SD51 briefs from Oct. 8

Briefs from latest school board meeting feature permission forms and class size limits.

School District 51 (Boundary) has received approval from the BC School Trustee Association (BCSTA) legal department on a revised photo permission slip and that will be sent home for parents to consider signing.Superintendent of schools Kevin Argue said that a form provided by BCSTA that went out at the beginning of the year wasn’t working. Sources at BCSS reported that the original permission form was overly complicated and that less than half of the parents were willing to allow their children’s photos to be used, even for such things as a school yearbook.A report on class sizes revealed that all SD51 kindergarten classes are under the maximum number of 22 students and all Grade 1-3 classes are under their limit of 24.Two classes in the district from Grade 4-12 that are over their threshold of 30: one with 31 at Christina Lake Elementary and one of 33 students at GFSS. SD51 superintendent of schools Kevin Argue reported there are conversations going on as to how they are going to be supported.Student enrollment is down 28 students from the previous school year, which is 17 more than had been projected. The full time equivalent number, which is used by the Education ministry to set funding for the year is down 28.1875 from the 2012-2013 year—13 more than had been projected.The board voted to send a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper calling for work on the First Nations Education Act be slowed down in order to incorporate full consultations with the aboriginal communities. The federal government released a blueprint of its proposed legislation during the summer and the proposed act is expected to be tabled in Parliament. Assembly of First Nations leaders have criticized the Act for failing to address long-standing issues between the government and Canada’s aboriginals and for insufficient consultation.Trustee Vicki Gee reported that the policy committee continues to work on a gender identification and sexual orientation policy. She said they had a long session on Monday, Oct. 7 and have scheduled another meeting for Oct. 21.“We decided to pull in some front-line workers—child and youth workers and councilors to help work through some of the next stages,” said Gee.Several motions that are to be considered at a BCSTA provincial council meeting later this month were considered by the board.Trustee Cathy Riddle, who represents SD51 at provincial council, asked the board for their views. Local trustees will vote in favour of:• requesting the government to lift a freeze on staff compensation for non-union staff, managers and executives;• urgently request the government to fully commit to all costs that result from negotiated settlements in all public education sectors; and• that when BCSTA establishes a committee or task force related to provincial bargaining matters that BCSTA branch members, representatives to the committee or task force be elected by branch members. They voted to oppose an increase in trustee terms from three to four years.

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