District 53 school board report

Our board hopes that everyone had a wonderful summer and that you are re-energized for the new school year.

School District No. 53 (Okanagan Similkameen)


Our board hopes that everyone had a wonderful summer and that you are re-energized for the new school year.

We would like to welcome back all of our employees, students and education partners. Our schools report a smooth startup, despite fluctuations in enrollment.

Unfortunately our enrollment is down by 25.125 FTE from September 2012. We are still awaiting final confirmation of numbers by September 30, by which date we have to submit our student numbers to the Ministry. This final enrolment figure will determine our funding for the 2013/2014 school year.

We are very proud of our new SOSS building. We, along with about 550 members of the public, attended the “soft opening” of SOSS on September 19. The formal opening of the school and the Frank Venables Auditorium will be on December 14. We were contacted by the publishers of Award Magazine with regard to profiling SOSS in their December 2013 issue. This magazine is B.C.-based and is an award winning national architecture/design magazine. In each issue they profile significant building projects across Canada. We have given them authorization to proceed.

The District Achievement Contract is on the district website. We, along with our education partners have collaborated on the district goals. Also on our website is our brand new mission and vision graphic design. Our trustees will be sharing a copy of the design with our PAC’s and there should also be a bigger copy of this eesign in all of our schools by next week.

Our district ran 13 Summer Read/Rhyme/Tec and Rec programs this summer. This year we received summer school funding from the Ministry of Education and this funding enabled us to extend the programs at both Osoyoos Elementary and Tuc el Nuit Elementary so that both these schools could offer Read and Tec. Early analysis of the data shows some significant results.

The district again received a $20,000 grant from ITA. This funding will support many initiatives in the Career Prep area including:

– build on our female participation in the traditional “male” trades

– continue to provide the grades 6/7 trades awareness program YES2IT

–  increase the SSA and ACE IT participation and supporting transitions to post-secondary opportunities

We are working hard to ensure that students look at this valuable career path for their future.

Students at OSS are once again looking forward to developing their leadership skills and to bond at Camp Boyle. The Camp Rattler 2013 on October 1 and 2 was approved and this trip is normally a high school highlight for grade 10 students.

We will again partner with Desert Sun to support the Mother Goose program in Oliver. StrongStart facilitator Shannon Koteles will work with Theresa Swift of Desert Sun to provide the program to families in the evening at the Oliver Hub. This will provide parents and children unable to attend StrongStart in the morning the opportunity to participate in literacy activities. A second initiative will involve CAP-C coordinator Nancy Aatelma and her clients joining our Oliver and Osoyoos StrongStarts to participate in the many activities and services available.


A brief summary of items discussed at Trustees’ Regular Meetings

Ryan Schulz of Omland Heal Chartered Accountants attended the September Finance and Facilities Committee meeting to review the 2012/2013 financial statements with trustees. The board ended the 2012/2013 school year with a surplus of $1.3 million which will be allocated to items that include $372,329 to cover 2013/2014 expenses, $144,245 for a computer lease payment, $122,347 for school budgets and $402,639 for local capital.

Provincial discussions with CUPE concluded on September 18 with a two-year provincial framework agreement being recommended by the bargaining teams for ratification by local boards. The framework agreement includes a wage increase as follows:

one per cent – July 1, 2013

two per cent – February 1, 2014

0.5 per cent – May 2014

Based on current staffing levels, the cost to the district for 2013/2014 is $102,000 and $189,000 for 2014/2015. The framework agreement does not include any savings from the collective agreement. Boards of Education are very supportive of a wage increase for our CUPE employees, but the Ministry of Education informed Boards at the beginning of August to come up with a district savings plan to offset the cost of this increase. This is extremely challenging for boards as we have already set our budget for 2013/2014. The ministry requires the savings plan not to affect core services and the plan has to be approved by the Public Sectors Employers’ Council (PSEC). After approval the board needs ratification of the Framework Agreement and the conclusion of local bargaining.

Our board is also deeply concerned by the recent firing of the British Columbia Public Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) board by the Minister of Education. This association is the accredited bargaining agent for Boards of Education in the province and used to bargain on behalf of Boards of Education with the BCTF. We are very unsure of our role in future bargaining with teachers that will commence in October.

The board made a motion to endorse the Community Plan for a public system of integrated early care and learning proposed by the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC and the early childhood educations of BC.

Please be sure to try and attend our learning forums. The first learning forum will be held at the SOSS library on October 9, and will be on Career Prep. All of our learning forums will be widely advertised in newsletters, local newspapers and ODN. We will conclude our learning forums on the 14 of May at the Osoyoos Mini Theatre and at this forum Inquiry Time will be discussed.

Should you have any questions, please contact me at 250-498-1333.

Submitted by Marieze Tarr, Chairperson

School District No. 53 (Okanagan Similkameen)