ETSB elects new committee chairs
During Tuesday’s Eastern Townships School Board (ETSB) council of commissioners meeting, the chairs of the various advisory committees were elected; in most cases, the commissioner already holding the position continued for a new mandate.
The meeting also included a presentation of the auditor’s report, performed annually by an independent accounting firm.
The report stated that the ETSB’S accounting for the year is clean, with no reserves or comments.
The total revenue recorded was $80,584,990.00. The total expenditures were $79,922,882.00, resulting in a surplus of roughly $662,000.
The board carries an accumulated deficit or around $3 million, down from $3.7 million last year, thanks to the current surplus.
Following the auditor’s report, Secretary General Éric Campbell was named president of elections for the purpose of deciding the chairs of the board’s advisory committees.
Each commissioner is expected to be a member of at least two advisory committees. The chairs of those committees
report their recommendations to the executive.
The process required few votes. Gordon Barnett was the only commissioner nominated as chair of the Governance and Ethics Committee; he accepted and was awarded the position.
Joy Humenuik was the only nominee for chair of the Audit committee; she accepted the position.
Richard Gagnon was the only nominee for the Education Services Advisory Committee; he accepted the position.
Dan Brodie was the only commissioner nominated to chair the Communications Committee and accepted the position.
Both Frank Macgregor and Claire Beaubien were nominated to chair the Human Resources committee. Macgregor declined the nomination, and Beaubien was named Chair.
Three commissioners, Gary Holiday, Mary Kirby and parent commissioner Mary Gilman were nominated for the Transportation committee, which requires two commissioners.
Mary Kirby declined her nomination. Between Holiday and Gilman, Holiday was elected to serve as the commissioner who will represent Transportation at the Executive.
Ken Waterhouse and Mary Gilman, the only parent commissioners in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting, were elected as parent representatives on the Executive Committee.
An appeal committee was also formed, which holds a one-year-term.
Secretary General Campbell pointed out that in the last five years, the Appeal Committee was only called upon one time for a recommendation.
This year’s committee will include Jonathan Murray, Mary Kirby and Gordon Barnett, parent commissioner Mary Gilman and alternates Alice Mccrory, Gordon Holiday and Ken Waterhouse.
Director General Christian Provencher’s report was brief, drawing attention to the successful open houses held recently at schools.
Chairman Mike Murray’s report drew attention to the renewed energy of each school year.
“It’s great to have that feeling of starting,” Murray said, relaying the sentiment of ETSB teachers ready to start the year fresh with new attitudes and new ideas.
“We have some absolutely phenomenal people in our schools,” Murray pointed out.
Murray added that a request from the education ministry had come to the board to review the fees charged to parents.
Explaining that the request is not related to the current class action suit, Murray said the ministry would like school boards to make recommendations by Dec. 30 regarding fees over and above what is included in basic free education. He used as examples breakfast programs, outings, ski and golf programs at some schools.
Murray said boards are asked to also look at supplies lists and evaluate whether the lists are reasonable, and also look at whether the composition of the lists is consistent across schools.
The minister of education is expected to draw up guidelines based on the recommendations provided before the end of the next school year.
During the audit report, Murray referred to a resolution regarding computer acquisitions.
“The resolution is financial, but the implications are pedagogical,” Murray said, explaining that the purchase demonstrates a move on the part of the board to begin transitioning from Ipads to chromebooks, a more versatile device,, he said.
During the Transport Committee reports, Gary Holiday said there was discussion of adding three more electric busses to the ETSB fleet.
The medium-sized battery model the ETSB purchased allows the bus to go 120 km before needing to be charged. Holiday said the driver of the electric bus praised its performance, and there are several routes of similar distances in the ETSB where an electric bus, which is cleaner and more quiet, could run.