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Grade Configuration and School Closure Scenarios

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					Grade Configuration and School Closure Scenarios
Feb. 20th, 2007

Jordan Tinney

How did we get here…
Declining Enrolment Task Force March, 2003 recommendations:
Closing Black Creek School in Sept. 2003 or Sept. 2004; Closing Union Bay School in Sept. 2003 or Sept. 2004; Closing Tsolum Elementary in Sept. 2006; and Reexamining the current grade structure and school boundaries in the district over the next five years in the best interests of students rather than to fill buildings.

Jan. 31, 2006 – recommendation from the superintendent to configure the district as 6-8 middle school model. Board decided to wait for new superintendent to pursue options and have the board come to a final decision.

Processes
All notes taken and added to district web site; Any emails welcomed as further information (debbie.page@sd71.bc.ca); Public Forums – Dec. 12, Jan 23; Hornby Island – Jan. 15; Student working group – Jan 23 Aboriginal Education Council – Feb. 1 Teacher working group – Feb. 5; District Leadership Team – Feb. 7; Management Team – Dec. 7, Jan 11, Feb. 8; Town of Comox – Jan. 31 Committee of the whole discussion – Feb 13, March 13 District Configuration Working Group – Feb. 8 Public Forum – Sharing of Scenarios – Feb. 20 District Configuration Working Group - Feb 27. Superintendent’s Report expected release to Board – March 6.

Timeline for configuration decisions
November 2006 – January 2007
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Paper on grade configuration – soliciting feedback and advertising forums through local media:
Two public forums; One small working group – to collate discussions; Participation and feedback requested online as well;

February 8th and 27th , 2007
Working group collates results/comments and suggests options for district grade configuration. Superintendent writes report complete with recommendations.

March 27th , 2007
Committee of the Whole public discussion on recommendations. Board meeting – Board decision on grade configuration.

Timeline for configuration decisions
April 24th, 2007
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Initiation of Policy 3050 complete with identification of schools proposed for closure. Public information on the timelines of potential school closures. Initiation of school closure and consolidation processes. Public consultation regarding school closures as per policy 3050.
Public consultation regarding school closures as per policy 3050. Board decision regarding school closures for June, 2008 at the earliest.

April-June, 2007
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September – November, 2007
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November 27, 2007
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Why are we doing this?
District Total 8600 8400

8200

8000 District Total 7800

7600

7400

7200 2005 2006 2008 2009 2010

Why are we doing this again?
If we don’t address the enrolment decline:
2008 - 1974 empty seats = $5.7M* 2009 – 2187 empty seats = $6.4M 2010 – 2340 empty seats = $6.8M 2015 – 3000 empty seats = $8.8M 2020 – 2949 empty seats = $8.6M
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* this is about ½ of the money we would receive from having 1974 students enrolled as about ½ would be needed for staffing to accommodate the students. The *5.7M is what would be available to support programs beyond staffing if our schools were at capacity.

And…this is not fun
If we could sustain what we do and retain the quality of our educational programs for children, then that’s exactly what we would be doing. We are compelled to address the issues presented to us by declining enrolment in order to sustain the quality of what we have.

Can’t we just raise money?
Properties currently held (roughly $3-4M):
Lot B , Harmston Avenue Courtenay .94 acres 2.78 acres, 2 acres 1.5 acres, 1.02 acres, 28 acres . 20 acres, 4.5 acres,. 4.0 acres, 5 acres, 3.9 acres,. 0.43 acres, 2.71 acres

Lot A, Harmston Ave, Courtenay, Lot 2, Mission Rd, Courtenay, 8369 Island Highway, Black Creek, Halbe Hall, 7614 Island Highway, Fanny Bay, Parcel H, 4830 Vanier Dr, Courtenay, Mottishaw Road, Courtenay, Crown Isle, Atlas Rd, Courtenay, Black Creek Elem, Black Creek, Lot 3, Linshart Road, Comox, Lot 1, Block E, Guthrie Rd, Comox, Comox Elem, Wallace Av, Comox, Cumberland Elem, Egremont Rd, Cumberland, Union Bay Elem Union Bay
Tsloum Elem Courtenay North

Disposal of assets
Example of use: Sold the property behind the Board Office = $1.4 million; We got to keep it all which is not always the rule. It went to:
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Computers and computer labs – elementary schools ($500,000); Technology Education ($180,000); Fine Arts ($100,000); and We are trying to extend these budget items to complete all our upgrades. The balance is in local capital reserve and also can be used to cover other cost items like BCeSIS.

Local Capital Expenditures
Maintenance Vehicles School Computers Technology Education Equipment (e.g lathes) Musical Instruments Photocopiers Software systems (District –e.g. AS400, BCeSIS) Special Education technologies Special education assistive devices (e.g. lifts) Modifications to schools

Expansion
The Ministry of Education will not fund any expansion or new construction unless our district capacity is at 95%. If you are at 95%, the Ministry fully funds expansions or new construction if projections support the ongoing growth.

