June 2016 Community Update

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Congratulations graduates!   Wishing everyone a delightful summer!

Below are highlights, for the full update please click the following: June 2016 Community Update

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Looking for summer family outing ideas?

A site with lots of them is Toronto 4 Kids

The Tall Ships start the Great Lakes Challenge in Toronto July 1 to 3: Tall Ships Waterfront Fest

Take a pilgrimage to one of Toronto’s Doors of Mercy: Toronto Holy Doors

Evergreen Brick Works Family Scavenger Hunt all summer: Brick Works Family Scavenger Hunt

 

TCDSB Ward 9 elementary school to be named Pope Francis Catholic School

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At the June 6, 2016, meeting of Corporate Affairs, the Board of Trustees approved the recommendation of the St Luke and Senhor Santo Cristo school parent communities to rename the consolidated school site POPE FRANCIS Catholic School as of September, 2016.  This renaming fulfills the desire of the communities as detailed in last year’s Accommodation Review Committee report to the board of trustees.  Ours will be the first Pope Francis Catholic School in Canada – a very appropriate name for the community as the school’s parish is St Francis of Assisi, after whom our pope took his name.  Staff will announce the date of ‘ribbon cutting’ and blessing at the start of the school year.

 

Trustees Approve $1.078 billion Balanced Budget for 2016 – 2017

The Board of Trustees approved a balanced budget of $1.078 billion for 2016 – 2017 at the Student Achievement Committee meeting of June 2, 2016. In order to achieve this, Trustees approved $16.4 million in cuts.  In March, 2016, Trustees approved a total of $7.3 million in cuts for 2016 – 2017 as part of our four-year recovery plan. However, since then, Transportation contract costs have increased by $4.7 million annually (no additional provincial funding) and Occasional Teacher costs were $8.6 million more than expected (not funded) – hence the need to instead make $16.4 million in cuts.

TCDSB is entering Year 2 of our 4-year recovery plan as a result of $32.9 million in Ministry of Education funding cuts to the Board since 2014, with further announced cuts of approximately $8.5 million in each of the next two school years. Given this, savings had to be found where our spending is greater than our Ministry funding, which unfortunately includes:  Fifth Block teachers (21 positions), Secondary Schools Student Supervisors (10 positions), Child Youth Workers (5 positions), Special Education Support Workers (56 positions), and unfunded transportation, including students who are not, based on long-standing policy, eligible for transportation. In addition, there were board administration and central office cuts ($2.85 million), energy management efficiencies and school cleaning / maintenance efficiencies.

Transportation Cuts: Regarding these cuts, the board has not changed its Transportation policy. Our policy has been, and remains, that we do not provide busing for students living within 1.5km of their school (for the TDSB it is 1.6km or more depending on the grade) unless certain criteria are met, including students with special needs, students crossing a hazard, or students who have a medical condition that prohibits them from walking to school.  The board has transported students on an ‘exception’ basis, but unfortunately these exceptions – for which we do not receive funding – cost the board $2.5 million annually.

 

Start A Walking School Bus Program at YOUR School!

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The Board decision to no longer provide transportation to those students for whom an ‘exception’ had been made in the past will have an impact some families.  Two local actions which could greatly reduce this impact are:

  1. Before-and-after-school programming: about 25 – 30 interested families are needed to make it viable
  2. Walking School Bus program.

What is a Walking School Bus?  A walking school bus is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults. If that sounds simple, it is, and that’s part of the beauty of the walking school bus.  It can be as informal as two families taking turns walking their children to school to as structured as a route with meeting points, a timetable and a regularly rotated schedule of trained volunteers.

Walking School Programs already exist at the TCDSB.  In Ward 9, Our Lady of Lourdes (OLOL) has had a successful program since December 2013 with the help of Green Communities Canada.  Over 70% of OLOL students now walk!

Interested parents councils can take on this initiative.  In doing so, this walking program welcomes the walking of a few parents too, providing supportive adult supervision.  Parents often cite safety issues as one of the primary reasons they are reluctant to allow their children to walk to school.

For more on the Walking School Bus talk with your principal and check outhttp://www.walkingschoolbus.org/

 

Ministry Approves Funding for a New School at St Raymond / Renovations at St Luke

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The province has committed $9.4 million to build a new elementary school to meet the consolidated needs of St. Raymond and St. Bruno Catholic students on the St Raymond site. The announcement was made on April 28th by MPP Han Dong at St. Raymond Catholic School.  The commitment includes 49 child care spaces for families in this community on site.  Public discussions will begin this coming school year regarding initial planning steps.

The Province has also committed $240,000 as an investment in St. Luke Catholic School. This is in addition to the committed board monies to improve fencing, create a St Luke / Senhor Santo Cristo memory wall, and improved “curb-appeal”.  The community also indicated their desire for security cameras, and as staff noted at the March public Transition meeting, the board has criteria to determine whether St Luke is a priority for security cameras.  Staff will come back this fall to let us know whether this can be funded by the board.   Discussions will take place this coming school year regarding how the Ministry funds will be used to make further improvements, as well as to identify the desired enhanced programming options for students.

 

Elementary School Teachers Work-To-Rule Update

Since my April, 2016, Community update, while the Board has ratified local collective agreements with all other labour groups, elementary teachers continue their work-to-rule.

The Director has confirmed that discussions between the board and the teacher unions continue and I remain hopeful that an agreement will be reached soon.

 

Increasing Electoral Fairness for Catholic School Supporters

Following approval of my motion to trustees, the Chair wrote the Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing, recommending changes in support of the principles of fairness and good government, including:

  • Amending the Municipal Elections Act to include provisions that direct the clerk to ensure MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corporation) delivers the most accurate Catholic voters’ list possible
  • For the Minister to direct MPAC to focus on listing issues impacting Catholic school supporters.
  • School support should automatically follow a person when they move from one property to another
  • Direction to the clerk of a municipality to develop a plan to ensure polling stations have sufficient resource and trained staff to support Catholic voters in respect of school trustees.

 

Accountability Framework for Special Education

At June’s Student Achievement Committee meeting, staff provided an update on the Accountability Framework for Special Education.  Given changes to the way Special Education is delivered and overseen, staff have committed to providing regular public reports on a range of metrics related to the achievement and well being of students in Special Education to ensure student needs are being met, impacts are known and required action is taken.  The report included:

  • Overall achievement of Special Education students
  • Safe Schools information for 2014 – 2015
  • Special Education Program Implementation, and
  • Ongoing work of the following accountability framework committees:
  1. Autism
  2. Behaviour
  3. Blind/Low Vision (BLV)
  4. Deaf/ Hard of Hearing (DHH)
  5. Gifted
  6. Language Impairment (LI)
  7. Learning Disability (LD)
  8. Mild Intellectual Disability (MID)
  9. Multiple Exceptionalities/Developmental Delays (ME/DD).

For more details go to: Student Achievement Agenda

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