February 2015 Minutes

DPAC 23-02-2015 General Meeting Minutes

D.P.A.C. MEETING NOTES

Burnaby Central Secondary School
6011 Deer Lake Parkway
Burnaby, B.C.
DATE: February 23, 2015
TIME: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Schools Attending:

Brentwood North:  Alpha, Gilmore, Burnaby North, Aubrey, Capitol Hill, Montecito, Westridge
Cariboo Lougheed:  Burnaby Mountain, Cameron, Lyndhurst, Stoney Creek, University Highlands, Cariboo Hill, Armstrong
Central West:  Burnaby Central, Brantford, Douglas Road, Gilpin, Lakeview, Moscrop, Cascade Heights, Chaffey-Burke, Inman, Marlborough
Kingsway South:  Burnaby South, Maywood

District Staff:

Gina Niccoli-Moen – Superintendent; Wanda Mitchell – Assistant Superintendent; Heather Hart – Assistant Superintendent; Roberto Bombelli – Assistant Superintendent; Greg Frank – Secretary Treasurer; Roy Uyeno – Assistant Secretary Treasurer

Board of Education Trustees and their zones:
Ron Burton, Chair (Brentwood North); Harman Pandher, Vice-Chair (Central West); Katrina Chen (Central West); Meiling Chia (Kingsway South); Larry Hayes (Cariboo Lougheed); Baljinder Narang (Kingsway South)

Regrets: Gary Wong (Brentwood North)

DPAC Executive:
Jen Mezei, Chair (Cariboo Lougheed); Dave Dye, Member at Large (Cariboo Lougheed); Herman Louie, Treasurer (Central West); Kristin Schnider, Secretary (Cariboo Lougheed); Jocelyn Schonekess, Vice Chair (Brentwood North)

Regrets: Victoria Brenden, Member at Large (Brentwood North)

1. Welcome and Introductions

Before calling the meeting to session, two door prize draws were made.

The Chair called the meeting to order at 7:03 PM and welcomed everyone. Jen then introduced the District Staff, Board of Education Trustees and DPAC Executive members in attendance.

2. District Update – Chair Ron Burton and Superintendent Gina Niccoli-Moen

Board Chair Ron Burton began by reconfirming’s the Board’s mission statement: to prepare and support an inclusive, caring community of learners for the challenges of a changing tomorrow. Chair Burton went on
to say that the Board’s focus also remains the same with their focus on student achievement and quality in programming. The Board will continue to move the School District forward and meet the growing and
changing needs of our learners, enhance programming choices, and maintain a balanced budget. This aim is not easy, especially in light of the provincial budget announcement regarding administrative spending. Chair Burton then explained that the Burnaby School District already spends the lowest proportion of its budget on administrative costs relative to other districts in the province. This raises a concern for the Board if it will be penalized financially for having already taken progressive steps to reduce the District’s administrative spending prior to the Provincial Government’s call for a $29 million reduction in administrative spending.

Chair Burton then spoke on the development of a communications plan that they will be working on with DPAC, which will further enhance the Board’s commitment to communication and find ways to better communicate with parents. The Board values the relationship it has with parents and its other partner groups and will continue to seek their insight and feedback going forward.

Chair Burton the addressed the recent staffing change with respect to the Superintendent position. He acknowledged that it was a sudden change for the school community and for the Board. Nonetheless, the Board is quite excited to have Gina Niccoli-Moen move into the position, and it has been a seamless transition. Chair Burton then noted that the new administrative team is likely the strongest team the School District has ever had.

Chair Burton then handed to floor over to Superintendent Niccoli-Moen to provide a brief overview of where the School District is going in terms of its vision. Superintendent Niccoli-Moen showed a brief video, which exemplified the District’s aim to provide opportunities for all students in Burnaby. The key pillars for this goal are engagement, innovation, building capacity and succession, communication and sustainability.

