Presentation on theme: "Considering School Closure Mount Crescent Elementary School November 17, 2009."— Presentation transcript:
Considering School Closure Mount Crescent Elementary School November 17, 2009
Please register to be on the speakers list if you have not already done so See Tina Fuchs at the desk and she will place you on the list. Reminder that presentations are to be a maximum of five minutes each to allow everyone an opportunity to speak.
Introductions Board & Staff Members Present: – Board Chair, Kathie Ward – Board Vice Chair, Ken Clarkson – Trustee Susan Carr – Trustee Mike Huber – Trustee Eleanor Palis – Trustee Dave Rempel – Trustee Stepan Vdovine – Superintendent, Jan Unwin – Deputy Superintendent, Stewart Sonne – Director, Laurie Meston – Director, David Vandergugten – Principal, Lisa Lawrance – Communications Officer, Seamus Nesling – Others
Context What is the projected financial situation in SD42 over the next several years? Where would the money being saved go to?
Projected Financial Situation The school district will not be getting increased funding from the Province to meet additional financial pressures. We will be expected to cover additional costs such as: – Additional Special Education costs – Increasing Operating Costs – Student Choice – HST – Carbon Tax – Labour Market Increases – And any other Ministry surprises ( AFG, Community Links) All with less money coming in
Projected Financial Situation cont’d. The school district is still projecting declining enrollment and as a result our grant funding will be reduced in relation to lower numbers of students. This will cause us to continue to have to look across this district for places to find large sums of money just to maintain the services we currently have. This is why we have possible school closure on our list of ways to keep services across the district for all kids. We are at the point where we have nowhere else to look for money without cutting people and programs across the district.
Savings If Mt. Crescent and Riverside elementary schools were to close, the money saved by both schools closing will be at minimum an amount of $380,000 per school and at least another $50,000 per school in possible facilities secondary usage. The total savings will be in the neighbourhood of $860,000 per year and each year following. This money will be used to try to maintain what we currently have due to increased expectations with the same amount of dollars.
School closure/programs and people If we are unable to achieve savings through either or both school closure processes then we will need to look to cut some of the following programs or people. As always there will be consultation and process used but we are forced into a “no other place to turn” scenario.
Class size Specialty programs such as: IB, elementary band, French immersion, electives in high school …. Special compensation for smaller schools Non-enrolling teachers such as: district facilitators, counsellors, librarians, etc Special Education services SEAs and CCWs Clerical time School fees Bill 33 money Administration To find money in response to declining enrollment and increased financial pressures we will need to look at:
On a broader district level we will need to look at possible financial savings by analyzing: Transportation Two-week spring break More school closures Common calendars Pro-D only on common Pro-D days/focus days Supplies School accounts Efficiencies tools
This is all very difficult Nobody in this room wants to recommend closing schools. We are looking to find ways to continue to service all students across the district with equity and access in mind. The province as well as all other school districts are in very hard financial times. This will continue for some years to come.
Program Answers to new questions raised by Parents (We have grouped and categorized the answers.) Each member of Sr. Staff will speak to various parts of the program. Answers to questions raised by Trustees. Presentations by public members.
District Enrolment and Transition Process Decisions about student placement will be based on the stated criteria for enrollment or transfer. These include: o In catchment first o Out of catchment with siblings o Out of catchment with no sibling o All subject to space being available
Timelines in the event of a decision to close Parents would receive registration forms that would allow for transfer to ‘new’ school. That would happen before the elementary transfer deadline of March 19 th, Director of Elementary Education would meet with Principals to determine available space and best learning environment. Parents would be informed of these decisions by April 6 th, 2010.
In the event that Mt. Crescent closes, we would be willing to: 1.Contact every parent with an opportunity to make a decision where they wish their child to attend. 2.Move programs such as Universal Design for Learning project, laptop program, transportation for extremely vulnerable students and breakfast program to Glenwood.
In the event that Mt. Crescent closes 3.Adjust catchments based on criteria previously established – safety, student population, road access, common sense. 4.Guarantee that current Mt. Crescent students/parents, regardless of home address, can enroll at Glenwood in Move appropriate resources to Glenwood to meet the needs of all students who attend there.
Facilities If a school closes, schools in the surrounding areas will have enough room to accommodate students from the closed school. Daycares are private businesses who operate on a year to year contract. Building envelope repairs and/or seismic upgrading do not “close a school” down. A transition team would be formed to work with parents, admin, teachers and support staff to find appropriate placements for students who are unsure where the best “fit” for them would be.
Rationale for Consideration of School Closure There are many reasons that schools are closed: – Facilities – Financial Impact – Educational Opportunities – Enrollment Numbers Demographic Projections
Demographics – Mount Crescent
Safety The safety of our students is paramount. As part of the transition plan if schools were to close, SD42 staff will meet with parents to address safety issues that are within our control. The district will also work closely with the municipality on student safety issues.
Resources Many schools in the district offer engaging and innovative programming including laptop programs, the use of smart boards, fine arts programs, etc. Program options would depend on which school students attend. In the face of significant budget issues it may be very challenging for the district to continue to maintain these programs at any school.
