have to do what is best for the students of our Board. He reiterated that we are ready to move forward and need support from the Department.

Commissioner Margettie spoke how the Board was fair to all schools and dealt with all families of schools equally.

The Minister highlighted working with families of schools rather than particular schools and how it is included in legislation. She spoke of the Hub Model. Staff and Board need to be clear on the guidelines and criteria regarding Hub School proposals. Communities have a responsibility to critique their Hub School proposal. She further highlighted that it has to be at no cost to the Board.

(9) Session – Board Members Comments:

a. Commissioner Berk - Moving all managerial staff, Principals, and Vice principals out of NSTU – He noted that he supports an initiative to remove Principals and Vice Principals from the NSTU and have them included under a separate bargaining unit. He highlighted the issue of bargaining, discipline, etc. The Minister noted that this area was also highlighted through the Education review. She noted as a Minister she cannot change this however it could be a negotiated item. She has shared her concerns with the President of the NSTU and they have agreed to disagree. She even suggested it could be a separate division under the NSTU.

b. Commissioner Berk - Having Principal and VP positions on long term contracts to curb the spring shuffle of positions – He noted that every year we have administrators moving from school to school and extensive time is spent through the process. It was further noted that schools get a principal and after a year, sometimes longer they transfer out and over time a community gets a feeling that no one wants to be there. Discussions ensued.

c. Commissioner Berk - Hub school funding formula not community focused – Requested clarity on what funding would be required in order for a school to be considered as a Hub School. Deputy Minister MacKenzie provided clarification. The guidelines and criteria are not up for debate, they are to guide the community along. It was also recognized that communities should not be given false hope. It takes private sector funding and organizations within a community that are given an opportunity to participate.

d. Commissioner Berk - Schools plus and other like programs; offered firstly to rural schools with excess space. He noted that rural schools have some excess capacity and they should be looked at first. Ms. MacKenzie noted the decision of sites is decided after consultation with the Boards.

e. Commissioner Berk - TCA projects in line with long term plans. Addressed in the presentation. Noted our hands are tied unless we have the funds to do what we need to do.

f. Commissioner Berk - Transition funding spread out over six years instead of three. Noted the goal being three but would like to see it extended. Deputy Minister MacKenzie noted that transition is difficult. She further noted that it is not publicly known how much each Board has/are given up. She noted that we are asking other Boards to subsidize us and to wait six years which would be a big ask of other Boards.

She noted that this has continued for a lengthy time with no plan and the Department identifies that the Board is working towards a plan.

Mr. George Boudreau advised that the Board is presently requesting to initiate this transition over four years rather than three to ease the strain on our Board.

g. Commissioner Kennedy – Hub School Models – She noted that she is reading as much as possible and gathering information with regards to Hub Schools and noted that it is a struggle for rural school communities. She struggled to understand how rural communities would be able to achieve a Hub School.

The Minister identified schools across the province presently receiving services and supports outside of public education. It is a transition plan with no plan to end which was put in place.

The Department have begun the process to provide those Boards that have been identified as receiving insufficient funding through the formula.

h. Commissioner Mercer – Early Literacy – She personally thanked the Minister for her action plan and thanked her for listening to over 3,000 teachers when they stated that there were too many outcomes. Focusing in on Literacy and Math and reinstating Reading Recovery to some degree. She noted that there is a very short window of time for students to learn to read. She further asked if there would be interventions for students who continue to struggle to learn to read.

i. Commissioner Mercer – Class Composition – She spoke of descriptions received from parents/teachers and principals with regards to large classes which may have identified students which are on IPPs, behavioral issues, etc. which should be considered when class sizes are considered. The Minister recognized that the composition is the key and needs to be considered. She further noted that the Department is working towards achieving caps at all levels at the elementary level.

The Minister then spoke with regards to the Math curriculum.

The Deputy Minister encouraged the Board to look at their course offerings at the high school level. Tough decisions need to be made through course offerings ie. classes with 5-6 students in them. It puts a strain on other classes which are offered at the high school level.

j. Commissioner Ruelland – Education Action Plan – He suggested that our students that have graduated should be providing us with a report card evaluating the education they received. A true assessment of how we did and where we can improve.

It is the hope to have 22 of the actions done which is ambitious goal to achieve. A transition task force will be formed with regards to our graduates moving onto post-secondary. Concern was expressed over those students who do not move on to post-secondary.

k. Commissioner Toomey – School Construction – Noted we are hoping to get two new schools. How realistic is this that we will receive funding for these. The Minister noted that there is a capital plan process. She noted it is managed on an annual basis. It is realistic to expect new capital projects each year. She noted that last year they approached the process of completing the projects which the previous government had committed to. She spoke of capital money used to replace leaking roofs, etc.

Superintendent MacIsaac thanked the Minister and Deputy Minister for coming this evening and listening to the Boards concerned. She noted that around the table the Board has been very supportive and an excellent working Board.

Commissioner Toomey reiterated that the Board is grateful for the support it has received in the past and looks forward to receiving the support of the Department in the future.

Minister Casey noted everyone is here because we care about students and the minute we lose that focus we are lost. She appreciated the support from the Board and noted we need to work together as elected officials and share facts and realities and trust one another.

(10) New Business:


(11) Adjournment of the meeting. . .

the meeting adjourned at 8:14 p.m.