Following the video, Superintendent Niccoli-Moen spoke about her personal background in Burnaby as a student, an educator, an administrator, and as a parent.

Superintendent Niccoli-Moen concluded by commenting that the District’s focus needs to be on our children’s passion: what sings to them. As parents and educators, we’re the ones who should be listening and creating the conditions for their success.

3. Preliminary Budget Summary

Jen started by explaining that this year’s budget process will be a bit different. This year, Greg and Roy will be giving a summary or what the current budget is and things to consider. DPAC representatives would then provide a list of their school priorities and district priorities. The information and parent feedback gathered at this DPAC general meeting will then be used going forward in the budget process.

Jen then introduced Greg Frank and Roy Uyeno, who provided a budget overview (presentation attached).

Greg Frank first reviewed the budget process timelines for the current fiscal year and explained the Ministry of Education’s December announcement regarding the 2014/2015 amended operating grant. He further explained that for the upcoming 2015/2016 budget year, the following timeline will be followed:

  • March 4, 2015 – First Partner Group Meeting
  • March 13, 2015 – Ministry announcement of 2015-2016 preliminary operating grant
  • April 9, 2015 – Second Partner Group Meeting
  • April 9, 2015 – Public Budget Meeting
  • April 21, 2015 – Third Partner Group Meeting – input on priorities
  • April 28, 2015 – Board approval of the 2015/2016 Preliminary Annual Budget

In his review of the 2014/2015 budget, Greg Frank explained that this year was unusual due to a variety of impacts, including:

  • Job action, which caused a decline in FTE enrolments and the cancellation of the summer session (at a combined loss of $3.5M)
  • A decline in adult enrolment and distributed learning (at a combined loss of $675,000)
  • September strike Savings claw back (at a cost of $7.6M)
  • Labour settlement agreement fully funded at an additional cost of $4.35M
  • An increase in international education enrolment (at a gain of $1M)
  • Provincial enrolment holdback funding of $1.8M
  • Utility Savings of $200,000
  • Increase in Learning Improvement Funds (LIF) and changes in allowable expenditures

As result of these impact the net projected shortfall for the 2014/2015 budget is $783,000, which will be offset by the prior year surplus.

Looking forward to the 2015/2016 budget process, Greg Frank commented that the School District is encouraging partner group participation, and they will be utilizing the School District website and news bulletins to share information. He added that there will be advanced discussions regarding possible program efficiencies (e.g. library and music).

Greg Frank then went on to explain the issues and assumptions that will be used to develop the 2015/2016 preliminary budget, which include:

  • School age enrolment is projected to decline another 114 FTE (largely at the secondary level).
  • Adult enrolment is also expected to decline approximately 43 FTE due to changes Ministry changes regarding funding.
  • Provincial education funding will be flat: while the Provincial Government announced a $35M increase to fund the new collective agreements, they also announced a $29M funding reduction for administrative savings. The anticipated share of the reduction for Burnaby is $1.2M.
  • Increased provincial costs for the Next Generation Network (PLNet) at an estimated cost of $20M; however, no additional provincial funding has been announced for this. The estimated cost share for Burnaby will be $800,000.
  • The provincial changes to LIF equate to a loss of funding for 17 FTE Education Assistants. If the District is to retain these positions, the budget will have to assume a cost of $750,000.
  • Modest growth projected in the International Education Program, generating an additional $425,000
  • Anticipating teacher salary increments of $650,000
  • Exempt (non-union) staff have not had a salary increase for 5.5 years as there was a freeze on funding. Given that they are long overdue, it’s expected that exempt staff compensation costs will increase going forward.
  • Inflation costs for benefits, services and supplies
  • Increased utility costs

With regard to the $29M reduction in administrative savings, Greg Frank commented that it is not yet clear where the Burnaby School District needs to target these administrative savings, especially given the fact that a number of efficiencies have already been identified and actioned by the District in previous years. That information will likely come with the Province’s full budget announcement.

