The trustees have been busy attending graduation ceremonies from across the Board. The events have been fun-filled celebrations of accomplishments, award presentations and other performances. Congratulations to all graduates and best wishes for your next adventure!
KAIROS Blanket Exercise
On Friday June 21, Trustee Bisutti took part in a KAIROS Blanket Exercise held at the Local Community Food Centre. It was a sobering experience of North America’s settlement by Europeans from the Indigenous inhabitant’s point of view.
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise program is a unique, participatory history lesson – developed in collaboration with Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers and educators – that fosters truth, understanding, respect and reconciliation among Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
St Marys DCVI Awarded Gold as an Ontario EcoSchool
Trustee Geddes was proud to announce that St Marys DCVI has been awarded Gold certification by Ontario EcoSchools. Their commitment to environmental learning and action has been demonstrated by Winter Walk Week, A Plant in Every Classroom, Lights Off Lunches, Earth Day action plans, and GOOS paper bins.
Eco Exeter Invites other Grade 9 Students to Join their Movement
Superintendent Black reported that the grade 9 students from South Huron District High School have been seeing great success with their Eco Exeter initiatives. They were recently featured on CTV London and have had been involved in many local activities. In order to continue this momentum, the group has invited all other grade 9 science classes from across the School Board to join them on September 12 to discuss the success of their approach and hopefully expand the initiatives across Huron and Perth counties.
Mitchell District High School’s Eco Squad Encourages Environmental Living
Trustee Geddes also reported that the Eco Squad performed their two act play on June 5 for family and friends. It has been shown all across Huron and Perth counties throughout this school year. The play was written by Cam Oates (MDHS teacher) and is an interactive performance that encourages the audience to spread the worthwhile message of everyone doing their part to live an environmentally friendly life.
Brookside Public School Hosts Living Library Event
Trustee Carmichael reported that Brookside PS hosted their seventh annual Living Library event for approximately 250 grade 6, 7 and 8 students. Participants were able to listen to stories from living “books” of their choosing and then speak to them in small groups. Some of the “books” were about different careers while others talked about life stories. The event was enjoyed by the students, staff and volunteers.
Senior Staff Updates
Superintendent Carter reported that the Board of Trustees of AMDSB received and approved the 2019/2020 Budget at its meeting on Tuesday, June 25th. The operating budget presented includes Operating Revenues and Transfers of Reserves of $208,722,980 and Operating Expenses of the same. The capital budget approved includes Capital Allocations and Spending of $24,562,634. While the operating budget is compliant with the Ministry of Education’s budget compliance rule, the total operating deficit for the 2019/2020 year is expected to be $1,733,814.
Summary of key information related to the 2019/2020 Budget:
- AMDSB is expecting revenue reductions of over $7.1 M for 19/20, $5.67 M of which are grants from the Province of Ontario. Had it not been for the Attrition Protection Funding of $3.67 M, the total grant reductions would have been much deeper.
- AMDSB has staffing level decreases in almost all areas. The total reduction in staff Full Time Equivalency (FTE) for 2019/2020 is 57.10.
- In addition to expenses reductions due to staff FTE changes, we have also cut most expense items in the Board in order to reach a compliant budget. Cuts include: Professional Development, Facilities Minor Maintenance, IT purchases, Travel, meeting expenses and general supplies.
- AMDSB was able to reach a compliant budget for 19/20, with the total use of Operating Reserves of $1.7 M. We are concerned about the sustainability in the coming years, given that we expect deeper funding cuts in 20/21 with the loss of Attrition Funding protection without the ability to cut expenses in an already lean budget.
- As for the impact of this budget on our student population, we can not yet determine the full impact the loss of funding for our small, rural schools in terms of loss of supports to staff and reduced student choices in our secondary schools. We are committed to providing the best quality of education that we can, given these times of fiscal restraint.
Stratford Public School Renovation Project
Trustee Sygrove and Superintendent Baird-Jackson announced that construction began at Stratford Central on Monday June 24. Fencing has been installed to secure the site, type 3 setup has been installed at the front entrance for asbestos abatement and the time capsule has been relocated. Demolition equipment will be onsite Friday to begin next week. Salvage inside the school starts next week with exterior demolition starting the end of next week.
A newsletter will be sent to staff and families on June 27 with details for students affected by this transition. Another newsletter will be sent at the end of August.
For those who did not attend the meeting on May 1, this photo depicts the facade of the renovated building.
Chair Activity Update
Chair Schenk attended a variety of meetings throughout the month of June, and engaged in a variety of discussions on many different topics.
The following Tenders have been awarded:
- Mechanical Upgrades at Listowel District SS
- Civil Upgrades at Shakespeare Public School
- Electrical Alterations at Central Perth Elementary School
- Approval of Contemplated Change Order: Accessible and Gender Neutral Washrooms at Stratford Northwestern SS
Future Board Meetings
(at Education Centre unless otherwise noted)
- September 10, 2019 – 7:30 p.m.
Future Meetings/Events with Trustee Representation
(at Education Centre unless otherwise noted)
- Special Education Advisory Committee – September 11, 2019 – 4:00 p.m.
- Parent Involvement Committee – October 2, 2019 – 5:30 p.m.