Impact on Students - Achievement Our goal in all our schools is to maintain a learning environment that fosters and supports students learning and growth. If the decision is to close MC, in order to ensure that there is continuity of programming between schools we would: – Put a significant focus on “transitioning” ensuring that information, ideas, programming that have been successful are shared – including information pertaining to class placement in the new school. – In situations where the student needs are complex and/or parents are very concerned about the transition, there would be meetings set up with parents, present school staff, receiving school staff to discuss the specific child’s needs. This would include: information about learning styles, strategies, and IEP goals, objectives, strategies.
Impact on Students – Vulnerability We recognize that many of the students who attend MC are vulnerable in regards to academic achievement due to many factors. We have other schools in the district – Glenwood being one of them - who also have a higher vulnerability rate. There are supports in place at MC and other schools to address vulnerability such as – CCW time, breakfast programs, increased support teacher and SEA time; assisting students with getting to school; school wide positive recognition and reinforcement programs, adapted PE, life skills training, etc.”
Another advantage of a larger student population, is the ability to accommodate student needs in regards to placement and programming options. These can be enhanced as there are more options for placement and the ability to “match” students and teachers. A further advantage is that with a larger student body the amount of time that itinerant staff are in the building is increased as they are based on student numbers, e.g. counselling, CCW, school psychology time, speech and language. Impact on Students – Larger School
Impact on Students – Support Services All schools are staffed on the same base formula for teacher FTE, support teacher FTE and librarians. SEA time allocations are also based on district criteria. CCW time is provided based on vulnerability and school request. Schools with high levels of vulnerable students such as MC, GL, HAM, EL, HP, receive a slightly higher level of support teacher time. This level of service would continue. However, the district has provided additional time for very small schools to avoid multi-age groupings and Bill 33 issues due to small number of classes, etc. This will be very challenging for us to maintain next year regardless of closure due to financial issues.
Impact on Students with Special Needs Transition for children with special needs particularly those with autism or high anxiety can be challenging. We see this particularly when students transition to high school. What we have found to be beneficial to reduce the issues are a collaboratively developed transition plan as part of the IEP which includes some or all of the following: – Gradual transition beginning in the spring, – Front loading of change using social stories – Adults in the child’s life speak and act positively about the change – Materials that the child uses at the present school are transitioned to the new school – Introductions to new staff and peers in a structured way over time – contact if appropriate – Indication of what support will look like in the new year in the new school
Impact on Students with Special Needs cont. Programs that are in place to support student anxiety etc. such as Taming the Worry Dragons can be used during the transition Change helps to build resiliency in children, if the change is presented in a positive supportive manner.
Impact on Students - Attendance In any situation where a child is struggling to attend school we would address the needs on an individual basis. This would be in consultation with parents, physician, counsellor, teacher, etc.
Impact on Students – Testing & Support As part of the transition plan, waitlists for Psych Ed assessment, Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language etc. will need to be analyzed in order to determine a student’s current position on the waitlist. It is possible that the district may need to increase access to these services at receiving schools for a period of time or consider summer assessment time. Current supports that are necessary for the student to be successful should be outlined in the IEP.
Impact on Students – Issues in Schools If parents have struggles with teachers or administrators in any school we have a collaboratively developed appeals process which can be found on our website under “Parents.” It clearly indicates the process to use if you have a concern with any teacher or with any administrator.
Trustee Questions How has legislation changed on what to do with closed schools?
Legislation Changes The school closure process would not involve any consideration of disposal of the school, as the proposed future use for both schools would continue to be educational for the school district.
Trustee Questions What are some possible secondary uses considered for each school and what are the financial implications of such secondary usage ?
Possible Secondary Facilities Uses Mount Crescent Elementary: – School use could be converted over to a Secondary School Annex to provide education instruction to Secondary students. – The expansion of the use for secondary school instruction would eliminate the need for portables on the Maple Ridge Secondary school site. This move would improve the learning environment and save money on repairs and maintenance of the portables.
Trustee Questions If either or both schools were to close, when would catchment review be done? What is the process for registration at schools in SD42 and what are the time lines?
Trustee Questions – The catchment review process would begin as soon as the decision is made. – Whether there is school closure or not boundaries will need to be reviewed particularly in the East. – The goal would be to complete the process by mid January so that parents have knowledge of the catchments prior to February 8 th when kindergarten registration occurs.
Trustee Questions Are there any plans to recommend closing other schools in the near future?
Closing Schools in the Near Future The factors used in determining school use are well documented. These factors, including financial impact, facilities, educational opportunities, and enrollment are examined every year as part of the mandate of the Board of Education. We would like to maintain neighborhood schools, but there comes a time when the facts cause us to take a responsible look at every possibility.
Presentations An opportunity for everyone to ask their questions. We will hear all presentations in booked order. Please limit presentations to five minutes.
For further input: On-line or Phone line
Thank you for coming and sharing your thoughts These are very difficult financial times and the trustees will be asked to make some very challenging decisions over the remainder of their term. It is important that we clarify that there has been no recommendation made at this time by senior staff. It is also important to note that there has been no decision discussed by trustees at this point.
What’s next? Senior Team will meet and analyze all relevant data and information between now and December 4 th. At that time senior team will make formal recommendations to the Board of Education. On Monday, December 7 th, the recommendations will be part of the Public Board package available to all who wish to see them.