School board passes shortened week

Details to be determined, but SD71 approves 4.6-day instructional week

  • May. 25, 2016 6:00 p.m.

Scott Stanfield

Record staff

 

 

Comox Valley school trustees approved Tuesday an $83.5 million budget for the 2016/17 school year that will incorporate an alternate instructional week calendar.

Trustees and district staff have been wrestling with the challenges of a $2.8 million shortfall, stemming from decreased government funding due to a declining enrolment.

The alternate calendar — which translates into a 4.6-day week — will save the district $1.75 million.

At Tuesday’s meeting, staff presented a third and fourth draft of the new-look week. A glaring difference is teacher prep time: Draft 3 allots 40 minutes and Draft 4 just 10 minutes.

“I don’t know how 10 minutes of prep time could work,” said trustee Ian Hargreaves, who prefers the third option for its structure and teacher flexibility.

Board chair Tom Weber agreed that Option 3 provides the best opportunity while the fourth is more of a “forced arrangement.”

Trustee Vickey Brown also prefers number three for its teacher curriculum time.

“I’m angry we’re even having this discussion,” trustee Cliff Boldt said to a round of applause. “We’re being forced to make decisions with a gun at our head…We’re going to have to monitor this (alternate instruction week) very, very carefully.”

Some parents say the 4.6-day week will cut into their work schedules and increase day care expenses. Acting SD71 superintendent Tom Demeo has said the alternate calendar does not detract much time from elementary students.

Weber has said the savings are exclusively staff-related, and will translate into potentially between 17 and 19 full-time equivalent (FTE) teachers.

The Comox District Teachers’ Association opposes the alternate instructional week because it will shorten school days for students and increase the workload for secondary teachers.

Weber has noted the alternate week allows teacher prep time to be moved to the end of Fridays, thereby not necessitating backfill staffing for teachers during the week.

Demeo expects to have a “definitive schedule” in place this week or next.

Sheila McDonnell — concerned about services to vulnerable students — was the lone trustee to oppose final reading of the budget bylaw.

“The $2.8 million shortfall has been a terrible burden for a district our size,” trustee Peter Coleman said.

He hopes trustees and staff can take steps that might result in better enrolment and a smaller deficit next year.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second-floor balcony continues to smoulder after a fire extinguisher was used to get a small balcony fire under control at the Washington Inn Apartments. Brian Hayward, who lives on the third floor, was alerted to the fire by the smell of smoke wafting into his apartment. Photo by Brian Hayward.
Courtenay firefighters respond to balcony fire at Washington Inn Apartments

Firefighters were called out to the Washington Inn Apartments Sunday, April 17,… Continue reading

RCMP forensics investigators scour the site north of Highland School in Comox, where multiple people were stabbed during a party Saturday night, April 16. Photo by Terry Farrell
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Comox bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault near Highland Secondary

Cumberland is surrounded by trees — and logging. Its council is supporting a call to stop old-growth logging in vulnerable areas of the province such as Fairy Creek. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland backs request to save B.C.’s old-growth forests

The Comox Youth Climate Council is asking local governments to take stand

Danita Bilozaze and her daughter Dani in Comox. Photo by Karen McKinnon
Valley woman makes historic name change for truth and reconciliation

First in Canada to be issued new passport under the TRC Calls to Action

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Comox woman on fence books vaccine due to brother’s death

Leela Harrop says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Rules against RV living hard on Island residents caught in housing crunch

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Most Read