The Board gave approval to the 2022-23 annual budget bylaw in the amount of $94,654,339 at its meeting on Tuesday at the District Education Support Centre (DESC).
The Board of Education’s annual budget process begins each year in February. A three-year student full-time enrolment (FTE) projection summary for the following school year is required to be submitted to Ministry by mid-February. Based on these projections and the funding rates established by government, a preliminary summary of operating grants is provided to all districts by mid-March. As announced on March 11th, 2022, the Ministry of Education and Child Care’s Operating Grant block funding rates remained unchanged from the previous year. After much work and many budget committee, committee of the whole, and board meetings, the annual budget was presented to trustees for final approval at the June meeting.
Culler walked the Board through the changes since it was presented in May, particularly as there was some updated numbers in student support (see 2022-23 preliminary annual budget briefing note).
Several trustees voiced concern about the contingency being less than one per cent but Culler noted that the district is getting indications that enrolment will be higher than projected (which should increase funding), and that additional funding, along with the $400,000 contingency which was set aside for inclusive education, could be used if necessary.
Vice-Chair Tennile Lachmuth noted that she thought this year’s budget was “scraping us by” with as much as possible of the funding going towards supports for students.
Trustee Marty Gibbons commented he was not in support of the budget because he didn’t think “as a Board we are hitting the mark on inclusive education”.
Trustee Quentin Bruns, who was chair of the budget committee, added that he was “blown away” that in a year when there is flat funding, decreased enrolment, increased costs and other challenges, they were able to add in a speech language pathologist position. “It is nothing short of remarkable.”
“An exceptional amount of care was taken to have as little negative impact directly on students as possible. I honestly don’t know what else we could have done considering the financial challenges we faced,” he added.
Board Chair Amanda Krebs echoed Bruns saying with what money they had, she feels they did a good job with the budget.
Trustee Marianne VanBuskirk thanked the district’s finance team, the budget committee and budget chair Bruns for their efforts on the budget.
Long Service Awards
Just before the business meeting started, the Board recognized long term employees who have been with the district either 20 or 30 years. Those honoured included:
30 Year Awards
- Dianne Prystupa (Certified Education Assistant at Highland Park)
- Deena Reid (CEA at Hillcrest)
- Donna Tennent (CEA at North Shuswap)
20 Year Awards
- Kelly Backus (clerical lead hand at Transportation)
- Jodi Crocker (teacher at South Broadview)
- Doug Cumming (principal at Ranchero)
- Adrian Decker (teacher at Storefront)
- Dan DeRosa (teacher at Jackson and Sullivan)
- Nicolas Didier (teacher at Sullivan)
- Wade Fraser (teacher at PVSS)
- Leanne Gecse (teacher at Hillcrest)
- Christina Lepine (teacher at PVSS)
- Tiffany Lombaert (teacher at Jackson)
- Sharon Mitchell (teacher at Hillcrest)
- Gary Owens (school bus driver)
- Karen Quinton (teacher at North Canoe)
- Gord Ritchie (principal at Hillcrest)
- Kathy Schmidt (secretary in charge at Ranchero)
- Janu Smith (teacher at South Broadview)
- Cindy Spottock (secretary in charge at Hillcrest)
- Peter Tujik (teacher at PVSS)
- David Van Bergeyk (teacher at Sullivan)
- Shawn Weeks (teacher at AES)
Five Year Major and Minor Capital Plan
The Board approved both the 2023-24 major capital plan submission and the 2023-24 minor capital plan submission to Ministry of Education and Child Care. Culler explained the Annual Five-Year Capital Plan submissions from boards of education are used by the Ministry to determine which priority capital projects may be included in the Ministry’s Capital Plan for the following fiscal year. The capital plan submissions also provide the Ministry with important insight into future year capital priorities, which can be used for longer term government planning and the determination of potential future capital funding requirements for the public K-12 education system.
In the five-year major capital plan the Board once again requested a new elementary school for downtown Salmon Arm and the Len Wood replacement gym. These have been the Board’s requests for a number of years now.
