3 items to highlight:

First, Trustees reviewed the District results and approved the plan for the next 3 years.

This year, our Accountability Pillar results have improved, with all measure category evaluations at good or excellent. In fact, out of Alberta Education’s 44 measures, we’re higher than the provincial average for 32 measures.

District-wide, academic success was positive (pages 26-31) and the 3 year plan (pages 37-38) is focused on improving teacher practice and student performance for literacy and numeracy skills.

Staff, students, and parents highly rated our schools as welcoming, inclusive, and safe (page 52). The District plans to build upon initiatives that promote and encourage student leadership, continue to develop its capacity around mental health needs, and to advance its efforts in creating safe school environments where bullying behaviour is reduced or eliminated. It is the District’s desire to strive towards school communities where all students, staff, parents, and community members feel welcomed, safe, and respected every day (page 54).

From the District Survey, 96.6 per cent of parents indicated that they were satisfied with the opportunities they have to communicate with their child’s teacher; 88.7 per cent of parents reported satisfaction with the manner in which student progress is reported; and 82.9 per cent of parents indicated that the information they receive from the school tells them what they need to know in order for them to help their child be successful in school (page 72).

The District Feedback Survey asked parents what additional information they would need in order to know if their child is being successful in school, the top three responses provided by parents were: improved/more regular communication and feedback; specific/personalized/transparent information regarding their child’s achievement; and indicators of their child’s success other than grades. This information provides the District with feedback for our 2015-2018 plan in support of a strong partnership between home and school (page 73, 74).

Second, with funding uncertainty under the last budget of the previous provincial government, prudent spending allows the District to add to reserves which can now be reinvested to meet long term needs.

The District believes that having reserve funds is a sound financial practice and helps to shield schools and students from unpredictable provincial funding and/or unforeseen events that could otherwise financially impact the District in any given year.

A District Sustainability Fund was approved to stabilize funding and service during times of financial uncertainty, as well as provide resources to address high-priority planned and emergent district-wide issues and opportunities. The following resources be established within the Sustainability Fund:

a. School Equity Fund: The Fund directs resources to schools and groups of schools in greatest need.

b. Price Stabilization: These resources combine the surplus funds from Insurance and Energy Management. These resources are intended to mitigate fluctuations in price/volume.

c. Transportation: The transportation surplus is restricted and is to be used exclusively to stabilize transportation fees.

d. School Building Equity: These resources are to be used for emergent needs in district schools that are not covered under maintenance funding or IMR. Examples include a rotational program to clean ducts and improve overall air quality in schools, and installation of security systems.

e. Growth Accommodation/Programming: These resources will be used to offset welcoming school costs, including specialized rooms, lifts, elevators, ramps, reconfiguration of class spaces, etc. In addition, it is anticipated multidisciplinary teams will be required to respond to the emerging situation of Syrian refugee arrivals in Edmonton, as well as supporting our already high immigrant and refugee populations.

f. Energy Conservation Fund: Energy efficiency improvement projects such as lighting, controls, etc. that will improve on overall efficiency, reduce negative impacts on the environment and promote longer term future cost savings (reduced utilities).

g. Property Management Capital: These resources will be used for lifecycle needs on our closed school buildings and central services (Distribution Centre, Print Services, etc.). This fund will cover major costs such as boilers and roof repairs that cannot be paid with IMR.

h. Enterprise Systems: These resources will be used for the purchase, installation, and upgrade of key enterprise systems, e.g., PeopleSoft HR, PowerSchool, Archibus, Intranet, etc.

Third, the Fall update to the 2015-2016 budget continues to focus funds on District priorities. With the restoration of Provincial funding for enrolment growth along with drawing down previous years reserves, 92 teachers have been added to District schools (see Attachment 6, page 18 of the attached report).