D.P.A.C. MEETING NOTES
Burnaby Central Secondary School
6011 Deer Lake Parkway
DATE: February 29, 2016
TIME: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Brentwood North: Alpha, Burnaby North, Brentwood Park, Confederation Park, Kitchener, Capitol Hill, Parkcrest, Sperling
Cariboo Lougheed: Cariboo Hill, Armstrong, Cameron, Lyndhurst, Stoney Creek, Twelfth Avenue, University Highlands
Central West: Burnaby Central, Moscrop, Brantford, Buckingham, Douglas Road, Gilpin, Inman, Lakeview, Marlborough
Kingsway South: Burnaby South, Glenwood, Maywood, Edmonds, Stride Avenue, Suncrest
Gina Niccoli-Moen – Superintendent; Wanda Mitchell – Assistant Superintendent; Heather Hart – Assistant Superintendent; Roberto Bombelli – Assistant Superintendent
Board of Education Trustees and their zones:
Katrina Chen (Central West); Meiling Chia (Kingsway South); Baljinder Narang (Kingsway South); Gary Wong (Brentwood North)
Regrets: Ron Burton – Chair (Brentwood North); Larry Hayes (Cariboo Lougheed); Harman Pandher – Vice-Chair (Central West)
Jen Mezei, Chair (Cariboo Lougheed); Shamsuddin Chowdhury, Member at Large (Kingsway South); Dave Dye, Member at Large (Cariboo Lougheed); Herman Louie, Treasurer (Central West); Kristin Schnider, Secretary (Cariboo Lougheed); Jocelyn Schonekess, Vice Chair (Central West); Calvin Taplay, Member at Large (Brentwood North)
Regrets: Naz Jakir, Member at Large (Kingsway South)
1. Welcome and Introductions
Jen Mezei called the meeting to order at 7:05 PM and welcomed everyone. Jen then introduced the District Staff, Board of Education Trustees and DPAC Executive members in attendance.
2. Vancouver Island Parent Conference
Kristin Schnider and Jocelyn Schonekess provided a presentation on the Vancouver Island Parent Conference that they attended on behalf of Burnaby DPAC. A copy of their presentation is available on the Burnaby DPAC website.
Following their presentation Jocelyn and Kristin commented that the Vancouver Island Parent Conference is essentially several DPAC PIEs offered over the course of one day rather than spread throughout the school year. Both Jocelyn and Kristin then opened the floor up to the DPAC reps to find out what they’d like to see next year in terms of PIEs for Burnaby parents: new speakers, new formats, different nights, different content, etc.
One parent commented that she’d like to see DPAC bring in some educators to talk about how they’re implemented the new curriculum and how successful that has been. Another parent commented that she’d like to see a PIE focused on the new curriculum and how parents can help guides students toward success, be it post-secondary enrolment or other career opportunities.
Another suggestion was to bring in a speaker to talk explain how to support kids in their transition to university and other post-secondary options.
3. SD41 Amended Operating Budget Report – Discussion of Parent Priorities for 2016-2017
Jen Mezei provided a quick overview of the amended 2015-2016 operating budget that had been approved by the Board during the week of February 22, noting the changes from the draft budget presented last year. The presentation on the approved operating budget is available on the School District website at http://www.sd41.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Amended-Operating-Budget-Presentation-February-22-2016.pdf
One of the key budget changes relates to the fact that this year, for the first time in many years, there was no release of holdback funds from the Ministry of Education. Jen explained that in previous years, the Ministry has released the $60M across held back across the province to balance out projected versus actual student enrollment numbers. This year, however, the Province paid out $67M in holdback funds (using more than the amount withheld) to cover the per-pupil funding for additional enrollments across the province.
Another change to the draft budget versus the actual 2015-2016 operating budget was with regard to the next generation service cost: the actual Burnaby school district share was $603K versus the budgeted $800K. Next year, it’s estimated that the Burnaby School District’s share will equate to $1.2M.
The third major variable that resulted in changes to Burnaby’s actual operating budget is the total revenue generated from international education students. The international education program has significantly added to the operating revenues in Burnaby: this year there are 188 more international students than anticipated, which brought in an additional $3M in gross revenue, or $1.5M in net revenue.
