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Highlights: Board meeting of May 30, 2022

The Vancouver School Board held its regular monthly meeting on Monday, May 30, 2022. The meeting’s agenda included consideration the proposed 2022-2023 school year budget and receipt of committee reports from the meetings of the Student Learning and Well-Being, Facilities Planning, Policy & Governance, Finance and Personal committees. The Board also received an information report about the engagement activities associated with proposal to close Queen Elizabeth Annex (QEA) and a notice of motion. 

Watch the recording of the meeting.  

Chair Remarks 

Board chair, Janet Fraser, began the meeting with remarks acknowledging several of the tragic events and commemorations which, throughout the last several weeks, have profoundly affected school communities in Vancouver and beyond. In addition to sharing the Board’s appreciate of staff in their work supporting students and their families as the world copes with these realities, chair Fraser also spoke of the hope and optimism public education offers and concluded in noting the many celebrations upcoming in June including events to honour National Indigenous History Month and graduation ceremonies. 

Program Highlights 

Student voice is integral to all matters before the Board, and through the program highlights portion of the agenda, the Board hears directly from students about a wide variety of topics that matter to them. This month’s Board meeting included two features. The first highlight was presentated by students who planned and led the annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion conference and the SenGAGE event. The second highlight featured the District’s fine arts programming partnership with the Sarah McLachlan School of Music.  

Superintendent Update 

This month’s update by the superintendent noted many student events and activities including art shows and exhibitions, the District’s Summer Learning program, the annual student planned and led Diversity, Equity and Inclusion conference as well as a details about sessions between students and legendary Stonewall Riot activist, Martin Boyce, in addition to the celebration for Indigenous learners moving on to secondary school and the First Peoples’ Festival.  

Student Trustee Report 

Student trustee Ricky Huang provided his final report to the Board, as next month will see the announcement of a new student trustee following the upcoming Vancouver District Students’ Council (VDSC) election. Huang shared his excitement to welcome new members to the VDSC and pass on the torch at the upcoming meeting in June. His updated also noted the arts gala showcasing students’ talents and sister school switch. This event sees students switch schools for a day, taking different classes and participating in school activities. Student trustee Huang explained to the Board that the event creates unity amongst schools and students across the District, and it was an especially welcomed opportunity as this year saw the event’s return since prior to the pandemic.   

Decisions by the Board 

As a matter arising from its meeting on April 25, 2022, the Board approved revised policies 7 and 8 which reflect the Board’s decision to host dedicated meetings for “…members of the public wishing to present on a matter before the Board…”  

The Board then received reports of committees which held meetings since its April 25, 2022, meeting. It approved a by-law regarding granting utilities rights-of-way access at Weir Elementary School. Following receipt of the report from the Finance Committee meeting, the Board considered several budget proposals ahead of the voting on the budget bylaw. As a result, the budget includes several new items proposed and passed at the meeting, including: 

  • $250,000 dedicated to operationalizing and supporting the goals of the forthcoming Anti-Racism and Non-Discrimination Plan 

  • Funding for a new health and safety manager staff position 

  • One-time funding of $50,000 for library resources supporting anti-racism education 

The Board also adopted a motion to request the Ministry of Education and Child Care to increase funding for additional school-based staff such as teacher librarians and counsellors, and that a robust advocacy campaign be developed with the goal of achieving adequate funding for public education. As required by the School Act, the Board approved a balanced budget for the upcoming school year. To manage the structural deficit, the Board utilized more than $10.6 million from the unrestricted operating surplus (contingency) fund to balance the budget. The budget by-law, read three times and adopted, provides spending of $655,556,574 in next year’s budget.  

The Board also received a report for information regarding the public consultation findings about the proposed closure of Queen Elizabeth Annex (QEA). In addition, a notice of motion pertaining to the potential creation of a foundation and business company was referred to the Finance committee for input.  

Question Period

At each Board meeting, members of the public have an opportunity to ask questions of the Board about agenda matters, using an online submission form. There were no questions submitted this month.  

Keep up to date with the District’s committee and Board meetings; see the calendar for meeting dates, agendas, and livestream links. All recordings of past meetings are housed on the District’s YouTube channel.  Minutes from committee and Board meetings are also posted online.  

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