April 2014 Update

Ward 7 Update – April 15th

Please find attached minutes from the April 15th Ward 7 Meeting.

WARD 7 EDUCATION COUNCIL Update April 15 2014

SOME FINANCIAL FACTS April 2014

For the first hour we had an informative and entertaining presentation from Eugene Chao assisted by his colleague, Toby Bowers – both teachers at central commerce who run a credit course in cycling at the school. They were joined by Kristin Schwartz, co-ordinator of the Bike to School Project, a collaborative initiative of CultureLink Settlement Services and other groups, also gave a brief presentation.  Kristin oversees the bike clubs at five schools.  These three dedicated individuals have demonstrated the value and benefits of a cycling club or program in school.

Howard Cycling Club? All we would need is a parent and teacher interested in developing or coordinating a bike program or event. Let us know if anyone would be willing to lead such an endeavour.

M.P.P. Cheri DiNovo provided an overview of the Ministry of Education regulation 274 and provided attendees the opportunity to ask questions.

During the Trustee information update, Irene noted a pending change to policy for September which has caused controversy. The policy requires all school volunteers be fingerprinted and have current police record checks. We will be following the progress of this proposed change as it requires police checks for all parents volunteering and attending field trips. Several parents at the meeting spoke out about the challenges the policy will create, e.g. parents assisting children with special needs.

Krista Wylie, of Runnymede PS, and myself outlined  what we have been doing to build awareness of the Board’s Capital Crisis and repealing or negotiating revisions to Bill 274, as well as preparing questions for the upcoming all candidates meeting.  We now have a “Working Group” of parents from all schools in Ward 7 willing to be more involved in tackling some of these significant issues. If anyone is interested in joining this group please let us know. The second attachment provides some additional information on 1) the cost of All Day Kindergarten and 2) the capital / maintenance plan and backlog for our Ward. Howard is listed as having a backlog of over $ 4 million dollars and the entire Ward has almost $74 million in required maintenance and renewal projects on the books. We need our Board to lay out clear, realistic, and fact-based plans for better maintenance and renewal. As a group we will be attempting to keep the pressure on the Board and the Province to determine resolution to this situation and the unacceptable state of many of our aging schools. The last Ward 7 blog post outlined the issues of the Board’s Capital crisis in further detail.

With the Provincial Budget being tabled this week, and in anticipation of an election, this Ward 7 Working Group will be drafting questions pertinent to education (including the issues above) that can be asked of all candidates. Please note if an election is called, Irene Atkinson will host an All Candidates Meeting at Bishop Morocco school.  We will forward to all parents the information for this meeting if and when it is scheduled.

Article on Reg 274 – CTV News April 29