Another change in the projected versus actual budget is that non-union staff received a 3% salary increase. This increase is not funded through the Ministry of Education, but through the School District’s operating budget.
Overall, the actual shortfall for the 2015-2016 budget is $2.7M. Jen noted that the projected shortfall was $4.3M. However, as Jen noted, the increased international education program revenue significantly decreased that shortfall. The $2.7M deficit budget will then be covered with the School District’s restricted reserve funds. This means that the School District’s retained reserve levels are now at $1.3M in unrestricted reserve funds and $6.0M in restricted reserve funds.
Jen then reviewed the budget timeline for the 2016-2017 school year:
- March 11 The Ministry of Education will be announcing the preliminary operating grants
- April 4 DPAC budget meeting where District staff will present the draft budget and recommendations for the 2016-2017 operating year
- April 6 Public budget meeting
Jen went on to conclude the despite the decreased shortfall, it’s still expected that there will still be a deficit operating budget in Burnaby for the 2016-2017 year. In light of that fact, there will likely be some budgetary cuts next year to cover the budget shortages. Jen then asked the DPAC reps speaks with their PAC in advance of the April 4 DPAC budget meeting to discuss what existing cuts have negatively affected their schools, what cuts have been working, and if there are any areas they can identified where cuts could be made to in lieu of other areas. A full discussion will then be had at the April 4 meeting.
A parent commented that in Burnaby there are some schools that have strong PACs and others that do not.
In the schools where there is a strong PACs (or a more affluent community) a lot of school expenditures have relied on PAC funds. The parent then asked whether or not PAC funding is hindering or helping the School District. More clearly: are PAC funds creating inequality between Burnaby schools?
Janice Beecroft advised that the Vancouver School District (VSD) had initiated a program where more affluent schools could adopt other VSD schools. The aim of the program is to bridge the gaps between schools and share resources. She then suggested that this might a discussion that Burnaby DPAC could initiate between Burnaby PACs.
Jocelyn Schonekess advise that several PACs in Burnaby already support other schools and/or families at other schools. However, it is done anonymously with the assistance of school district administration. It was then suggested that PACs interested in supporting other schools talk to their school principals and determine what options are available. After some discussion Jen suggested that DPAC send out a survey via listserve to find out what and how much PACs are spending on in terms of school wish lists, consumables, technology, etc.
Another parent then asked if there could be some further elaboration on the non-union staff salary increases. Specially, the parent wanted to know how many non-union staff received the 3% raise. Superintendent Gina Niccoli-Moen clarified that some salary increases forthcoming are funded by the Ministry, which includes principals and vice principals. The Board budgeted for a potential increases coming forward when the exempt staff compensation freeze is lifted; currently the freeze is still in effect. Principals and vice principals have received some interim relief equating to 2%, effective in December 2015. Superintendent Niccoli-Moen further noted that this salary relief was budgeted for by the Board. The rest of exempt staff, including school district office staff, principals and vice principals working at the District office are still frozen.
Jen concluded her report by providing some statistics on average class sizes in Burnaby. This year Burnaby’s average class size has decreased at the high school level. (Burnaby class size averages for kindergarten, grades 1-3 and 4-7 are more or less the same as last year.) Jen then advised that the total number of classes in Burnaby with more the 30 students enrolled has gone up marginally this year, moving from 34 to 41 classes across the District. However, of those classes the majority are largely band, choir, and large ensemble classes the necessarily exceed the 30 student threshold. This is generally not the case in other BC school districts. Jen added that Coquitlam is one of the only other school districts that has intentionally kept classes below 30 students. (For further details, please visit https://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/reporting/province.php)
4. Chair Report
a. Accountability Framework
Jen began by reminding parents that school visits for school plans are currently ongoing. She added that DPAC is also looking into having a committee struck with District staff, DPAC executive members as well as some parents who have attended school visits so parents can provide the Board with some feedback and input on the school planning process.
Assistant Superintendent Heather Hart commented that Burnaby has a good structure for school plans that has been in place for a number of years. The process is one that the School District will continue to build upon and improve. Assistant Superintendent Hart further noted that not all school districts in the province have a model like Burnaby’s. In light of that, and because it’s a transition year for all school districts in the province regarding the accountability framework, Burnaby will be posting its current process on the District website to share with other school districts and the community.
