Board Meeting Highlights – November 22, 2021
Audit Presentation 2020-21
Dion Bird of Baker Tilly accounting presented the audit statements for the previous school year. As expected, the news was not good. In spite of efforts last year to reduce expenditures, the deficit in the KSD operations has continued to increase significantly due to the signing of a collective agreement with teachers (the first since 2018), a claw back of Safe Restart Funds by MB Education (reduced somewhat after being strongly disputed by KSD), lower funding by the local municipalities (due to government cancellation of the special levy), and lower government funding through its replacement, the Education Tax Credit. KSD continues to argue its case re the safe restart funds clawed backed as prior approval was obtained for every expenditure. The 2020-21 deficit will have a significant impact on the current 2021-22 budget and, going forward, the development of the 2022-23 budget. It was noted that most Manitoba public school divisions are in this position.
On November 17, the first closure of schools in many years was necessitated due to unsafe road conditions for bus travel and some staff inability to get to schools, the lack of substitutes to replace any missing staff, and the ever present COVID-19 cohort protocols.
A parent group has been working with KSD administrators to develop an overnight travel protocol that complies with health restrictions and student safety priorities.
A draft has been presented to trustees for feedback and may be ready for implementation soon. School administrators have also been working on a means to live stream some school events that will comply with compulsory privacy laws and Covid-19 restrictions.
It was noted that KSD equipment limitations are a factor, but alternatives are being considered. Health orders continue to evolve and impact on school division protocols.
Meetings with KSD garage personnel have resulted in improvement suggestions in tracking of busing and general maintenance issues. There is a need to follow Manitoba driver time limits that impact driver availability for school trips exceeding the daily 14 hour maximum. Also noted was the growing need to replace vehicles, deferred as cost cutting measures in recent years.
Education Liaison Committee
The learning challenges have continued this year, made more difficult by obvious stress levels of some students and parents.
Community Liaison Committee
A draft KSD community survey on a reduction of trustee numbers has been drafted. Contact with MLA Amanda Lathlin has been helpful on the issue of school speed zone signage.
The Board of Trustees was pleased to appoint Mr. Graham Kahler as Secretary-Treasurer effective December 9, 2021.
Student Rep Report
Josh Santolaja, Youth Representative noted the desire of students to access team travel as soon as possible.
(To view Board Minutes, please go to the Information Link).