A parent then asked if the School District was considering closing and/or consolidating schools for cost efficiencies. Greg Frank answered that based on current projections the District will need our current schools and properties going forward. Nonetheless, we will continue to look at all options.

After further discussion, Herman Louie asked at what point the District’s surplus will run out. Greg Frank answered that he anticipates that Board will have to dedicate the entire surplus balance to the 2015-2016
school year budget.

Another parent then asked how the surplus was created. Greg Frank answered that part of the surplus was generated from the holdback funding that the government released to the District after budgets were already set and being carried out with funds that had been set aside by the Board.

A parent then asked about the density growth expected in the Brentwood area, querying what the District’s plan was in this regard and whether or not the School District had any projected enrolment numbers for that area. Greg Frank answered that the School District has been looking through a variety of statistics. Dave Dye then asked if there was a projected need for an additional school site in the area. Greg Frank answered that Brentwood is already at capacity. Therefore the School District has already identified a new school site south of Lougheed in the Still Creek area, and has submitted a capital plan request to the Ministry of Education for funding.

A parent asked if there had been a significant drop in Burnaby’s total enrolment. Have the numbers been consistent across other Metro Vancouver school districts? Greg Frank answered that student enrolment
numbers in Burnaby have been very stable for a number of year; however, this has not necessarily been constituent across other districts. Further discussion ensued.

4. Budget Priorities for PACs and Parents – Table Top Activity

The DPAC reps participated in a tabletop activity wherein they were tasked with identifying areas (both in the school and at the district level) that the School District could look at for cost savings and what aspects and/or programs are working well.

Following the activity, Board Chair Burton was some comments to parents. He asserted that what’s frustrating about this whole process is that the Provincial Government has said that it will fully fund the new collective agreements found with the BCTF and other staff unions; however, after committing to that they will be taking $29 million out of education through administrative cuts that all school districts are tasked with finding. Chair Burton added that what complicates matters further is that Burnaby’s principals, vice principals and exempt staff are overdue for a salary increase. Denying one could risk retention issues. As a result the Burnaby Board of Education and other school district boards have decided to start lobbying
the Provincial Government for education funding.

Trustee Narang added that this past Friday and Saturday she attended the Provincial Council of the BCSTA along with 80 to 90 other school district trustees. During the meeting, the trustees received a presentation from a Deputy Minister from the Ministry of Education. Those in attendance were very passionate and very upset about the current situation and the announcement regarding the administrative cuts.

During the meeting, three motions passed on the following:

1.  The BCSTA request (a) that each board of education develop a rationale for immediate increase in funding for support for educational programs at their respective school districts, (b) that boards ask to meet with their local MLAs prior to the end of March 2015, and (c) that each board and/or branch association present their request for increased funding to their local MLA and Ministry of Education during those meetings;

2.  The BCSTA Board of Directors discuss the Memorandum of Understanding and the Ministry of Education, and review possible areas of concern regarding recent provincial budget processes, communications, content and impact;

Trustee Narang clarified that the second resolution speaks to the fact that although fiscal responsibility exists at local level, they really have no authority. If we truly want to work for the betterment of education,
then there must be a better communication with the government before – and not after – budgetary announcements.

3.  The BCSTA arrange a meeting as soon as possible with the Board of Directors, BCSTA members, Board Chairs, Branch Presidents, the Minister of Finance as well as the Minister of Education.

What’s most important about the third motion is that School Districts really need to meet with the Minister of Finance to discuss education budgets and the impacts the direct cuts will have on local school districts.

Trustee Pandher further clarified that the Provincial Government is not only asking B.C. public school districts to find the $29 million in administrative savings next year; an additional $25 million in administrative savings must also be found in the province’s 2016-2017 school year budgets.