Jen went on to clarify that DPAC is hoping that, together with the District, they can establish a mechanism where school plans can be reported and/or presented to parents. Such a mechanism will give parents the opportunity to discuss and have input on the plans rather than just having the school plan document sitting on a website. In coordination with the District, DPAC is hoping to work toward a dynamic and flexible process versus having a document stored on a website that parents may not be aware of.
b. Listserve Update
Jen reported that the discussion on the listserve communication protocol has been referred to the DTAC Committee for their recommendations and will be discussed at the Committee’s next meeting. DPAC representatives on DTAC are Dave Dye and Herman Louie who will report back.
c. Sanctuary Schools BTA Presentation
Jen advised that the Burnaby DPAC Executive were invited by the Burnaby Teachers’ Association to attend a presentation on sanctuary schools. Following the presentation, the Executive debriefed the presentation content in light of BC’s School Act. Jen went on to say that the Executive felt the Act outlines specific criteria for enrolling students in BC schools that DPAC must support and follow, despite the good intentions of sanctuary schools.
During the debrief a few questions were raised on enrollment and the collection and storage of documentation in Burnaby that the DPAC Executive wanted to seek further information on from the District. Jen noted that over the last ten years the Ministry’s documentation requirements for school enrollment have changed: in the past parents and/or guardians could provide proof of residency and citizenship with a bill or statement and the child’s birth certificate. Currently, however, parents and/or guardians must provide proof of residency and citizenship with copies of parent and child passports, driver’s licenses, birth certificates, CRA tax returns, etc.
Consequently, DPAC Executives wanted to find out how, and where, personal identity information is being kept at the school district level. DPAC heard back from the School District and they have confirmed that photocopies of parent and child identification are not kept on MyEdBC. The system only includes tick boxes that staff select when they have received the paper copies. However, the Ministry requires that the paper copies be retained by the School District for audit purposes. These copies are then included as part of the District’s student paper file, which is kept for three years after graduation.
d. MyEdBC Parent Portals and Privacy
Dave Dye reported that he and Jen attended a meeting with District staff on the parent portal and its functionality on MyEdBC. Dave noted that the one of challenges provincially has been the multiple records for parents with more than one child in the school system (e.g. record as parent for student A, separate record as parent of student B). To address this redundancy, a ‘cleaning up the process’ is taking place at the Ministry level to ensure that no bad data goes into the system. Consequently, the parent portal is not ready for use at this time and rollout will be delayed until next year when the issue has been resolved.
Once available, the parent portal will provide parents with attendance information for high school students via mobile app. Teachers may also choose to post marks and assignment information, forms, etc. Dave commented, that teacher buy-in may vary throughout the District and a process has not been worked out yet. Nonetheless, the portal will empower teachers and parents to provide support to students.
A parent asked if the portal would be specific to parents of high school students. Dave answered that the portal is for parents of all students. However, the attendance information will be specific to high school students for Burnaby because elementary attendance information is collected and entered a different time in the school day that is not conducive to the functionality of the parent portal.
Assistant Superintendent Roberto Bombelli added that this spring the District will be running some pilots to look at how attendance can be done differently at the elementary level to make the portal more effective for parents of elementary students. Nonetheless, there are other functionalities within the parent portal that all parents will benefit from. Assistant Superintendent Bombelli noted that as the portal becomes ready there will be a gradual rollout, involving an initial training piece for parent and teacher users. As time goes on the portal will continue to be built upon as new functionalities are introduced.
e. LGTBQ Committee Update
Jen provided an update for the District’s LGTBQ Committee. She noted that parent representation on the Committee includes three parent reps as well as one alternate parent rep.
At the Committee’s last meeting two items of interest came up for parents. Firstly, it was reported that there will be a third Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) breakfast on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia this May. Jen explained that GSAs are a school-based club for students at Burnaby high schools.
Jen went on to report that, secondly, the Committee has also struck a subcommittee tasked with looking at inclusive washrooms. This issue has had a lot of media interest in recent months, both in the US and in Canada. Jen noted that there are have been a lot of court cases in the US where school districts have been mandated to provide inclusive washrooms for students.
