Public board of education trustees seem to want to get paid more - want to hire more educational assistants as well.

News 100 yellowBy Walter Byj

January 13th, 2016


The Halton District School Board started the year with an agenda that had few action items but a number of” For Action “and information points. This was going to be a quick, quick meeting

The first item was Trustee Collard’s (Burlington) Ombudsman motion which passed unanimously.

Collard Amy

Burlington trustee on the public Board of Education Amy Collard.

Be it resolved that the Halton District School Board trustees and staff review the current internal process for public complaints in light of the Office of the Ombudsman new mandate to investigate public complaints regarding school boards and report back to the Board by the second meeting in April, 2016.

This was in response to the recent mandate by the province to allow the Ombudsman’s office to investigate complaints within the school system. This motion will attempt to find a solution whereby the local board would have a role in the process.

This was followed by the board unanimously passing the “Board Recognition Program”. The policy had been posted on the board website for the required 25 days. This program will recognize those individuals within the Halton board that show exemplary contributions. It is open to students, staff and the community.

The board then passed on to the” For Action” portion of the meeting. This usually gives notice of motions that will be acted on in following meetings.

Be it resolved that the Halton District School Board approve the revised Trustee Honoraria to reflect the adjustment to the enrollment amount per Trustee Honoraria Policy.

This motion will be voted on at the next meeting.

The next motion was the recommendations of the striking committee (They recommend which committees trustees will sit on)

Be it resolved that the Halton District School Board approve the trustee committee appointments as outlined in Report 16003.

Although this was to be voted on at the next meeting, the trustees unanimously agreed to wave the rules and voted on the motion which was passed unanimously.
The next item concerned the hiring of additional Educational Assistants for the Halton Board.

Be it resolved the Halton District School Board authorize the Director to allocate 35 additional Educational Assistants to the system to address the special education needs of students, AND THAT the expenditure of approximately $775,000 (February 1-June 30, 2016) be funded through Contingency funds and anticipated 2015/16 Surplus funds
During the budget planning for this year, the decision was made to maintain the same level of staff as the previous year. However, a large amount of unanticipated students with special needs entered the Halton system and this necessitated an increase in EA.

Grebenc - expressive hands

Andrea Grebenc represent Burlington on the public board of education.

During the discussion period, Superintendent Zonneveld said all 35 would not be needed immediately but that 25 would start right away. Chair Amos requested that the rules be waved so that this motion could be voted on today. Trustee Grebenc (Burlington) was cautious in waving the rules as she felt the public might want some input on this motion. However, when the vote to wave the rules was taken, it was unanimous.

The following discussion brought up a number of points;

How can the Educational Assistant funding process be improved
Where will the Educational Assistants come from?
Monies need to be built into the budget for next year
Should additional funds come from the provincial government?
We should analyze the types of needs that are presented

The motion then went to a vote and was passed unanimously.

Director Miller, on behalf of Superintendent Dyson, presented a brief overview of recruitment for French Immersion teachers. The Halton Board will continue to attend Career Fairs in an ongoing effort to hire enough teachers for the growing French Immersion uptake in Halton. With fewer education graduates next year, the future is somewhat grim. Some graduates prefer to stay close to home (most schools are not close to Halton) while other boards hire at the fair while Halton hires later. This, coupled with a high demand from other boards will make the recruitment process difficult.

Hammil + Miller

Director of |Education Stuart Miller, on the right, chats with MM Robinson teacher Dave Hammel

Director Miller then added a few of his own comments. He noted that the board website is in the initial stages of an overhaul. Slight improvements to date have made the site more user friendly and there is a more easy flow in accessing information. Videos of the recent Program Viability presentations are available along with a questionnaire wanting public input on English/French programming in Halton.

Miller pointed out that the board will now be entering the second phase of program viability by getting public input and that they have met with the company that will conduct the focus groups.

One hour and eleven minutes after the start, the meeting concluded.

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