Submitted by Erica Braunovan, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board trustee –
Wow! June is just around the corner, and while I look forward to our two month summer break there is still a substantial amount of work to be done at the board table. Between now and the end of June we plan on passing a new four year strategic plan and the operational budget for the 2019-2020 school year.
A draft of our strategic plan is available on our district website. I am very interested in hearing back from all of our stakeholders, in particular students, parents and community partners in Zone 10. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know what you think of the draft plan, and to make any suggestions. I am particularly interested if you can see yourself / your student in our plan, and if not, what we could do to change that.
This past month, Trustee Ellis and I held a discussion on the OCDSB operating budget. We host these meetings every year, and it is a great opportunity to discuss the operating budget with the CFO and a couple of local trustees in a less formal way. Due to delays in getting financial information from the Ministry of Education we have had to delay the start of our budgeting process. We will now receive the staff recommended budget on Wednesday, May 29th at 7 p.m. and we will welcome delegations on the budget starting on Monday, June 3rd. People are always welcome to attend our public meetings or watch the live stream – a link can be found at the OCDSB.ca website. Due to an increase in enrollment and a slight surplus we find ourselves in a better situation than many of the boards around the table. We should be able to minimize the feel of the cuts to education for one year, but next year will likely be harder without an increase in the per pupil spending amount.
At our April board meeting we passed a motion to re-establish the Ad Hoc Advocacy Committee as a Special Purpose Committee to ensure that important advocacy work continues. This committee is used to develop an annual advocacy strategy for board approval and advise the chair on specific advocacy issues and key messaging. In the current climate of change of direction on initiatives from the Ministry it is important that we are able to respond to consultation requests and make statements on issues in a timely fashion, and the board table is not always the most effective place for us to have these discussions as agendas are set weeks in advance. At the board meeting on May 28th there is a recommendation out of this committee to respond to Ministry consultations on School Board Hiring Practices and Class Size.
Graduation ceremonies will start happening around the district in the coming weeks. I will be honoured to attend 5 of the 6 happening in Zone 10, but as with past years I will need one of my colleagues to attend at least one as there is a conflict. Please know that I do everything I can to attend as many graduation ceremonies as possible.