News Item

Board Highlights (November 2019)

November 29, 2019

​Notes from the November 26, 2019 Regular (Public) Meeting of the South East Cornerstone Public School Division (SECPSD) Board of Educationlogo-vertical.jpg

Deputy Director/Human Resources Report

Now in his third year as Deputy Director of Education, Keith Keating updated the Board with respect to his portfolio which is responsible for oversight of human resource services and school operations, explaining that the structure remains the same as the last two school years, and his responsibilities include oversight of the division's three school superintendents who in turn oversee the schools in their respective service areas.

Staffing statistics indicated educational staffing consists of 507 FTE teachers, 42.66 FTE Response to Intervention teachers and 38.40 FTE learning support teachers.  Unassigned time in schools is at 31 FTE and unassigned time outside of staffing equals 12 FTE.  Support staffing encompasses 135.98 FTE educational assistants, 20.93 FTE library technicians, 45.23 FTE administrative assistants, in addition to other staff:  transportation (124.5 FTE), facilities (86 FTE), information systems (13), finance/payroll/HR (6.8) and division office educational assistants (5).

The Deputy manages five agreements, including two four-year agreements which were secured with CUPE and SEIU and are scheduled to end simultaneously on August 31, 2022, a three-year LINC agreement ending July 31, 2021, the Out of Scope Handbook which is currently in the review and update stage, as well as superintendent employment agreements.  Other management items which Keating oversees are legal actions, grievances, teacher CBA including hours of work, and recruitment of key positions such as special educators and teachers for small rural schools.

A couple of targeted work areas that the Deputy spoke about pertained to superintendent evaluations which were completed by an outside source last year and an administrator evaluation process which is being developed and piloted by administrators who will step forward to do so this school year, with full implementation scheduled for the 2020-2021 school year.  Other processes in development are administrator induction and special educator training within SECPSD. As well, a new process of direct feedback to teachers through administrator observations every 5 years, utilized to drive the teacher Professional Growth Plans process, is slated for full implementation by the end of the current school year.

Safe Work Places

As reported by Keating in his departmental report, a current target is the continuation of the Saskatchewan Association for Safe Workplaces in Health (SASWH) and Workers Compensation Board (WCB) pilot being undertaken to develop a safety management system three-year implementation in SECPSD which will include OHC level I and II training, WHIMIS education and training for all staff, and the development and implementation of administrative procedures to address safety management across the school division.  To that end, according to Sandra Cripps (Chief Executive Officer) and Carolyn Griffin (Workplace Safety Specialist) with the SASWH, who attended to present to the Board, the work is well underway and success is evident after just a few short months. 

The first slide in their PowerPoint presentation explained the journey they are on, "Downloading Success.  Please Wait …"  Tasked with implementing a safety management system which includes six elements:  (1) management and leadership, (2) hazard identification and control, (3) training and communication, (4) inspections, (5) investigations, investigation and (6) emergency response, Griffin, who is stationed at the board office in Weyburn, has been working in collaboration with seven initial locations: the transportation & facilities shop and comprehensive school in Estevan, the board office and Assiniboia Park Elementary School in Weyburn, Yellow Grass School, Redvers School and Carievale School.  She met with staff and personnel, reviewed safety management policies and procedures as well as the incident reporting process and attended OHC meetings to kick off the pilot.  The specialist stated that there were a lot of things in place that just needed tweaking or updating for clarity and compliance with best practices, legislative requirements and official standards established by the Ministry of Labour Relations & Workplace Safety and Work Safe Saskatchewan.

Cripps and Griffin enthusiastically explained how the project has provided the opportunity to go deeper into some areas that need more support such as through carrying out a 5S (Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standarize and Sustain) event at the Estevan transportation and maintenance shop, beginning with a discussion with personnel around personal standards for safety, which Griffin described as "top drawer" and "they really do know their stuff." Cripps referred to the process as "value added work" saying, "It was energizing to be able to go in," to support the workers last July even though summer is their busiest season of the year. The Board appreciated the pictorial snapshot of pre and post conditions of the work settings that were scored and utilized during the 5S event with the end goal of having an organized, safe work place where everything is in its place and easily identified, and to maintain the standard thereafter.

