School District No. 46 trustees are pushing for a voice in teacher negotiations, board chair Silas White reported, during the first school board meeting of the 2013/14 school year on Sept. 10.
He said the role of the B.C. School Trustees Association (BCSTA) in bargaining was discussed during a board chairs’ meeting he attended on Sept. 5.
There trustees from across the province reviewed a new “interim advocacy structure” meant to involve the BCSTA in bargaining; however, many were not in favour of it.
“So we’re proposing our own kind of hybrid model,” White said. “The BCSTA is talking about bringing BCPSEA [the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association] and the employers’ association into the BCSTA to be part of the BCSTA as a trustees’ organization, or keeping them separate, but both ways … trustees would lose their co-governance of the bargaining agent, which we find quite problematic.”
In an effort to find a solution, local trustees are formulating their own plan.
“We’re proposing a different kind of model where BCSTA continues to exist, there’s some co-governance between BCSTA and BCPSEA, but otherwise employers, boards, can still have some co-governance influence over their own bargaining agent, and I think we’ll be sending out more information on our model publicly,” White said.
Secretary treasurer Nicholas Weswick presented the preliminary enrollment numbers for this school year, which show a drop of 28 students overall in the district.
Some schools saw more kids enroll, like Cedar Grove Elementary School, which gained 11 students, while some saw significant decreases in enrollment, like Roberts Creek Elementary School, which lost 36 students.
The school that saw the most growth was Davis Bay Elementary School, which went from 49 students enrolled last year to 104 this year.
The large jump is attributed to the new Nature Primary Program now running at that school.
Preliminary numbers show 2,905 students in SD46 this year compared to 2,933 last year; however, Weswick said head counts will likely change by the end of the month as new students are still enrolling in Coast schools.
Early learning coordinator Kirsten Deasey reported that the WonderWheels Bookmobile was a success this summer with 258 children borrowing more than 500 books from the travelling library in July and August.
The summer reading program was an initiative of SD46 that was so successful Deasey said the book-lending program would continue all year.
The other early learning initiative that was well received over the summer was Sechelt’s StrongStart program, which usually closes for the summer months.
The drop-in program for children and their caregivers was very popular, with more than 394 visits by kids.
Trustees adopted a new anti-idling regulation that calls for drivers to avoid all “unnecessary idling wherever possible” on school district property.
The new regulation says that idling of school district vehicles should not exceed one minute and that contractors will be required to “eliminate idling on school property that is not essential for the performance of their work.”
The new regulation also encourages school bus operators to limit idling while they are away from school property.