Jen advised that the subcommittee has been looking at other local school districts that have successfully implemented gender neutral washrooms. The focus of the parents who sit on the subcommittee is to ensure that the washrooms, however they are implemented, are safe for students. Currently, the subcommittee is looking at a single stall washroom that locks from the inside. They are also drafting recommendations for the School District. Jen added that it’s likely that existing single-stall accessible washrooms will be utilized for gender neutral washrooms. However, thus far a final decision has not been made on how gender neutral washrooms will be facilitated in Burnaby schools.
Another parent asked if gender neutral washrooms would be implemented at the elementary level. Jen answered that there has not been a determination on this yet. She noted that the issue of gender neutral washrooms was initially brought from by students who didn’t feel safe using gender specific washrooms.
5. DPAC Updates
a. DPAC Parent Information Evenings (PIEs)
Jen reminded DPAC reps of the 2015-2016 schedule for Burnaby DPAC PIEs:
April 27, 2016 “Self Regulation in the Early Years: Home to School,” presented by Deb Simak and Elizabeth Gardner
June 1, 2016 PAC Chair event (additional details to be sent out to PAC Chairs in May)
b. Committee Reports
Buildings & Grounds – Jen Mezei attended a meeting of the Building & Grounds Committee on February 16. At that meeting the following updates were provided:
Alpha Secondary – Seismic Upgrade
- The design development is approximately 40% complete
- Preliminary drawings have been submitted to the cost consultant for pricing
- Preliminary planning approval process initiated with the City
- The RFP for construction management services has been posted with a closing date of February 9, and evaluation bids are in process
- The project’s construction value is $24M
Montecito Elementary – Seismic Upgrade
- Design development is approximately 30% complete
- They are preparing the preliminary drawings for submission the cost consultant for pricing
- The RFP for general contractors has been posted on BC Bid with a closing date of March 25
- The project’s construction value is $3.3M
Seaforth Building Envelope Project
- Site preparation work is being completed
- Windows targeted for installation during spring break
- The project’s construction value is $385K
Burnaby North Secondary – Seismic Upgrade
- The RFP posting on BC Bid has closed and the proposal evaluation process is underway
Stride Avenue Community School – Seismic Upgrade
- The RFP posting on BC Bid has closed and the proposal evaluation process is underway
Stride Avenue Community School – Minor Capital Mechanical (HVAC) Upgrade – Phase 1 Planning
- Design work is in progress and funding of $315K has been approved for the design
Youth and Community Services – Kristin Schnider reported that she attended the committee meeting on February 2. At that meeting, the Committee was advised that the School District’s Code of Conduct document had undergone the final edits to ensure our Code of Conduct meets the Ministerial Order for school boards. The revised Code of Conduct has since been circulated to schools and the parent community.
The Committee also received an update from the Youth Services Manager regarding the renewal of the Youth Restorative Justice Program (YRJP) partnership with the City of Burnaby and the Burnaby RCMP. The School District received a summary report of the program for September to December 2015, which included the number of students supported and schools serviced. In addition to intervention services, the program provides professional development and training to school staff for utilizing restorative action in schools. The City has hired an additional facilitator to increase capacity of the program.
Jen Mezei advised that at the February Burnaby DPAC Executive meeting, Jen was nominated to run for election to the BCCPAC Board next year. Currently, Jen is waiting to hear if her nomination has been accepted by BCCPAC.
Jen went on to say that the BCCPAC Spring Conference and AGM are taking place April 29 to May 1 at the Coast Capris Hotel in Kelowna. If any DPAC representatives are interested in attending, Burnaby DPAC will cover up to half of the conference registration fees.
With regard to the AGM, Jen advised that if any PACs have a pressing issue they want brought forward at the AGM, an emergency resolution can still be prepared and submitted at the AGM. One issue that another DPAC has submitted is a resolution on school district privacy standards. Jen noted that a lot of other school districts in BC have not talked with parents about what information is being included on the electronic MyEdBC student files. Consequently, this is a systemic concern that parents want addressed at the provincial level. Jen noted Burnaby parents are fortunate to have a good working relationship with the School District where these types of issues are dealt with at the school district level.
