Board Highlights December, 2019

Board Highlights December, 2019

Board approves 2019-2022 Education Plan and 2018-2019 Education Results Report
During the regular board meeting held on December 19, 2019, the board of trustees approved the Peace River School Division (PRSD) 2019-2022 Three Year Education Plan (3YEP) and Annual Education Results Report (AERR). The 3YEP/AERR reflects the division’s growth over the past year and outlines goals and strategies moving forward.   2018-2019 Annual Education Results Report -  PRSD is thrilled to share that PRSD’s results have improved in three measures on the Accountability Pillar Report (APR) over last years’ results. The division also exceeds provincial averages in five measures, and PRSD’s First Nations Metis and Inuit results exceed provincial averages in two measures. The APR is provided by Alberta Education and serves as a “report card” for the division.  It contains information compiled through student progress data, test results and student, parent and staff surveys. Three Year Education Plan -  The report also provides detailed goals, strategies and initiatives for the next three years and throughout the plan, PRSD’s commitment to foster inclusive learning environments and ensure all students experience success is supported through the Collaborative Response Model.   “The Collaborative Response Model is rooted in the foundation of collaboration among staff, data-informed decisions, frequent and formative assessment practices, and timely intervention to ensure students are experiencing their full potential,” says Kuester. View official media release here.


Trustees approve 2018-2019 Audited Financial Statements and 2019-2020 Fall Update Budget
Rhonda Freeman, Secretary-Treasurer, presented a budget update for the current year. Financial results of the 2018-2019 audit conducted by Meyers Norris Penny (MNP) Chartered Accountants showed a surplus of $173,317, an operating reserve balance of $6,122,932.00, and a capital reserve balance of $3,259,034.00. Operating reserves are used by the division to provide sufficient cash resources to operate and allow for contingencies ensuring minimal disruption to student learning. Capital reserves are targeted for significant assets such as school buses and repairs, along with maintenance to non-school buildings.  As for the 2019-2020 Fall Update budget, an overall operating deficit of $2,121,439.00 is projected for the current school year. The Spring Budget planned for a deficit of $922,702.00. This, coupled with the reduction in funding from the 2019 provincial budget announced on October 24, 2019, and the 274% increase in insurance costs, brings us to the projected deficit of $2,121,439.00.  The Board of Trustees is committed to finishing the 2019-2020 school year maintaining staffing levels in schools. Some efficiencies have been found in staffing at Central Operations through attrition. The 2019-2020 deficit will be funded through excess operating reserves.  The board approved the audited financial statements at a special meeting of the Board of Trustees on December 2, 2019, and commended the audit committee along with central office staff for their work with  MNP Chartered Accountants during the annual audit.


Ward 1 Trustee By-Election
The Peace River School Division (PRSD) Board of Trustees will hold a By-Election to fill the vacancy of Ward one trustee. The Ward one trustee represents the communities of Nampa, Peace River and Red Earth Creek. Nomination day is set for February 12, 2020.  “School trustees represent students, parents, staff and community members and are a link for school communities to connect and inform the board,” says Darren Kuester, PRSD Board Chair. “It is very important that all our communities are represented,” Kuester adds that being a school trustee is a rewarding and flexible role. “School trustees connect with the community, are involved in educational planning, decision making, budgeting and school improvement  at a local and divisional level. At the zone and provincial level, trustees have opportunities to contribute to educational decisions through various organizations and government consultations. View the official media release here.


Board approves Trustee Tours for 2019-2020
The Board approved that school trustee tours be scheduled at Springfield Elementary, Peace River High School, Fairview High School, Worsley Central School, Dixonville School, and Hines Creek Composite School during the 2019-2020 school year, with the focus being Wraparound Services. During the school tours, trustees enjoy interactions with and presentations from students. They also take part in focused meetings with school administration and meet with staff. “School tours are very important to the board,” says Kuester. “It allows for focused conversations between students, staff and the board, and we have an in-person snapshot of what makes each of our schools unique. Kuester also extends the boards’ appreciation to schools for the time and planning put into school trustee tours.


Fairview Economic Development Presentation
Daryl Greenhill, CAO for the Town of Fairview, provided the Board of Trustees with a presentation on behalf of the Fairview Economic Development Committee.  “We are working on creating a community people want to move to,” he stated.  Daryl explained the committee is working on a promotional video to engage tourism and recruitment in the town of Fairview, along with promoting Grande Prairie Regional College (Fairview Campus). The Fairview Economic Development Committee is also working on a Retail District Enhancement Initiative to improve the business environment in the town.  Board Chair Darren Kuster stated, “Thank you for coming to Grimshaw to give us an update on the Fairview Economic Development Committee,  the Board of Trustees looks forward to seeing the great things that are happening in the Town of Fairview.”


Departmental presentation – PRSD’s Facilities Department
Director of Support Services John Przybylski and Facilities Manager Jon Ruether provided the board with an annual overview of PRSD’s Facilities Department. The Facilities Department provides and coordinates maintenance on all school and support office buildings and land.  The department employs administrative and management staff, summer students and maintenance service staff that include electricians, plumbers, gas fitters, caretaking staff, carpenters and maintenance staff. Renovations at Central Operations in Grimshaw, along with the Menno Simons School addition and modernization, are examples of Capital projects completed this year.  In addition to ongoing and regular maintenance, examples of work slated for the current school year funded through the Infrastructure Maintenance Renewal Program (IMR) include roof upgrades at Hines Creek Composite and TA Norris, mechanical upgrades to Worsley Central School, EE Oliver Elementary School, Fairview High School along with sidewalk, curb and parking surface upgrades throughout the division. Other jobs slated for this school year are: HVAC control upgrades at TA Norris, Hines Creek Composite, Dixonville, Peace High and Springfield Elementary, Special needs washroom/change room installation at TA Norris, ductwork cleaning at EE Oliver, Fairview High, TA Norris and Worsley Central.  Art room renovations for Paul Rowe Jr/Sr High, Peace High heating system upgrades and interior upgrades at Hines Creek Composite are some of the scheduled projects for this school year.


Board passes motion for Transportation Budget plan and Bus Safety Update
Director of Support Services John Przybylski and Transportation Manager David Rushton provided the Board of Trustees with information regarding requirements to maintain bus safety in our division as per the motion at November’s scheduled board meeting.  They provided an update with information pertaining to operational information, shop deficiencies with the Fairview and Peace River locations, along with operational challenges the PRSD Transportation department currently face.  The Board moved that administration be directed to bring back a budget plan for the future of transportation services and consolidation plans.


Update on Insurance Premiums for PRSD
The Board of Trustees made a motion directing administration to send a letter to PRSD’s insurance provider, stating we will be withdrawing from their services.  Insurance premiums have increased by approximately $525,000 in 2019-2020 as a result of the wildfires in the summer of 2019, along with other reasons beyond Peace River School Division’s control.


Merry Christmas from the PRSD Board of Trustees
The PRSD Board of Trustees extends warm wishes to students, parents, staff, and community members for a relaxing, joy-filled holiday with family and friends. Thank you for your support in providing our students with the best educational experiences possible and making our schools the great places they are to learn, grow, work and be. We look forward to working together and sharing in the exciting opportunities of the coming year. Happy Holidays and all the best in 2020.