The basic issues…
Too many seats, too few kids…

Programs vs. facilities…

Current status
Media alerts, public announcements; Several public and working group meetings; Collation of feedback from all meetings; Formation of Grade Configuration Working Group; 2 weeks to go…

Grade Configuration Working Group
CUPE Aboriginal Representatives

Parents

Community Members

Grade Configuration Working Group

District Staff

Administrators

Community Councilors

Teachers

Grade Configuration Working Group
The task:
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To review all materials to date from the meetings and to generate suggestions for the recommendations that will be contained in the Superintendent’s report to the Board; NOT to make one specific recommendation; To honour the process (e.g. tonight’s meeting was the GCWG’s request and the request of one other group); To pave the way for the report to have integrity and for the Board to have strong options to consider; Next meeting – to review the feedback from tonight and to provide the framework for the Superintendent’s report.

Summary Review of Emails and Correspondence
What is the preferred grade configuration (group consensus)?
Small sample: Preference not clear—fairly balanced view of:
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One transition (K-7 or 8) and (8 or 9-12) and Two transitions (K-5 or 6) and (6-8 or 7-9) and (9-12 or 10-12) Either supported middle school or not—range of middle school support not addressed

Summary Review of Administrators’ Working Group
What is the preferred grade configuration (group consensus)?
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3 groups (K-8 and 9-12) 2 groups (K-7 and 8-12) 2 groups (K-5, 6-8 and 9-12) Middle school concept not supported by the majority of admin.

Summary Review of Teachers’ Working Group
What is the preferred grade configuration (group consensus)?
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Majority preferred K-8 and 9-12 configuration.

Summary Review of Public Meetings
What is the preferred grade configuration (group consensus):
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Inconclusive:
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K-8 and 9-12 ―school within a school‖ K-8 Middle School K-6, 7-9, 10-12 Support for middle school

From preferred configuration to…
The most important issues for each group…

Summary Review of Emails and Correspondence
What is the most important educational issue for the Board to consider?
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Need to ensure supporting infrastructure re: available electives Fewer transitions—remaining with similar groups for longer periods Maintaining sense of community/catchment areas Student readiness of move into a middle school philosophy Potential for leadership opportunities for 7-8s Transportation—concern for increase in busing Completely full schools leaves very little room for services that come into the school, e.g., itinerant/after school care Sustaining electives for middle school students, as well as extracurricular activities Need for consistency Continued community involvement

Summary Review of Administrators’ Working Group
What are the most important issues for the Board to consider:
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Minimize number of transitions Equity (appropriate programs, facilities, staffing) Consistency in configuration across district Sustainability—maintain over long term Transportation Neighbourhood school concept—impact on community Programs over facilities Social impact on students

Summary Review of Teachers’ Working Group
What are the most important issues for the Board to consider?
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Relationship-building in the school community Minimizing the number of transitions Optimize school size—relevant to meeting the learning and physical needs of all within Students first—meet their needs Ensure we provide alternate programs for ―at risk‖ learners Minimize travel times if possible Pay attention to developmental needs Provide enough specialists for quality educational opportunities for students, e.g., PE, music, counselors, etc.

Summary Review of Public Meetings
What are the most important issues for the Board to consider?
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Maintain a breadth of services and programs for all students Maintain electives for grades 7 and 8 Quality of services—variety of electives and support Quality of instruction Protecting special needs programs Maintain broad course offerings (access to all programs) Size of schools/class size Busing/transportation Student transition issues—emotional supports Neighbourhood schools—―sense of community‖—we need to be consistent (rural can be different) Social issues—mixing of ages Meeting all the needs of a child Change > morale > big picture > support for one another Dollars to do what we need to do and sustain it Extra-curricular (consider access)

The Plan – The Vision for the District
Consolidate grades; Propose school closures; Consolidate facilities; Dispose of assets – including properties deemed surplus to educational need; 5. Adjust resource levels to strengthen school programs; 6. Draft firm 3-5 year district plan with projection for 10 years. 1. 2. 3. 4.

Think locally act globally
While we all want to retain our neighbourhood schools it is up to each of us to consider the perspective of the entire district. We have about 8000 children that each day rely on our collective work.

What is the Superintendent’s Role?
Process process process; Facilitator, active listener; Presenter, gatherer of information; and Advisor to the board.

What is the Board’s Role
To make a decision that will, either way, set the foundation for the district for the next decade and beyond.

What is your role?
Participate, question, consider, seek additional information, provide input; and Get people involved.

It’s all a done deal
March – decision on grade configuration April – potential school closures Six months of consultation in school working committees November – decision on school closure(s)

Anything is possible…

Before the scenarios
No recommendations for Hornby and Denman closures. Multiple options in non-middle school models. Far more options possible but these are the options we’ve heard from in our work with the public.

The Scenarios
Status Quo K-5, 6-8, 9-12 K-6, 7-9, 10-12 K-7, 8-10, 11-12 K-7, 8-12 K-8, 9-12

Questions
What advice would you give the Board with respect to their inventory of properties? (note: this is one-time funding) What configuration do you feel would best serve the students of the valley; and Do you feel the configuration is financially sustainable? What issues do you feel are most important for the Board to consider in reaching their decision?

Next Steps
Gather your input and more through email; Meet with Grade Configuration Working Group; Write report for the Board; Committee of the Whole – March 13th Board Meeting – March 27th Committee of Whole – April 10th Board Meeting – April 24th


				
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