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Highlights: Public Board meeting of May 27 and May 29, 2019

| Categories: Board of Trustees

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With members of school communities and stakeholder group representatives in attendance, the Vancouver School Board held its regular meeting on the evening of May 27, 2019. The meeting was recessed and the agenda carried over to May 29, 2019. Committee and Board meetings are streamed live and available for viewing while in progress and following adjournment.

Watch the May 27 proceedings. Watch the May 29 proceedings.

Board Meeting Summary

The agenda for the May meeting of the Vancouver School Board included two weighty topics: the 2019-2020 budget bylaw (1st & 2nd reading) and recommendations for the draft Long Range Facilities Plan. In addition, the agenda also included reports from standing committees. Prior to the matters arising and motions for consideration, the Board of Education and audience members learned about the Here4Peers program. Two former District students explained this partnership between the District and the Canadian Mental Health Association, Vancouver-Fraser Branch (CMHA), the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH); which provides training to high school students to facilitate mental health awareness workshops for elementary students as they transition to secondary school. The presentation by students participating in the program provided trustees with a direct connection to students' learning journeys and an opportunity to further reflect on the student experience as they carry out their duties as a Board.

Superintendent Update

Superintendent Hoffman's update is a continuous discussion about student success and what it means for the Vancouver School District. Hoffman's May update focused on Middle Years Development Instrument – a self-reported questionnaire from children in Grades 4-7 that assesses five areas of development: Social & Emotional Development, Physical Health & Well-being, Connectedness, Use of After-School Time and School Experiences. Hoffman shared with the Board details about Vancouver-based students including a neighbourhood breakdown across the District. Such information is a powerful aid in ensuring supports and initiatives are put in place by the Board to support students throughout their educational journey.

Student Trustee Update

Keeping a focus on the student experience, each Board meeting includes a report by the Student Trustee. This provides another avenue to ensure the student voice is thoroughly considered as the Board carries out its mandate. Student trustee, Hazel Pangilinan, continued sharing the student perspective, noting the Vancouver District School Council appreciated the opportunity for their input into the 2019-2020 draft budget – especially improvements to school washrooms, improved technology and more support for mental health and well-being.

Decisions by the Board

A number of key items were before the Board for consideration and approval. The Board considered version three of the draft 2019-2020 school year budget. Several amendments were considered, resulting in one change from the budget package as presented in the meeting agenda. The Board decided to increase a District position of Indigenous Knowledge Keeper to five days per week (up from three). Trustees decided to take the required funding from a budget proposal for an international education coordinator, directing staff to balance the two through, perhaps, a part time role in the international education department. The Board then read and adopted the first two readings of the Budget Bylaw. The third and final reading will take place at the June 24, 2019 regular meeting of the Board. With the lengthy discussions as the Board consider budget matters, the agenda was recessed until Wednesday, May 29, 2019.

With the resumption of the agenda, the Board then considered several matters arising from the May 15 meeting of the Facilities Planning Committee. The Board approved a land exchange with the Vancouver Park Board at Gordon Park/Thompson Secondary school, subject to a replacement school being the best value funded option. The Board then considered four groups of recommendations relating to the Long Range Facilities Plan. Several amendments were made as the Board considers how to best serve the needs of students. Common themes to amendments included the commitment to understanding and recognizing how schools best serve students and surrounding neighbourhoods as well as the priorities of safe and robust educational facilities.

Other Business

Trustee members of other civic and public sector committees provided reports. The Board Chair also detailed topics discussed at the Board's private session including personnel matters.

Question Period

The Board welcomes questions from the public and works to provide an avenue to those wishing to ask questions to do so at every Board meeting. Written questions are submitted and addressed by the Board. A question requesting a detailed copy of budget information as provided to trustees for their review. The information will be posted on the District's website.

Keep up-to-date with all of the District's committee and Board meetings; see our calendar for meeting dates, agendas and livestream links.

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