Gold Trail school board briefs

From the Apr. 17 monthly meeting of the School District 74 Board of Education.

Notes from the Gold Trail School Board of Education meeting in Ashcroft on Apr. 17.

Roll Call: Chair Carmen Ranta and trustees Valerie Adrian, Larry Casper, James MacArthur, Nancy Rempel, Christopher Roden and Mavourneen Varcoe-Ryan.

District Dogwood Scholarship

Trustee Christoper Roden reported that the District has been allotted seven Dogwood Scholarships this year, which is up from three last year. The scholarships offer $1,000 each to graduating students.

Trustee Mavourneen Varcoe-Ryan was surprised at the increase. “I thought it was based on enrolment,” she said.

Superintendent Teresa Downs said that it was, but that the Ministry is trying to balance out the inequities of Districts with low enrolment whenever they have the opportunity. “This is good news for this year’s grads,” she said.

Electronic Attendance

Trustee Roden noted that the Education Committee will try using electronic attendance at its June meeting at the Board Office. The question came up at the March Education Committee meeting and the District asked for input from its stakeholders.

Trustee Varcoe-Ryan asked if that meant videoconferencing equipment would be set up in each school and principals would attend to open and close the schools.

“We’re still working on the logistics,” replied Roden.

Annual Facilities Grant

Trustees adopted Bylaw 126423 2012/13 Annual Facilities Grant and will request $656,781 from the Ministry – the maximum amount they are allowed.

The Ministry has listed the amount that each school district is allowed, and broken it into sums for capital and sums for operating expenses related to the capital expenses. In Gold Trail’s case, that works out to $489,600 for capital and $167,481 for operating.

School District 36 Surrey is eligible for just over $11 million, which is the most that any of the school districts are allowed.

Learning Improvement Fund

Trustees reviewed a letter from the Ministry regarding the Learning Improvement Fund.

“The $37 million in reduced operating expenses from the strike action by BCTF members will be retained by the Education sector,” said the letter. “The 2012/13 Learning Improvement Fund has been increased from $30 million to $60 million while $7 million of reduced operating expenses will remain with school districts… to be used by school boards for educational priorities in their respective districts.”

Gold Trail’s share of the $7 million is $256,000.