SD52 students and teachers had handmade wreaths for sale at the December board meeting. They explained how the greenhouse has been a successful initiative for the high school.

Prince Rupert school board in brief: Dec. 13

Last, Beil voted to lead 2017 board, Board approves budget consultation dates, Conrad heating update, Parents feel they aren't heard

Last, Beil voted to lead 2017 board

Tina Last was voted by the board to the position of Prince Rupert School District’s (SD52) board chair by acclamation for the 12th straight year, and Janet Beil was voted to the position of vice-chair of the board by acclamation as well.

James Horne was nominated the British Columbia School Trustees Association (BCSTA) provincial council member, with Louisa Sanchez as the BCSTA alternate. Terri-Lynne Huddlestone was nominated as the bargaining representative council member for 2017, with Sanchez again as the alternate.

Committee membership and school liaison appointments will be made separately.

Board approves budget consultation dates

The school board approved the 2017 schedule of meetings for the annual budget consultation for the 2017-18 budget. Wednesday, Jan. 25 sees the first meeting take place at Charles Hays Secondary School’s multipurpose room for a ‘World Café’ consultation at 7 p.m.

The board meets with partner groups at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7. The deadline for budget submissions is 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17, with a public meeting set for Tuesday, March 9 for a report on input received and ministry funding.

On Wednesday, March 29 the board has a trustee and administration meeting to prioritize budget requests at 5 p.m. and on the regular board meeting of Tuesday, April 11, the board will meet to approve the budget.

Conrad heating update

The Conrad Elementary School mechanical heating upgrade is 15 per cent completed, wrote Dave Garcia, director of operations at SD52 in an update to the board of trustees, adding that temporary heating arrangements are in the process of being finalized in affected areas of the school. School staff are leaving heaters on overnight to warm the building during the day.

Grades 10-12 curriculum can trial next year

The new curriculum for Grades 10-12 can optionally be trialed next year.

“We will have an extra year to review and provide feedback, and it can be trialed next year, however the official version will be started in the 2018-19 year,” said assistant superintendent Ken Minette at the board meeting.

“What that means is if there was somebody in the district at the Grade 10-12 level that chose to implement the new curriculum while the old curriculum is still running, that is OK.”

Parent council feels they aren’t heard

After meeting with the District Parent Advisory Committee (DPAC), trustee James Horne reported that the DPAC felt that their voices were not being heard by the school board.

Stemming from concerns the committee had with the board’s process of allocating ministry transportation funds last summer, Horne reported that parents felt they weren’t being heard and asked to have a voice at school board meetings.

Trustee Terri-Lynne Huddlestone said at a previous meeting with DPAC, there was an atmosphere of hostility and confrontation that could have been handled better.

“Clearly at that meeting there was a bit of an interrogation and a bit of an attack on our representatives that were there … It was starting to get a little bit heated and a little bit disrespectful in my opinion,” she said.

Board chair Tina Last wasn’t pleased with the DPAC’s position on not being heard, as she said there are many avenues of access to speak with board members, as there always has been.

“I absolutely disagree with that assertion that parents aren’t heard … I’m sorry they feel that way but I think there’s a difference between hearing concerns and agreeing with, and because there’s a concern doesn’t mean that the board is going to do something different necessarily,” Last said.

“I was at that meeting and we were encouraged to attend that meeting because they wanted to talk to us about our process of allocating the money … At no point did they ask the trustees in attendance [about it], so I really don’t know why we were there,” she said, adding that parents can contact trustees through committee meetings, advisory councils, trustee liaisons or writing a letter to the board directly.

“Our board meeting is our opportunity to do the business of the board. We are not inviting teachers to come and give us a report, we are not inviting support staff … We’ve always been quite accessible and responsive, so I’d like us to maintain that and not add more to our agenda,” Last said.

The trustees voted to defeat the motion of giving the DPAC a voice at board meetings.

Air quality station implemented at Pineridge

The Port of Prince Rupert, in coordination with Environment Canada, has implemented an air quality monitoring station at Pineridge Elementary School. The device will test for air quality in the area, and Jason Scherr, manager of environmental sustainability at the port and other monitors are making the data and results collected fully available to teachers for optional use in their classes to enhance their own teaching.