Kemptville – CDSBEO Board Meeting Highlights for Meeting Held May 16th, 2017.
Catholic Education Week 2017
Each year, the Catholic community of Ontario engages in a week-long celebration of the unique identity and distinctive contributions of Catholic education during Catholic Education Week. This year Catholic Education Week, which took place from May 1-5, celebrated the theme “Walking Forward Together.” The week began with the celebration of the annual Board-wide Mass at Holy Cross Parish in Kemptville, which was led by Fr. Rod McNeil of St. Francis de Sales Parish (Smiths Falls).
Superintendent of School Effectiveness, John Cameron, gave a brief overview of the week’s events, which was followed by a video presentation. Throughout the week, schools shone a great light on the ways in which CDSBEO Catholic schools celebrate Catholic education. The week was marked by special activities and events for all grade levels, including prayer celebrations, service activities, celebrations of the arts, sporting events, and fundraisers; the spirit of service was the hallmark of each event.
The video, which highlights some of the many happenings at CDSBEO schools during Catholic Education Week, can be viewed on the CDSBEO YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/CDSBEOVideo.
Guatemala Mission Trip 2017
The CDSBEO Board of Trustees had the privilege of hearing testimonials from Catholic secondary students who had the opportunity to participate in the Guatemala Mission Trip over March break. Clearly moved by their life-changing, profound experiences, the group gave an emotional and heartfelt account of their time in Guatemala.
Twenty-one students from St. Mary Catholic High School, St. Luke Catholic High School, St. Francis Xavier Catholic High School, and Notre Dame Catholic High School, along with four supervisors, participated in the experience. The students spent the majority of the week in a village called Anibal Archilla, working in the community. Over the course of their stay, the students painted about 30 homes, painted the community church, made a greenspace for the local children to play in, sanded and refurbished an old slide and swing set, and repainted the outline of the soccer court on the main road.
The students were impacted tremendously by the relationships which were developed during their visit.
“I believe the people we met in Guatemala are some of the most amazing people we will ever meet,” noted Ava Prosser, a student from St. Mary CHS. “Everything they do comes straight from the heart and I’m glad that this experience has helped 21 Canadian students become accustom to this lifestyle. We came to this community as strangers and we left as family.”
Learning about life in Guatemala was also a focus during the trip. Notre Dame CHS student Sean McCue explained how the students were interested in the lives of students their age, and how they were saddened to learn that not all children were able to attend school.
“On an average day during our visit to Anibal Archilla, there were young children who spent their entire days with us and some children who came home from school mid-way through the day. Usually, around noon or one o’clock students would be arriving back at the village, and I could only wonder why some of the kids weren’t going to school. It turns out that if a family couldn’t afford the uniform, their children couldn’t go to school,” explained Sean McCue.
St. Francis Xavier CHS student Tara Robillard shared some of the good work the group carried out during their time in Anibal Archilla.
“We donated a lot of the things we brought with us, and we also made sure to purchase items each day from the different community stores to help those families,” she explained.
“We donated money to a family that lost their son, so they could pay for food and flowers for the funeral. On the last day of our visit, the medical clinic came to the village, and our job was to keep the children occupied, which helped 150 of the 400 people in the community to visit the clinic that day.”
The trip provided students with the opportunity to make a difference in a global community, and many commented on how this experience has helped them to understand poverty, and that happiness can be achieved despite lack of material goods.
The students thanked the Board for their prayerful and financial support of the mission. “When I look to the back of the room I see great examples of our Catholic education system through the good things that you’ve done by helping these underprivileged communities,” responded Board Chair, Todd Lalonde.
Director of Education, Wm. J. Gartland, commented on the presentation, “It is apparent from your enthusiasm the impact this trip has had on your lives. I would like to thank the staff that participated in this trip – you are the anchors that made this happen and we appreciate your commitment to our students as they participated in this life-changing endeavour. I really like how you talked about relationships and life experiences. People spend a whole lifetime and don’t have the opportunity to develop those particular skills, and we know that you are leaving our system with a whole skillset that other people will not have the opportunity to achieve during their lifetime. Thank you for representing our Board so well.”
Draft 2017-2018 Enrolment Update and Grant Revenue
Board administration is finalizing the preliminary draft grant estimates for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, compared to the 2016-2017 Revised Estimates. Manager of Finance, Ashley Hutchinson, presented an overview of the 2017-2018 draft enrolment and grant revenues to the Board of Trustees.
“Grant revenue is based on projected enrolment for October 2017. A decline of approximately 207 FTE is predicted for the next school year at this time, however, registrations continue to be received on a daily basis. Currently, an enrolment decline of approximately 1.6 per cent is expected for next year,” explained Mrs. Hutchinson.
Grant highlights for the 2016-2017 school year include those associated with the provincially negotiated labour settlements, as well as all plans for employee health, life and dental benefits, and local priorities funding for OECTA and CUPE.
“New investments have also been added to reduce class sized for JK/SK and grades 4 to 8, as well as a new HR transition supplement to assist with labour agreements implementation.”
Some of the major grant changes are affected by formula changes as well as enrolment decline. The new formula for the Declining Enrolment Adjustment forces school boards to adjust costs more immediately.
“In year one, 100 per cent of the decline is funded, however in year two, 25 per cent of the prior year decline is funded (previously this was 50 per cent), and in year three there is no funding (previously funded at 25 per cent). With the new model, the bulk of funding is for only one year.”
The Board will also receive approximately $907,000 under the School Year Education Programs – Other (EPO) funding that is outside of the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) funding, with a possibility for additional grants through the $39M still to be confirmed provincially. This allocation supports programs such as the Math Strategy, Autism supports and training, Community Use of Schools, OYAP, Early Years Lead Program and Well-being.