Talk then turned to what the Burnaby DPAC and Burnaby parents can do to advocate for additional public school funding. Potential motions were then discussed, and the following motion was then agreed upon:

Motion: The Burnaby DPAC will take a position against the education funding cuts by Provincial Government of British Columbia.

Moved: Reese Jorgenson; Seconded: Jocelyn Schonekess, Alpha Secondary School

Carried

After some further discussion a second motion was made:

Motion: The Burnaby DPAC asserts that School Districts should not be penalized by provincial funding cuts to education if they have already found savings in administrative efficiencies.

Moved: Dave Dye, Lyndhurst Elementary; Seconded: Bill Brassington, Gilmour Community School

Carried

Jocelyn Schonekess then raised a concern that the upcoming spring break may prevent PACs from providing proper feedback to DPAC on the budget; many PACs do not hold meetings in March because of the two-week break. Jen suggested that the March General meeting be postponed until early April to allow for a more full discussion with PACs and so their feedback can be brought back to DPAC. Another motion was then made regarding the scheduling of the next DPAC general meeting:

Motion: The Burnaby DPAC will amend its meeting schedule and hold one general meeting in early April in lieu of the scheduled March and April meeting dates to allow for PAC and/or school feedback on the 2015-2016 School District operating budget.

Moved: Janice Beecroft, Armstrong Elementary; Seconded: Ellen, Chaffey-Burke Elementary

Carried

With the motion to adjust the meeting schedule, Jen reminded the DPAP reps about the upcoming, scheduled PIE dates that are in addition to the general meeting dates: March 25, April 22 and May 27 as well as the PAC Chair event on June 3.

5. Committee Reports

Youth Community Services
Byrne Creek Community School will be celebrating its official “opening” as a community school on Wednesday, March 4 from 4 PM to 6 PM. The celebration will include a school tour, dance performance, official “unveiling” and cake cutting.

The Ministry of Education is drafting Emergency Management Guidelines, which will soon be finalized and shared provincially. Representatives from BCCPAC and School Districts have been engaged in this process to provide feedback.

6. New Business/Q & A

Accountability Framework – Jen Mezei asked Superintendent Niccoli-Moen when the Ministry’s accountability framework would be ready for feedback and parent comments. Superintendent Niccoli-Moen advised that she would follow up and advise the DPAC Executive as soon as she had more information.

International Student Admission Requirements – A parent asked what the admission requirements are for international students in the Burnaby School District. Assistant Superintendent Heather Hart answered that the Burnaby School District has students that apply from three different countries, and the School District reviews those applications looking for students with successful track records, good organizational skills, academic performance, etc. In addition, the School District tries to ensure that successful candidates are able to work in an environment away from home.

Assistant Superintendent Hart went on to say that the important piece to notice is that in Burnaby we create a balance of diversity in all schools. All Burnaby students benefit and learn from the rich diversity that international students bring to the school environment.

Student tuition for international students in Burnaby is $13,000 per school year. Assistant Superintendent Hart added that the District’s international students are not in competition with other Burnaby students for resources. In fact, the addition of international students in the Burnaby School District benefits the whole student body because they bring a unique perspective and cultural experience to our school communities. Financially speaking, international students have been a huge benefit to the District in terms of an additional revenue source.

Upcoming PIE – Jocelyn Schonekess reminded parents about the upcoming PIE at Burnaby South Secondary at 7 PM on Tuesday, February 24. The PIE, “Connecting with your Teen: Holding on Through Adolescence,” features registered professional counsellor and parent consultant Colleen Drobot from the Neufeld Institute. Pre-registration is required.

7. Meeting Adjournment

Before adjourning the meeting, the Chair advised that the next DPAC General meeting date/time TBA Further details will follow. Jen then adjourned the meeting at 9:02 PM and thanked all for attending.


 

NOTES FROM THE CHAIR:

  WEBSITE – www.burnabydpac.comemail your events to be published.
  Communication – Email info@burnabydpac.com or chair@burnabydpac.com
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