on May 15, 2014 by test_editor in Archive_2014, May, Print Articles, Comments Off on May 15, 2014: OCDSB School Report.

May 15, 2014: OCDSB School Report.

May 15, 2014: OCDSB School Report.
By Jennifer McKenzie, Trustee for Kitchissippi and Somerset Wards.

Provincial Capital Funding Announcement.
On April 30, the Ministry gave permission to the OCDSB for three capital projects to proceed. Two elementary schools are to be fully funded in Barrhaven (Board priority #1) and Orleans (Board priority #7). Broadview, our second priority, is to be funded by less than half with new provincial money with the rest being made up from proceeds of disposition (from the sale of Board property) and existing Full Day Kindergarten funding. $5.5 Million of new funding is being provided for the new school to cost over $15 Million by the Ministry’s own benchmarks.

Capital Plan Decision-Making Process Consultation.
In May 2012, after a challenging round of capital planning discussions, I introduced a motion, approved by the Board, requesting staff to develop new criteria to assist trustees in determining which proposed capital projects should receive priority. The goal of this work is to increase the transparency of the Board’s capital projects approval process and to formalize each step in the process to increase confidence and fairness in the decision-making process.

Work on the development of a new capital plan decision-making process began in early 2013, and a number of reports have been brought before the Board for discussion. Staff recently provided trustees with an update outlining the key components of the proposed Capital Plan Decision- Making Framework and received Board approval to present it to the community for consultation and feedback.

Consultation will include meetings with selected stakeholder groups, a general public meeting, and the posting of the draft Capital Plan Decision-Making Framework and related reports on the OCDSB website, with electronic links provided to receive feedback.

Funding Play Structures and Naturalized Play Spaces.
In March the Board of Trustees received an excellent report on outdoor play spaces. Board members asked that the report be shared with school councils as it includes some of the latest research and thinking on outdoor play.

Trustees recognize that appropriate and stimulating outdoor play spaces not only benefit our students but also provide the broader community with recreational space.

As the Board looks at the possibility of improving funding for outdoor play structures and/or naturalized play spaces, we believe that the tradition of the Board, the city, and school communities sharing the costs of developing outdoor play areas should continue. We also acknowledge that the cost of play structures and naturalized play areas has increased significantly in recent years due in part to more rigorous requirements set by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

As a result, some school communities find it difficult to raise the funds necessary to participate in a cost-shared project. In light of this, trustees asked staff to look into developing a new shared funding model to address the current higher costs involved, and to provide a process for determining which school communities would be eligible for additional Board funds based on their differentiated needs.

The staff report on a possible new funding mechanism for this is on the agenda for the May 6 Committee of the Whole meeting, and will also be discussed at Budget Committee.

Daycare in our Schools.
As you are aware, the school board is offering before and after school programming to school age children in all our schools with Full Day Kindergarten. The final 25 percent of elementary schools will be transitioned to FDK this September. We are discussing and updating the policies for these programs.

We are also contemplating the expansion of daycare service to include pre-school infant toddler programs. The board of trustees has taken a cautious stance so far. We want to be sure that these programs are put in the right locations to best serve the community and are of the highest quality possible. If you have any thoughts on this, you may send them to me ( Jennifer.McKenzie@ocdsb.ca ) or make a delegation to all trustees at one of our board meetings.

Summer School Registration Begins May 1.
Each July the OCDSB offers numerous summer programs to meet student needs and interests. Detailed information on these programs is now available through a link (under OCDSB News) on the Board’s home page. Summer programs in Language Arts and Math are also available for Grade 7 and 8 students. Information on these programs, including opportunities for Reach-Ahead credits for Grade 8 students, are available on the same Summer School 2014 link. Deadlines are different for each program, and can quickly sneak up on you, so if you know a student interested in summer learning make sure they look into it soon!


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