January 15, 2019
Committee of the Whole Meeting, January 15, 2019
Rob Battista, Councillor Secondary Unit
Jennifer McArthur, 1st VP Elementary
Marie Balanowski, President Elementary
The following is some information from their notes taken during the board meeting. Statements may be paraphrased.
Frank Iannantuono indicated that they’ve gone to universities to recruit teachers. New teacher interviews will take place in early March.
Larry Huibers wants to see the promotion of living in Niagara. The cost of living in Niagara is more attractive than living in Halton or Toronto.
Frank Iannantuono – we have not gone to the detail you suggested.
Larry Huibers – I think our recruiting skills have to be better. We, as a major employer, need to promote what’s good about Niagara.
Frank Iannantuono – Area of French is a shortage. We are meeting with student teachers in our system.
Larry Huibers – Welland is deemed a bilingual city. That should be attractive. People could feel comfortable. e.g. Club Richelieu.
John Crocco spoke about the Emergency Instructor Package (unqualified persons in the classroom).
Kathy Burtnik-It’s very detailed. Should we put in policy?
Frank Iannantuono -This is also a Minutes of Settlement. The area of unqualified is a last resort. We do have timelines.
Frank Iannantuono – OECTA Elementary-we’ve had good discussions. 10 years back for retirees. Retirees on Emergency List.
Kathy Burtnik – There is a discrepancy in requesting a baptismal certificate in one case and pastoral reference in another. How are other boards across the province doing this? Are they entitled to a pension? I appreciate the Minutes of Settlement, but I think Trustees should have an understanding. I would appreciate a more fulsome discussion.
Dino Sicoli – We have a policy meeting in two weeks.
Kathy Burtnik – If in keeping with the Minutes of Settlement, would appreciate it.
Ted Farrell indicated that international education students offset declining enrolment.
Fred Wilson indicated that this winter we’ll have 120 students here.
Fred Wilson-72 students in 2012. Increased consistently to 265 now. 40% of students from Korea.
Larry Huibers – On cost calculated. ESL more expensive. Is it a true cost recovery?
Giancarlo Vetrone – What the international students provide is an economies of scale. Integrated into the regular classroom. Tuition fees are a little higher than GSNs. Economies of scale because the teacher is already in place.
Paul Turner-I strongly support this program. (He spoke about a student that he had.) The rewards for our students is very enriching. If students get to know them, will be a solid experience.
Frank Fera – How much revenue is generated?
Giancarlo explained the revenue.
Kathy Burtnik – So more like a million to a million and a half per year.
Ted Farrell-They currently comprise 1% of our student population.
The proposed Joint Use School in Wainfleet was discussed. The current St. Elizabeth site was discussed as a possible location since it sits on 8 acres.
Larry Huibers spoke about areas that have grown, such as the Crystal Beach area. If we build based on the numbers, but we grow, we can’t expand. DSBN has 2 other schools. A lot of this is like throwing a dart at a board. Retaining 20% of the 8 acres is not in our best interest.
Leanne Prince-Can we negotiate a long term lease so that we have our property, they (DSBN) have theirs?
Kathy Burtnik-If we don’t have a good agreement, then we shouldn’t go down that path (the Joint Use School).
Giancarlo Vetrone-salting and plowing. Trending more positively this year, which is great for offsetting other pressures.
Giancarlo Vetrone spoke about illnesses. The Agenda for the meeting states:
We continue to closely monitor attendance for all staff. The trending data of illnesses and associated replacement costs associated with specific staff is important to management to ensure our estimates are aligned with usage. Our year-over-year replacement costs have increased by approximately $100,000. This increase is both attributed to a marginal increase in occurrences and grid movement for staff.
Larry Huibers spoke about the number of days before going on LTD previously. [Note: previously, there was a 60 day waiting period before LTD kicked in. Now it’s 131.]
A discussion took place about the School Excellence Presentations at Board Meetings.
Kathy Burtnik-It was noted that we can go into schools anytime. Some of us work and can’t drop in anytime. I’d like to see them continue.
A student trustee felt that the presentation materializes all that they do.
Paul Turner-When there was talk of it not happening, there was a lot of relief. We should know what’s going on in our schools.
Dan Moody-100% in agreement. Great deal of work. We’re short EAs, teachers.
Rhianon Burkholder-I don’t disagree a lot of work has to go into it. I won’t be able to get to all schools. Those parents, grandparents are so proud.
Dino Sicoli-When Trustee Fera and I met with Mr. Crocco, we made a decision. It’s quarter to ten. This is a business meeting.
Frank Fera-I spoke to a number of principals and they said it take 2-3 weeks to prepare for this presentation. They DO NOT LIKE IT.
Rhianon Burkholder-I think it has to come to a vote.
Frank Fera-I’d like to remind Trustee Burkholder this item is not in our Bylaws.
John Crocco-At request of board in 2009, how can we have insight. Part of request was to have presentation. Put school on display.
Paul Turner-I want to reiterate that we are making these decisions now, but if we ask teachers, it’s overwhelmingly “no”. That’s the word on the street. Where’s our sense of entitlement? Is it for us 10, 12? You should know what’s going on in the schools.
Kathy Burtnik-A lot has been said tonight. Chair and vice-chair have right to set agenda.
No vote took place. The School Excellence Presentations are not going to happen at Board Meetings anymore, but the school display in the front foyer at the Board office will continue.