October 6, 2020 Public Meeting Highlights |

October 6, 2020 Public Meeting Highlights

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the October 6, 2020 public board meeting was held virtually.

The agenda for the meeting can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1I3nHosPNJSj5cwXYjjZ71MDUSm5-hoKD/view?usp=sharing

1. Ward Review: The board voted in favour of hosting virtual meetings for their electoral boundary ward review this fall, instead of the previously decided in-person consultations. The ward review is being conducted through a contracted third party to review the population, enrolment and size of each of the eight Prairie Rose wards to determine if they should be changed prior to the next municipal election.  More information regarding the ward review process will be sent out to families and constituents later this fall.

2. Badlands Baseball Academy Update: South Central High School Principal Jean Kimber and Badlands Academy Coach Jeff Amos provided an update on the team and the impacts of COVID-19.  This year, despite restrictions, the academy has been able to bring in 14 students to the academy which is only slightly lower than previous years. It was shared that Oyen, being a small town, seemed to an attractive option for parents who are concerned about the pandemic. Coach Amos also provided some stats on the team’s current season and how they plan to navigate through the pandemic.  An overview of the academy’s revenues and expenses was also shared.  The academy will be focusing on small fundraising ventures this year, in comparison to large events such as the annual gala.

3. Transportation Accountability Report: Director of Transportation Derek Beck provided an annual transportation update to the board. In the 2020-2021 school year, Prairie Rose is operating 83 bus routes that travel 16,212 kilometres each day. A total of 1,918 students ride to school on the bus each day. An overview of ride times for students based on grade was also provided as information. The longest ride time is 110 minutes for high school students, whereas the average ride time across grades is between 35 and 42 minutes.  It was noted that while the transportation budget is currently showing a surplus, that will change once final kilometres are calculated for the fall.  It was also shared that bus contractors are having a difficult time recruiting both permanent and spare drivers. A letter was sent out to parents informing them that due to COVID isolation restrictions and driver shortages, it may be likely that a bus will not run for several days.

4. Human Resources Accountability Report: Assistant Superintendent Kal Koch provided an HR report to the board for information.  It was noted that due to enrolment fluctuation (COVID impact) and the addition of an at-home learning program, a handful of staff were transferred and hired to accommodate the various learning models. Across the division for the 2020-2021 year, there are a total of 463 staff employed by the division. Of that number 232 are certified staff (teachers and principals) and 231 are support staff (EA’s, secretaries, librarian, support workers, central office, maintenance, etc.). Of the total division budget, $37,860,812 is dedicated to salaries and benefit costs. It was also shared that although class sizes have decreased due to COVID-19, school staffing was not reduced for the 2020-2021 year. Substitute costs are expected to come in much higher than previous years due to COVID isolation requirements.

5. Financial Accountability Report: Assistant Secretary Candice Hintz provided the year end financial summary for the 2019-2020 school year. Overall, it was shared that the division’s projected deficit for the year is expected to come in $602,800 below the previously projected $1.3 million. Reasons for the lower than expected spending includes reduced salary and benefit and building and maintenance costs due to the closure of school facilities in the spring.

6. Division PD Day Feedback: Deputy Superintendent Reagan Weeks provided a summary of the fall division-wide teacher PD day that took place completely online to accommodate COVID restrictions. The event featured guest speaker Ron Berger who is a highly sought-after academic from Harvard University who spoke directly about student engaged assessment for deeper learning. Overall, staff provided positive feedback about the event and the learning that took place that day. 

7. Enrolment Update: Secretary Treasurer Ryan Boser provided a 2020-2021 enrolment update to the board for information. Due to COVID-19, it was challenging to get a clear understanding of the full impact on the division. Prior to the pandemic, the division was anticipating an enrolment increase of 66 students due to the growth of the CSSHL hockey programs at Eagle Butte High School. However, based on September 30th counts, that number has come in 80.7 below projections. It was noted that 14.2 of those students are enrolled in a new Prairie Rose homeschooling program. In total, 3,088.5 students are enrolled in with Prairie Rose schools with 107 students choosing the at-home learning from home option. At-home learning students may choose to come back into their regular school at any time during the school year.

8. Trustee Resignation: Trustees officially accepted the registration of Redcliff trustee Arnold Frank.  Trustees agreed that as municipal elections are one year away, no by-election will be held to fill the vacant position. The announcement can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1OJwBIZhqbgw1EBDC8EGZhPM6sMA1qusv/view?usp=sharing

9.  Adding the Word Public: Trustees will be asking their parent council groups what they think about adding the word public to the Prairie Rose School Division name. Trustees will share feedback at the next board meeting.