On the minor capital side, under the School Enhancement Program (SEP) the district is requesting support for four projects for heating and ventilation upgrades at Len Wood, Jackson, North Canoe and A.L. Fortune. The district is also requesting support for two projects under the playground equipment program, for Armstrong Elementary and Highland Park.
2022-23 Annual Facility Grant
Culler also presented, for the Board’s information, the annual facility grant submission, which is intended for annual facility projects required to maintain facilities through their anticipated life and to prevent premature deterioration of these facilities. In recognition of the need for routine maintenance of school facilities, especially regarding roofs, this allowance was provided as part of school boards’ operating budgets as a supplementary funding source for projects regularly required to extend the life of existing facilities. The amount of a board of education’s annual facility grant is calculated by the Ministry of Education and Child Care using a formula based on student enrolment and average age of facilities, with an adjustment made for unique geographic factors. Each district must include a priority project list for the funding, which Culler noted Director of Operations Travis Elwood, his team, and school principals have worked together to develop.
Bid to Host the BC Senior Games
The Board of Education passed three motions at its meeting in support of the The City of Salmon Arm’s bid to host the 2023, 2025, or 2026 55+ BC Games. In an earlier letter to the Board, Mayor Alan Harrison outlined that the Games typically attracts 2,500 to 4,000 participants and non-participants in 20-25 different sports over four days of competition. The request for support includes using some school district facilities and resources at Shuswap Middle School (gym and outdoor multi-purpose courts), Salmon Arm Secondary Sullivan (gym), Jackson (gym, outdoor tennis courts, and sports fields), and access to school buses for transportation. At the meeting, Councillor Debbie Cannon, project co-ordinator for Salmon Arm Economic Development Society Caitlin Thompson, City of Salmon Arm’s Chief Administrative Officer Erin Jackson, and Shuswap Recreation Society General Manager Darby Boyd attended, with Cannon and Thompson giving an overview of the bid and asking for the school district’s support.
After discussion, including some concerns around ensuring student safety, transportation and driver availability, and about the short notice as the City needed to have the bid package in by June 30, the Board passed a motion supporting the bid, another to write a formal letter of support to the City regarding their bid to host the Games, and a third motion approving the use of requested facilities in accordance with terms and conditions acceptable to the Board.
“It is a great opportunity for us to show we are a community partner,” commented Lachmuth.
Superintendent Donna Kriger started her report by recognizing National Indigenous People’s Day, noting it was an opportunity to celebrate the rich culture, history, heritage, and languages of Indigenous Peoples as well as having gratitude for the lands on which we live.
“I’d like to begin this evening by congratulating the Grads of 2022. These students have endured some of the most trying times in recent history and despite the many challenges they faced, the Class of 2022 has persevered. The diplomas these young people have received, not only represent the academic requirements they’ve met, but for many they also signify the part time jobs they’ve juggled, the family commitments they have met, the memories made during band trips or athletic competitions. They represent the pep talks and encouragement as well as the strong persuasion at times to get things done.”
Kiger also thanked the elementary schools for welcoming the Salmon Arm Grads for a visit earlier this week! “This is where their journey originated and thank you for giving them a wonderful start! Whatever the journey that each student took to get to their graduation, they are all meaningful and all equally important – so congratulations Grads of 2022!”
She added that June is also a special month for the 40 plus SD83 employees who have decided to retire. Many of these folks have dedicated 20, 25, 30+ years of service to the students and families of this district. “These people have lived through many changes over the years and have made significant contributions to their schools and communities. I want to personally thank each retiree for their years of service. On behalf of the district, I wish them good health and happiness as they embark on new adventures.”
“I’d like to congratulate retiring principals Denise Moore, Jeff Abbott, and Glen Overgaard for the excellent leadership they have provided over the years. As I’ve had opportunity to get to know them, I’ve learned they are committed to providing students with the best educational opportunities possible. With these retirements, it was an opportunity to revisit community and school needs to determine who the “best fit” was in each school. I, along with the Senior Leadership Team, are excited for the team we have in place as we head into the 2022-23 school year.”
