Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Planning For Upcoming School Board Meeting

The North Vancouver School District board meeting agenda package for tonight's board meeting has been posted on their website and it includes notes and options regarding covered play areas to be presented at this public board meeting: 

http://www.nvsd44.bc.ca/en/Trustees/~/media/PDF_uploads/BoardMeetings/2012_13/BoardAgendaPkg20121127.ashx (See agenda, page 1-2 and “Schedule B5 of the Administrative Memorandum”, pages 71 -78 to see their proposed options). 

Correction to Finance and Facilities Standing Committee meeting recap notes:

The notes in the agenda package for the Nov. 27 board meeting include one significant inaccuracy in the recap of the discussion at the Finance and Facilities Standing Committee meeting held on Nov. 6th (and we would like to ask if that can be corrected please? We want to make sure there is no misunderstanding). It is currently written that “…Further discussion clarified the primary interest for shelter, rather than a covered play area…” We would agree that the primary interest is for shelter, but strongly disagree with “rather than a covered play area”. At the Finance & Facilities Standing meeting, a couple of people started referring to a covered play area as being large enough for the kids to play team sports under and we simply pointed out that we are not seeking anything so extravagant, and that our primary interest was shelter options for the students; however we didn’t rescinded our consistent request that it be a useful covered play area for the kids to play and move within. In the attached email that we sent to you on Nov. 9th in follow-up to the Finance & Facilities Standing Committee meeting, our suggestions mention that the children be able to play games against the wall within the covered play areas. 

Note sent to NVSD regarding recommended motions:

As you know the motion that was approved in March stated that “…the two options be presented to the board for approval at its November 2012 board meeting”. We are hoping that the vote be, as stated in the motion, “for approval” (option A or B) and not for “support in principal”(option C or D) that would take this into “policy review” and “deferral”. Please keep in mind the fact that the Highlands build came in $700,000 under-budget (and a request to the Ministry of Education can be made to access these “restricted capital funds”). We have been eagerly waiting for this board meeting since the motion was approved in March, but delayed until November so that the Finance & Facilities department could complete some other projects first. In fact, we have been eagerly waiting for this day since 2006 when the Highlands design plans revealed that there would be no covered areas. After all of this time, to place this into “policy review” discussions seems unfair. There were never any policy discussions, nor any public consultation to decide to forgo covered play areas. Given that covered areas have been built in North Vancouver schools in the past, and the fact that the BC Ministry of Education’s Area standards indicate that they may be included in schools in areas of high precipitation, any decisions to stop building (or to dismantle) covered play areas should have gone through a policy review process first.