November 24, 2020 - Board Meeting Highlights

November 24, 2020 - Board Meeting Highlights

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the November 24, 2020 public board meeting was held virtually.

The agenda for the meeting can be found here: (link)

1. Senator Gershaw Presentation:  Principal Scott Angle provided an update on the school’s greenhouse project and how it has evolved with the goal of creating new learning experiences for students. The school has partnered with the Medicine Hat College to reimagine how the school can use the school’s greenhouse to explore a number of connected topics such as hydroponics, aquaponics, and composting. Other presentation highlights included a new ‘thinking routine’ at the school called “See, Think, Wonder”, changes to student led conferences, a new Monday wellness program that engages students in fun and school-wide activities, and increased parent engagement through the streaming of school sports and weekly interactive updates with Bitmoji Classrooms.

2. 2019-2020 Financial Audit: Delayne Sackman with MNP LLP presented the findings of the 2019-2020 financial audit. Overall, the school division received a clean audit and staff were acknowledged for their support with the process. One recommendation that came from the audit was improved practices around cash handling procedures and segregation of duties at school locations as a fraud preventative measure. It was noted that decreased expenditures for the year was a result of schools closing in the spring which reduced salaries, transportation and substitute costs. The actual overall actual deficit for the 2019-2020 year was $520,401 compared to the budgeted deficit of $1,298,518. The board approved the 2019-2020 financial statements as presented. The audit report can be viewed here.

3. Three Year 2020-2023 Education Plan and Annual Education Results Report: Superintendent Roger Clarke provided an overview of Prairie Rose’s Three Year Education Plan and summarized the results from the prior school year. It was explained that due to COVID-19 the division will be continuing with the current goals of Literacy and Deeper Education for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years. Strategies the school division will be using to measure and achieve those goals were also presented. It was explained that the province will be moving to an assurance model after the current school year and that will mean changes to how the data is collected and reported through the annual reporting process.

4. 2020-21 Revised Budget: Secretary Treasurer Ryan Boser presented the 2020-2021 Revised Budget. Highlights of the report include; assumptions that the school division will remain fully funded in 2020-21, a decrease of 88.2 funded FTE students compared to projections, no support staff or teacher salary grid changes, federal COVID funding, and an insurance premium decrease.  Overall, Prairie Rose is projecting a deficit of $351,140 compared to a preliminary budget deficit of $147,109. It was noted that under the new funding model the school division will still receive funding for the projected number of students from the spring, however some of that revenue will be deferred as enrollment was not achieved. This amounts to approximately $394,400 of less revenues. The overall budget breakdown includes a surplus of $304,232 in Instruction, a deficit of $967,251 in Maintenance, a surplus of $306,695 in Transportation and a balanced budget in Board and System Administration. It was noted that no staff adjustments were made to accommodate the lower than expected enrollment. The revised budget can be viewed here.

5. Electoral Boundary Ward Review: Trustees discussed the ward boundary review and engagement process that took place over the past few months. The findings from the review were discussed which included maintaining the current ward structure of eight trustees, or considering proposed options to reduce the number of trustees to a seven or six member board.

Highlights of the discussion included the following:

  • Trustee Lois Bedwell put forward a motion to maintain the status quo of eight trustees, however the motion was defeated by a vote of 3 to 4. 
  • Trustee Stacy Hammel spoke in support of proposed option 2 that is made up of a seven person board that would amalgamate Redcliff with Dunmore, and incorporate Seven Persons with Cypress County west.  
  • Trustee Cathy Hogg spoke in favour of option 4 that combines the Seven Person area with Foremost and Forty Mile in a six member configuration. 
  • Trustee Graeme Dennis put forward a motion to support proposed option 2. The motion was passed by a vote of 5 to 2.

6. PAT and Diploma Exams: Assistant Superintendent Kal Koch explained that due to COVID-19 there is no data to report.

7. Student Services Accountability Report: Director of Inclusion Camille Quinton presented the Student Services Accountability Report for information. Highlights of the report include the hiring of a Prairie Rose Wellness Coordinator in place of the DREAMS and REAL programs through Alberta Health Services that were eliminated at the start of the 2019-20 school year, and the removal of Regional Collaborative Delivery Model funding as part of the new provincial funding model (which has had an impact on the allocation of specialized learning supports).  It was noted that one unexpected positive that has come from COVID-19 is the introduction of privacy protected Zoom sessions to provide speech and counselling services to families.  The technology has enabled staff to reach more students as a result of decreased travel time and flexibility that enables parents to be part of the sessions with their children.