“I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the First Nations Education Council, District Parent Advisory Council, North Okanagan Shuswap Teachers’ Association, and Canadian Union of Public Employees for the work we’ve been able to accomplish together this year. We’ve faced many challenges together, but I believe we have always maintained a positive relationship and believed the positive intent of one another.”
Canadian Champion and more!
Congratulations to Salmon Arm Secondary Grade 12 student Eve Maxwell, who is the new national Under 19 wrestling champion! Eve claimed the title at the Wrestling Canada Championships in Calgary June 10-12. She won a gold in Greco-Roman wrestling and a silver in freestyle, all the while wrestling with a fractured hand, an injury she sustained in her first match of the tourney. Eve is planning to attend the University of Calgary in September where she will be pursuing a degree in environmental law while continuing her wrestling.
Kriger also recognized two SD83 athletes that took home medals in javelin, and the other students representing the district at the B.C. High School Track and Field championships held recently in Langley. Anna Melvin of Len Wood won a silver in her age division while Brynn Smith claimed bronze in hers. “It is remarkable that our athletes did so well despite not having a track to practice on.”
Kriger gave a shout out to Twin Anchors for providing the International Student Program with a year end houseboat trip. “Also allow me to share a heartfelt “goodbye” to our International Students who will be heading home over the next week or two. We are appreciative of the ways they added to our school communities. A thank you to the host families for making this a memorable experience. The program relies on these wonderful families – thank you to Rob MacAulay for his work in growing this program – best wishes as he returns to a school principalship at Len Wood in the fall.”
Speaking of Len Wood, Kriger also congratulated student Emmett Moore and his dad James, who were recently honoured by the Lifesaving Society of BC with Silver medals. The pair rescued two people from drowning after their canoe flipped on Griffin Lake (near Revelstoke) last September.
“A big congratulations to Red Seal Chef Nimmi Erasmus and the culinary arts program at Salmon Arm Secondary School (Sullivan Campus) for being the recipient of this year’s Farm to School BC Pollinator Award. Nimmi, who instructs the program at SAS, has been integrating Farm to School principles into the SAS cafeteria, including sourcing from local farmers when possible, incorporating seasonal menus, and engaging the next generation of culinary artists!”
Kriger noted that Carlin Elementary Middle School was thrilled to find out that it will receive a $8,200 Farm to School Canada Grant for the upcoming school year! The grants create opportunities for students to access healthy, local food at school and participate in hands-on learning that connects them to the local food system and community members involved in it, she added.
“There have been many wonderful activities over the past month in our schools, too numerous to mention, however I wanted to highlight a few including that the second district leadership summit took place at the DESC at the end of May, Jump Rope for Heart events which took place in many schools, wonderful plays and concerts including the Big Band Dance over recent weeks, and some great field trips.”
She also congratulated Vice Chair Tennile Lachmuth who was recently elected the chair of the local Thompson Okanagan branch of the B.C. School Trustees’ Association.
Welcome Kindergarten students!
Kriger noted that the district returned to “in-person” Kindergarten registration for the fall. “I want to thank all the staff who made this possible and we look forward to having these little ones join us in the fall.”
Session for Prospective trustees
“To those in the audience who might be interested in being a Board member, there is a session for prospective trustees interested in running in the upcoming election on June 28 at 6 p.m. at the District Education Support Centre (DESC), which is located at 341 Shuswap St. SW, Salmon Arm. This session is aimed at giving those interested in running a look at the roles and responsibilities of being a school board trustee. It will be led by Secretary Treasurer Dale Culler and myself, with supporting information from the B.C. School Trustees’ Association and district staff.”
She also reminded parents that SD83 transportation department is implementing a new app which will allow them to know where the bus is in real time. Information has been emailed out and can also be found on the SD83 website.
“Finally, I’d like to conclude by sharing some thanks. A year ago, I was saying goodbye to colleagues in a school district two provinces away. I want to thank the team around me who have made me feel welcome, who have supported me with all my questions and who have showed up to do the work. This has been an amazing opportunity for me and a wonderful place to call home.”
