Chair's Updates

Message from the Chair – May 2017

It has been a busy couple of months for the school district. Our senior staff and finance department have been putting in long hours to help principals finalize budgets with the more complex requirements of the Classroom Enhancement Fund. This fund allows us to implement findings of the Supreme Court decision re teachers' working conditions and return to 2002 collective agreement language, albeit it somewhat translated into 2017 needs in our district. There is a lot of complicated math to say the least, but our students will benefit in the long run.  As a result of these new requirements, we are one month later than usual to have the board do a final review and pass the budget for next year. June's board meeting will see that motion brought forward.

Our district continues to work on energy reduction and savings through efficiency and education. The Board meeting on May 10 brought some good news in that regard.  Students in Grade 7, Division 1 at Roberts Creek Elementary School presented their report, "Freezing Friday Plus," where they outlined research and action on electricity (energy use at school), water use, a student and parent survey about energy and climate change and finally, a Freezing Friday event when the whole school had a lot of fun by turning down the heat three degrees and giving prizes for best warm sweaters and other fun contests.  They learned how much energy could be saved by unplugging a rarely used refrigerator and keeping the school a little cooler, even for a day.  They calculated savings of thousands of dollars that could be possible by more thoughtful energy use.  Well done Roberts Creek Elementary! We hope this Energy Matters project can move to many more schools next year.

Other great news in energy efficiency was presented by Secretary-Treasurer Nicholas Weswick.  We may soon have three of our schools using solar power to support their school heating systems. Langdale Elementary is nearing the stage of selecting a contractor to install a system to supply up to a third of the school's electricity and both Davis Bay Elementary and Pender Harbour Elementary-Secondary are looking at the feasibility of upgrading existing electrical systems to be supported by solar rather than replacing the old heating systems with natural gas.  The good news is, on preliminary examination, it appears solar would be more cost effective in both schools.  Stay tuned for updates on these great innovative projects.

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Message from the Chair - October 2016

Message from the Chair – October 2016

It was a pleasure to have an update at our October 12 Board meeting that our schools are rapidly moving to be models of sustainability.  Many are having "Garbology" days for students to learn how to recycle and reduce waste. In fact, West Sechelt Elementary leads the group in going "garbage free.” That means taking home reusable lunch containers and no garbage creation! Congratulations, students and staff of West Sechelt Elementary School.  What a great way to model the future!

Several schools are also in the final stages of creating community gardens. This has been a goal both for partnerships and enhanced student learning for many years.  Davis Bay Elementary will soon have a greenhouse for gardening, whatever the weather. More evidence of excellent practice in our schools.

An important item for all to review is our draft Long Range Facility Plan (LRFP).  It is now available and was first discussed at the September Operations Committee meeting. The Board hopes to adopt the plan very soon as it will guide our facility decisions for many years. Highlights are the demographic trends showing a shortage of school space in West Sechelt, especially, and some space available in both the Pender Harbour area and Gibsons and surrounding areas.  Our top two priorities for capital upgrades are West Sechelt Elementary School and the Sunshine Building in Sechelt.  In applications to the Ministry regarding capital replacement or upgrading, these two facilities will be our focus.  The LRFP is available on our website.  We urge the community to read it and let us know your thoughts.

 

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