Trafalgar PAC Minutes of meeting February 19th 2011 Attendance Robin Woodbridge, Cathy Scott-May, Francesca Blishen, Shannon May, Ed Nielson. Additions/Amendments None Reports 1. Treasurers Report The PAC treasurer sent her apologies, as she was unable to be at the meeting. 2. Landscape Project Report Cathy Scott-May spoke to the landscaping project, explaining that the fifteen thousand dollars PAC committed to the landscape project could not be levied over three years, as suggested by some parents at the last meeting. She also explained that PAC followed their standard procedure to allow these funds to be used from PAC’s account. This involved consulting parents through a written proposal of the proposed $15,000 allocation to the project in the April newsletter, 2010 and which asked parents to provide any feedback, or queries. Of more concern to Cathy was how general PAC funds have dipped so low, since when the landscape project and its budget requirements were envisioned, four thousand five hundred dollars would have been left in the PAC account to support teacher/other requests. However, the current budget shows only $754.03 available. It was suggested by a parent that the landscaping budget should be separate from the other accounts. However, Robin explained that the treasurer felt separating the landscaping account could cause issues over signatories, making access to the account complicated. ACTION: Robin and Shiloh will attempt to ascertain where the expected general funds have been spent or allocated. STOP PRESS: The issue has been resolved. Last year, the landscape coordinator received a sponsorship grant of $2500.00 toward the design process of the landscape project This grant meant that PAC had enough money in its accounts to commit $15000.00 to the project. However, the details of this grant were only separated in an excel spreadsheet that the treasurer did not have available to her, and therefore could not account for it in the general account. These extra funds will be included in the general account shortly, and will be available for whichever requests PAC agrees to fund. Cathy also explained that one of the reasons the project is moving ahead slowly is because the previous superintendent for SD#8 told the PAC that there may be an announcement in the spring of 2011 regarding a rebuild for the school. Hence, the decision was to implement part of the landscape design and then if no announcement was forthcoming, the PAC and school could determine what more, if any, of the design should be pursued. If the rebuild is announced this spring, then the focus would shift to planning for the renovations/rebuild. However, the principal has since stated that there is no time line on the rebuild and that the project is a priority. When asked if some of the grants are time sensitive, Cathy replied that they were, and needed to be spent by June, in some cases. Regarding price of the trees, (which is currently set at $42,304.00 for trees/digging/planting/edging/mulching/labour) Cathy pointed out that as things stand, the cost of trees is very high, but that the trees cannot be planted and paid for over two years, since the roots of the trees first planted would be affected by the planting of the second batch, and the cost of bringing in equipment twice would be higher. Trees can still being gifted to the project for $175.00. Cathy will send a notice home to parents after spring break to update them on the project and the options for gifting a tree. 3. French Advisory Council Report For a copy of the FAC minutes please contact Cathy email@example.com or Francesca (firstname.lastname@example.org ), your Trafalgar parent reps to the FAC. Cathy also asked if the school could post the minutes on the school’s website under the parent’s section. The issue of math in FI was discussed. Tim Mushumanski produced a table that shows FI students are NOT disadvantaged in math, with FI students actually doing better in grade 10 and 12 exams, plus, a higher number of FI students go on to take principles of math (now pre- calculus), than non FI students. Cathy Scott May and Geoff Burns will be producing an info sheet that explains these results to parents. This should be available in the spring term. A special meeting will be held to discuss French immersion opportunities for students, such as exchanges and relevant French speaking encounters in the community, and as part of field trips. The date for this meeting is to be finalized shortly. There was great deal of concern reported, among parents regarding the enrolment process for grade 5’s into the French Immersion program. There are 86 students vying for 60 spots. Many parents were told that there would be no rush on enrolment and now they have been told there is no room left in the program. A number of parents believe the board should consider a third classroom for FI students. Nobody appears to be happy with the idea of a re-enrolment, a lottery, or for the situation to stay as it is. STOP PRESS: Parents have taken the issue to the board’s finance meeting and general board meeting. Parent/School Communication/Field Trips The grade eight field trip survey will be back shortly. A parent emailed their concern to PAC that a recent trip to Ainsworth was undertaken with only one day’s notice and that there was no lifeguard at the venue. Apparently, there is no obligation to provide permission slips for such trips in grade seven upward. Mr. Nielson said there was no lifeguard available at the hot springs. Another parent concern was the lack of information about the grocery card system. Apparently, this is available on the website, although one parent pointed out they did not know of such a system, and therefore would not have known to look, and that there was absolutely no information given to new grade six parents on this. ACTION: The school needs to articulate the different expectations it requires of parents and students as they progress through Trafalgar. Field trips is one aspect of this in that the school is required to notify and seek parent permission slips from grade 6 students, but not the older students. Cathy to talk to Geoff about how communicate to parents these policies and expectations, including as they relate to field trips. ACTION: Mr. Nielson to make sure year end field trip info is on the website at the earliest possible time, so that parents can plan ahead financially. Parent Information Session PAC and the Vice Principal were disappointed at the low turnout for the information session on the night of the school dance. PAC will consider other topics such as personalized learning. They plan to conduct a survey to find out what topics parents are interested in. Year End Barbecue Could this be a celebration of the landscape project tree planting? Could more bands be asked to play? The ‘revenue neutral’ aspect should be explained to parents. Next Meeting March 31st It is hoped that Trustee Bob Wright will be able to attend to let the parents and school know if there is news on the rebuild. ACTION: Robin to contact Bob Wright.
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