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June 20 Board of Trustees Meeting Highlights

Business over the Summer

The Board of Trustees approved a recommendation from Secretary-Treasurer Rhonda Freeman that the Peace River School Division executive be authorized to carry on business on the Board’s behalf in accordance with policy. The Board of Trustees will not meet in July for a regular meeting, but will meet on August 22, ahead of the next school year.

Locally Developed Courses

The Board of Trustees approved a request for the renewal of four locally developed courses, and the addition of two others. These Alberta Education-aligned courses are developed by school districts across the province and utilized, with permission, by the Peace River School Division. The renewed courses included three courses titled “Holocaust Studies,” and one titled, “Fantasy and Science Fiction Appreciation.” The new courses are two Math 15 courses.

Deputy Superintendent Jeff Thompson explained that locally developed courses, while not heavily subscribed to, provide students with some choice in their schedule to learn about a topic of interest to them and earn credits toward their graduation. Locally developed courses do not replace core course requirements.

Advocacy: Funding Model for Rural Schools

Secretary-Treasurer Rhonda Freeman presented the Board with a document containing comparisons of seven of the nine school divisions that make up Zone 1. The document did not identify any of the school divisions, but did provide numbers from their publicly available 2024-25 budgets. The comparison demonstrated a trend whereby nearly all of the school divisions listed faced similar pressures in their Plant Operations and Maintenance budgets due in part to inflation, carbon tax, increased insurance premiums, utility rates, and the cost of supplies. Most of the divisions listed also noted deficits in their Instructional budgets, which may be attributed to increases in grid costs, and ASEBP premium increases. The combined deficit for the seven of nine Zone 1 school divisions is $8.9 million.

During their discussion of the document, the Board of Trustees agreed that part of their advocacy plan moving into the next school year needed to be on the financial needs of rural school divisions and a desire for Alberta Education to fund rural education and urban education differently.

Policy

The Board of Trustees provided second and third reading of the Anti-Racism Policy, which is now in effect. The trustees also provided first reading to a revision of Policy 19: Welcoming, Caring, Respectful and Safe Learning Environments. The revision includes the removal of an outdated reference and some wording changes to better mirror the Anti-Racism Policy. To view the draft version of the revised policy, click HERE.

Following any discussion on the policies, the board then approved a motion to designate the Anti-Racism Policy as Policy 20 and the Site-Based Decision Making Policy as Policy 21.

Trustee Code of Conduct

The Board of Trustees held an in-camera discussion on the topic of “Trustee Code of Conduct.” Following the in-camera session, the Board made two motions. The first was that Vice-Chair Lacey Buchinski respond to the letter of complaint regarding Trustee #1, by letter of summary according to Policy 4 article 18.6. The second unanimous motion is as follows:

  1. It is held that Trustee Dion made inappropriate comments that amount to Discreditable Conduct directed at an employee in violation of articles 10.1 and 10.2 of Board Policy 4 Trustee Code of Conduct.
  2. That the remedial actions that Trustee Dion must complete include:
    1. issuing an appropriate letter of apology to the employee and copied to all members of the board of the trustees;
    2. that Trustee Dion be required to meet with the employee and the employee’s supervisor to provide an appropriate apology to the employee for the inappropriate comments, with Vice-Chair Buchinski being present as an observer; and
    3. that Vice-Chair Buchinski will be required to issue a report to the members of the board of the trustees regarding the meeting.
  3. With respect to the sanctions this meeting shall be adjourned to the August 15, 2024 board meeting, to receive the report of Vice-Chair Buchinski and then the board of trustees shall vote on the appropriate sanctions.
  4. That Vice-Chair Buchinski is authorized to issue written reasons on behalf of the board of trustees to Trustee Dion.

Organizational Meeting

Following the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees, the Board held part of their annual Organizational Meeting.  During the meeting, the election of Chair and Vice Chair were held for the 2024-2025 school year. Trustee Crystal Owens was re-elected to the position of Chair and Trustee Lacey Buchinski was re-elected to the position of Vice Chair.

Following the elections, the Board approved a motion to table the remainder of the Organizational Meeting to a special organizational meeting of the board on July 2 beginning at 12:30 p.m.



Jun 24, 2024 Board Meeting Highlights Board of Trustees

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