The AGM resolutions book and related paperwork should be received by member PACs in the next couple weeks, and Jen encouraged those PACs to discuss the resolutions at their upcoming PAC meetings. She added that if a member PAC is not sending a delegate to the AGM, they should complete a proxy form and return it to the DPAC Executive so another Burnaby delegate can vote on their behalf per any voting instructions provided. Proxy forms are available on the BCCPAC website at http://bccpac2016.weebly.com/uploads/2/6/4/3/26435764/2016_proxy_form.pdf.
Further discussion ensued on the issue of BCCPAC membership in Burnaby.
A parent asked when membership fees need to be paid in order to be a voting delegate at the AGM. Jocelyn answered that annual membership fees need to be received by BCCPAC by December 15 in the current school year in order to be a voting delegate at the AGM. Jocelyn reminded parents that this deadline had been raised at a few DPAC general meetings in the fall.
Another parent suggested that this information be better communicated more general to Burnaby parents and PACs Parent to ensure greater BCCPAC membership in Burnaby.
After further discussion, Jocelyn Schonekess reminded DPAC reps that BCCPAC has introduced a new incentive for parents to attend the spring conference. She explained that first-time conference attendees (or parents who have not attend a BCCPAC conference in the last five years) may register for free if they are registered with a paid conference registration. Jocelyn noted that this incentive does not apply to the AGM fees: all AGM attendees must pay the $75 delegate registration fee.
A parent asked if the Burnaby DPAC would be providing travel subsidies to PAC members attending the AGM. Jen answered that in the past this has not been an issue because the AGMs have traditionally been held in the Lower Mainland. However, Burnaby is eligible for three travel subsidies. Jen then advised that the Executive will look at how to best distribute those subsidies to members attending the AGM and report back at the April meeting. She noted that the subsidies do not cover meals, hotel accommodations or lost wages incurred to attend the AGM; the travel subsidy is specific to transportation to the AGM.
6. New Business/Q&A
A parent asked if there was any update on the request to receive information on the School District’s School Protection Program (SPP), the self-insurance program that provides coverage to all boards of education against liability and loss. Jen answered the Executive was working to secure a spokesperson from SPP to present at a future DPAC General meeting.
Jen went on to say that the Executive is also hoping to book a speaker from the City of Burnaby to talk about traffic safety and explain to parents which bodies are in charge for the different areas related to traffic safety, and where PACs should direct concerns or queries: RCMP vs. the City of Burnaby
The parent then asked who at the School District she should speak to regarding liability insurance for school carnivals and events in advance of the SPP presentation. Jen answered that she should contact Assistant Secretary Treasurer Roy Uyeno (email@example.com).
Burnaby’s Got Talent 2016
Trustee Katrina Chen advised that the Burnaby District Student Advisory Committee has just announced that they will be co-presenting their annual charity student talent show, Burnaby’s Got Talent, on Tuesday, April 5 at Michael J. Fox Theatre. Student performers from all Burnaby high schools will compete to become Burnaby’s Best Talent of 2016. Tickets are $10 each, and all proceeds will be donated to the Burnaby Youth Hub (http://www.burnabyyouthhub.org/).
Jocelyn Schonekess reminded DPAC reps to forward their flyers and event information to the DPAC executive (firstname.lastname@example.org) so the information can be posted on the Burnaby DPAC Facebook page and shared with others in the School District.
7. Meeting Adjournment
Before adjourning the meeting, Jen reminded DPAC reps that the next DPAC General meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 4, 2016 at 7 PM at Burnaby Central. The agenda for that meeting will be the 2016-2017 School District budget. Jen then adjourned the meeting at 8:45 PM.
NOTES FROM THE CHAIR:
- WEBSITE – dpac.burnabyschools.ca – email your events to be published.
- Communication – Email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
- To serve as an advisory group to the School Board.
- To assist in decision-making with regard to school district programs, policies and practices through information, input and recommendations.
- To provide a formal process for the Superintendent and district staff to receive input and feedback regarding district programs and operations.
- To act as a liaison between the School Board and the community.
- To provide parent representatives with information on educational programs, operations and issues.
- To provide a mechanism for local parent/school groups to share and discuss educational issues and communicate with other parent groups.