School District 60 approves five year capital plan

Secretary Treasurer Doug Boyd announced at last night’s board meeting that the district met the mid-October deadline of submitting how they would pay for the raises for the workers, and the proposal is awaiting approval.

“The district was required to come up with a savings plan to meet the compensation requirements for the recently settled template by the government in regards to support staff. We have met that requirement of submitting it by October 15. We now await approval,” he explains. “It has to go through and receive approval from the finance department. Once that approval is there then it will be implemented and we will be proceeding with our agreement with CUPE.”

The 3.5 per cent raises the workers will see will be phased in over a two year period. The first raise will see an approximate total of $235,000 paid to support staff. That figure will increase to $435,000 in the second year.

School District 60 is also looking for eight new buses and two new schools as part of a five year capital plan. Boyd says buses typically reach their full usability after 12 years and he hopes to have new buses for the new year.

“Our buses year out around the 12th year, so this is our stage each year of putting in a request. That is basically being requested for this current year,” he states. “When I say the current year, it would be something that would be approved hopefully prior to Christmas and we would be able to get them in order for the early part of the new year in 2014.”

The capital plan also contains the desire for two replacement schools and a new school. Boyd says the replacement schools would be for CharlieLake and École Central Elementary.

“It is our estimate that in the near future we will need two schools to accommodate the growth in our school enrolment,” he admits. “That would probably be requiring one in the northeast and one in the northwest. Those locations would obviously have to be determined down the road.”

Boyd confesses that it would be ideal to have the schools replaced immediately, but there is a three year process that needs to be followed as laid out by the ministry.

“The reason that the year three shows up with the replacing space is that’s the process the ministry has. We have no choice of where we put it. Obviously our choice would be to have it approved and completed this year,” he says. “It’s a three year process; it’s a repeating three years. If they are not approved this year then next year. They will never be placed below the third year from our ability to designate where it is located.”

The plan also has room for mechanical upgrades around schools within the district.

The ongoing transportation issue remains unchanged. The district is struggling with how to fund transportation for students following a $541,000 cut in transportation funding. At the time the funding was cut the district was already running more than $200,000 over budget. Efforts continue on behalf of the district to try and establish a meeting with MLA Pat Pimm as per his election promise that fees would not occur if he was re-elected.