School Board Meeting Minutes: April 4, 2016 - Special
Category : School Board Meeting - Minutes
Published by Michelle MacLeod [Michelle MacLeod] on 05/04/2016

Memorial High
North Sydney, N.S.
April 4, 2016



A Special Board meeting of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board was called to order today beginning at 6:30 p.m.


Present: Lorne Green, Chair Sandra Margettie Steve Parsons
Joan Currie John Berk Barb Mercer
Fred Tilley Jackie Organ Darren Googoo
Joyce LindJack Toomey Stewart Matheson
Gary Fraser Charlotte Shaw Kevin Ruelland
Absent (sent regrets): Yvonne Kennedy
Absent: n/a
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 and Student Services
Lynn Crawford, Coordinator of RCH & Secondary Programs
Lewis MacDonald, Coordinator of Human Resources
Michelle MacLeod, Board Recording Secretary

(3) SOC PRESENTATION: (power-point attached to the original minutes)

Ms. Kate Young and Reverend Nick Phillips conducted the presentation. They provided some background information with regards to the history of the Northside Family of Schools. She reviewed the mandate and were pleased to report that the mandate was achieved.

They reviewed all schools, held three public meetings, developed and received all options. They further noted the weaknesses and strengths of each option.

They reviewed the Unique Consideration.

They noted that the preferred option was number Seven. Memorial High (9-12), Dr. TL Sullivan (6-8), Boularderie (P-5) Jubilee to include St. Joseph, Ferrisview to include Seton when room is available, Bras d’Or to house all LD programs on the Northside and Florence to house Learning Centre from Ferrisview and St. Joseph as well as the Schools Plus program for the Northside.

They concluded their power-point recognizing public meeting and post public meeting input.


Mr. Paul Oldford, Director of Operational Services began with a power-point presentation.

Included in his report were the following highlights:

· Reference Documents
· Hub School Information
· Reference Criteria
· The SOC Report and Recommendations
· Facilities and Capital requirements
· Transportation
· Boundaries
· Finance
· Human Resources
· Programming and Student Services
· Timeline
· An Appendix section


Boularderie Elementary – n/a

Bras d’Or Elementary – n/a

Dr. TL Sullivan – n/a

Ferrisview Elementary:

a. Ms. Mary Sampson, member of the SOC representing Ferrisview elementary. She noted she voted against Option 7. She voted representing the community. She also noted that she has a petition this evening. She further noted that she is a parent and has concerns for class sizes in a larger school at the middle school level.

b. Mr. Clayton Smith – He talked about the money spent on Sydney Mines Middle School over the years. He provided history of Florence Elementary and the work required at this school. He was perplexed in understanding why Florence elementary would remain open. He too expressed concern over class sizes at the Middle School level. He would like to see two middle schools and one school P-8. He expressed concern about security at schools and green spaces required. He further discussed capital funds and future projects.

c. Ms. Marie Forrest, voting member of the SOC is against option seven and is in favor of a new school.

d. Ms. Peggy MacDonald, parent of two students within our Board. She noted her personal reasons against option seven. She spoke of the 2000 and Beyond Report and her participation on this committee. She spoke of bullying in the schools. She expressed her frustration with moving LD students from Ferrisview and moving them to Florence Elementary. She did not wish to see students leaving their communities. She spoke of the cost of lunches for students who will no longer be able to go home. Also expressed concern about participating in extra-curricular activities.

e. Ms Cindy Smith – she does not support Option seven.

f. Ms Mary Sampson – She does not feel it is unreasonable to ask for two middle schools.

Florence Elementary: n/a

Jubilee Elementary: n/a

Memorial High: n/a

Saint Joseph Elementary: n/a

Seton Elementary:

a. Mr. Jamie Orr noted he does not support Option Seven but is the creator of Option Six. He understands that we are going to lose schools and we need to do the best we can. He reiterated that a second middle school is required.

Sydney Mines Middle School: n/a

Thompson Middle School: n/a

Carla Carmichael spoke of her children who have gone through the schools system. She noted the remote chances of funds from the province for capital projects and a new school. She noted that the community fought for funding for the Emera Centre and had some disappointments throughout their struggles. She too supported two middle schools.

She recognized the work of the SOC committee. She also noted that there is no easy solution but asked for the best opportunity for the students of the Northside.


Commissioner Tilley congratulated the SOC and noted he understands where they are coming from. He doesn’t believe Option seven is the best option. He recognized the work done by past community members and board members for students to remain in their communities. He recognized declining enrollment in our Board. He noted it isn’t about equity amongst the Northside school however it should be about equity within our Board.

He further noted that requests for a new school was sent in 2014 for the Northside and to date no response. He is fearful of the optics of moving all the students into one school and then requesting a new school. He spoke of protecting our students.

He further expressed his disappointment with the number of community members who attended.

Commissioner Toomey thanked the SOC for all their work. He noted after today the Board will be deliberating to review all the information received. He noted that there is deep division in all areas of the Board. He identified past schools that have closed and noted that the status quo cannot remain. He too supported a second middle school.

He spoke of the traffic congestion in the morning when the ferry lands at Marine Atlantic.

He identified declining enrollment, decrease in teaching positions and non-teaching positions. He also noted we need to generate cost efficiencies and we need to be strategic and effective.

Commissioner Matheson advised that the Board will be meeting to deliberate and have gone out and listened to all communities. He further noted their concerns and the safety of their children is important to the Board.


Board Chair Lorne Green noted that difficult decisions have to be made by the Board. He noted without making these decisions the Board will be forced to review programs in our schools with the possibility of reducing program offerings which is not what the Board wishes to do.

The common goal of all Board members is to provide the best education for all students within the Board.

No decision has been made by the Board and this decision will be made on April 12, 2016

(8) Adjournment of the Special Board Meeting . .

The meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.