“To the Board, I want to also thank you for your support throughout the year. I am proud of the work you have involved yourselves in and accomplished. I know each one of you are committed to a “student first” mindset and work diligently to ensure that SD83 is a great place to learn and work. Thank you for always endeavouring to do the right thing, even when that means it might be unpopular.”
Last day of school
Kriger noted the last day of school for our students is Thursday, June 23. This is a shortened day with school dismissed, and buses picking up students, four hours earlier than usual. “I’m hoping all of our students, families and staff have a great summer!”
The Board of Education approved the school fees for the 2022-23 school year as a maximum of $80 (which would include school purchased supply package, agenda, lock, activity fee, and cultural performances). These fees are to be set in consultation with the school’s parent advisory council. There are also charges for activities that are optional or extra-curricular in nature, but subject to Policy 8020 and its regulation. It was also noted that a $5,000 hardship fund was established in 2018 to assist smaller rural schools with cost recovery for unpaid fees.
Improvement to Playschool Area
The Board gave approval to a plan by the Armstrong Playschool Association, which has a portable on the grounds of Armstrong Elementary School, to make some improvements to its playground area. This includes:
- Increasing green space and including a tunnel;
- Creating a larger gravel space in front to address a drainage issue; and
- Adding a solid wood fence along the back to replace the existing chain link fence.
Culler noted district staff had reviewed the submission and were supportive.
Lachmuth, the chair of the policy committee, reported that the committee had two policies to repeal (which have been replaced by policies approved at previous Board meetings). Motions were passed by the Board to repeal Policy 9010 Dress Code (now replaced by Policy 315 Student Dress Guidelines) and Policy 8030 Curriculum and Instruction (now replaced by Policy 320 Curriculum and Instruction).
Committee of the Whole
Chair Trustee Amanda Krebs reported that since the last Board meeting two Committee of the Whole meetings had been held. The first focussed on the budget and the second was on Indigenous Education and Early Learning. Recordings of these sessions can be found here.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
SD83 Behaviour Consultant Karmen Krahn gave the Board an overview of the Circle of Courage and how it is used to help SD83 students. Krahn noted the origins of program were from studies about how traditional Indigenous cultures reared children without resorting to coercive discipline. She explained that the premise is that all behaviour is driven by an unmet need, and the need behind the behaviour is always valid. The four needs are belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. Krahn told the Board this program is being used successfully in a number of SD83 schools and she is passionate about it as she has seen how it helps kids.
BC School Trustees’ Association Update
Lachmuth updated trustees that the fall branch meeting will be held later this year and virtually due to elections and the timing of the BCSTA trustee academy.
BC Public Sector Employers Association (BCPSEA) Update
Bruns reported that BCPSEA sent out a strategic planning survey, which received 102 responses. This feedback will be used to help BCPSEA develop an updated strategic plan.
First Nations Education Council (FNEC) Update
VanBuskirk reported the FNEC meeting on June 8 was held at Splatsin Centre. Discussions were held on Indigenous grad, MyBlueprint, the J.L. Jackson Pantry, Shuswap Foodboxes, and a department budget update.
Bruns reported that he had the good fortune to attend the Eagle River Secondary and A.L. Fortune grads. “That’s always a real highlight and one of the great things about being a trustee.” He wanted to comment the people of Sicamous and Enderby areas. “The support these two communities give their grads is marvellous.” He said there was $36,000 donated to the ERS grads and nearly $50,000 at Fortune. “Really incredible community support.” Bruns also noted that he has decided not to seek re-election but is happy to report that there is at least one candidate already.
VanBuskirk said she was really happy to be back to attending things in-person and told the Board about attending the downtown beautification with the Sullivan grads, the student leadership summit, the Indigenous graduation, the Hillcrest Spring Carnival, and the Storefront grad. “I’m looking forward to Sullivan’s grad as well.” She sent out a thanks to all those involved in organizing these events and opportunities for students.
The next regular Board of Education meeting is set for Thursday, September 15 at 6 p.m.