Lots on table for last SD51 meeting

The Board of Education for School District 51 (Boundary) held their final meeting before the 2014 local government election on Nov. 4, 2014.

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Although it was the last meeting for this particular group of trustees, there were still a lot of topics covered at the Nov. 4 meeting in Grand Forks, with delegations starting the meeting.

Joan Holmes, aboriginal advisory committee liaison, asked the board to consider saying a prayer for their ancestors before each meeting. After a brief discussion, the board agreed to have an acknowledgement at the beginning of each meeting. “We would begin a practice of acknowledging the ancestral lands,” said Teresa Rezansoff, trustee and board chair. “We don’t exactly know what the wording is. We’re not going to open a bylaw to do it but we will begin a practice. It’s not going to be a prayer —it’s going to be acknowledgement.”

Nick Bond, a French teacher at Boundary Central Secondary in Midway, showed a video and asked the board for support for an exchange trip to Quebec for his class through SEVEC, an organization which sponsors and organizes such trips. The trip would take place from March 13-20. The twin group would then come to the Boundary from April 10-17. The board approved the trip in principle, which allows the class to continue planning for the trip.

Class sizes

Jeannette Hanlon, secretary/treasurer for school district 51, gave a report detailing the enrolment numbers for the region. Across all of SD51, the number of fulltime equivalent (FTE) students dropped from 1,263.25 to 1,247.25.

Across the Boundary, the number of students (head count) dropped from 1,284 (Sept. 30, 2013) to 1,271 (Oct. 17, 2014). Class size averages across the district are: kindergarten 18.4, grades 1-3 18.7, grades 4-7 22.4 and grades 8-12 19.7.

At GFSS, the average class size is 21.1, while at BCSS the average is 17.3. Hanlon also noted that the district’s request for a new bus was turned down. “While we do not meet the specifics of the criteria, we anticipate meeting kilometre replacement requirements by the end of the school year,” she said in her report.

Gateway project

Doug Lacey, SD51 director of learning, gave a briefing on the Gateway project. The project would see the creation of a basalt sculpted talking/story circle erected in the entwined tree park in Midway. Lacey noted that the park is located in a residential area between BCSS and Midway Elementary School.

The Gateway would be a legacy monument with the potential to be a new place of learning and storytelling for the communities of the Boundary and our students, said the report.

Lacey said he had spoken to the Village of Midway, which had passed a motion on Oct. 20 to support the installation of the Gateway. Lacey asked the board for a total of $35,000 for the project which includes $15,000 for the purchase and transport of the required basalt and $20,000 for the commission of Aboriginal artist David Seven Deers for the sculpting and leading of the erection of the Gateway in the Entwined Trees park.

Trustee Dave Reid wanted to add an amendment to ensure that the board had a “licence of occupation” or similar for the property to provide insurance in case Midway wanted to do something else with the land down the road. Reid was urged to make a second motion, which passed as well as the original.