Griffin will continue to work with the first seven locations, with another seven being added in the SE corner in Carlyle, Manor, Alameda, Oxbow, Carnduff and Bienfait where the same work that has happened with the first seven will be replicated thanks to receiving the greenlight from the WCB to amend the action plan to carry out the replication.  To continue to support Griffin on the follow up pieces, SASWH is looking to add another staff member to assist with the work as they look to identify the top three hazards in the division and bring a sustainable safety management plan moving forward.

Cripps stated that they are pleased with the progress they have seen thus far while explaining that the next group will reveal whether the plan is correct and then "we'll hopefully create it as a blueprint for others to follow." She referred to the current cohort as an exceptional group of individuals, "Our experience has been nothing but positive."  The pilot is scheduled to conclude in 2022.

SECPSD Audited Financial Statements & Annual Report

Shelley Toth, Superintendent of Division Services/CFO, lead the Board through the Auditor's Report and Audited Financial Statements for the period ending August 31, 2019.  She reported that the 2018-19 fiscal year resulted in revenues of $111.8 million and expenses of $106 million, for a net surplus of $5.8 million – lower than the budgeted surplus of $7.1 million.  The lower than budgeted surplus is largely due to lower than budgeted capital grant revenue for the new Legacy Park Elementary School in Weyburn which is fully funded by the Ministry of Education and is on track to open in September 2021.

Total revenue for the year was $1.8 million (or 1.5%) lower than budget.  Significant variances include increases in tuition revenue and school generated funds and an increase in other revenue. There was also a $3.4 million decrease in grant revenue. Overall, total operating expenses for the year were on budget with actual costs varying by only 0.4% (or $385,000 under budget).  There were some offsetting variances in comparison to budget which included a $1.2 million decrease in salaries and benefits due to unfilled vacancies, budgeted contingencies that were not required and lower than estimated wage increases and a $1.1 million increase in goods and services largely due to computer supplies that had been budgeted for as tangible capital asset additions however they did not meet the capitalization threshold.

The division ended the 2018-19 fiscal year with an accumulated surplus of $146.3 million of which $108.7 million is represented by tangible capital assets ($127.4 million in assets less $18.7 million in debt owing on assets).  Additions of $8.6 million were added to the division's tangible capital assets that included:  9 school buses, 2 vehicles, furniture and PAA equipment which includes: band equipment across the division; funds for various facility related items and $224,000 for items purchased and fundraised at the school level including $125,000 for playground equipment at six schools (MacLeod, Oxbow, Pangman, Manor, Rocanville, and Gladmar) as well as computer hardware, audio visual equipment, computer software and assets under construction for the new elementary school in Weyburn.

The financial statements are prepared in accordance with Canadian public sector accounting standards for other government organizations as established by the Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB).  The statements have been audited by an external auditor and have been found to present fairly, in all materials respects, the financial position of the school division as at August 31, 2019. 

A motion was passed approving the Auditor's Report and Audited Financial Statements pending possible format revisions following final review by the Ministry of Finance.  It will become part of the Annual Report, which was also approved by motion for submission to the Ministry, with a summary presentation to be provided at a board meeting early in the new year.

New Consultant

Director of Education Lynn Little announced that a Mental Health Consultant has been hired to assist the system in developing processes and supports to address a reduction in self harming behaviors including a suicide prevention strategy for implementation in SECPSD.  The consultant will provide services to the full system.

Articles by Norm Park

Articles submitted by Norm Park, contracted reported for SECPSD, are available at these links:

Financials, Human Resources, Organizational Meeting, Safe Workplaces and SSBA

Upcoming Meetings

December 4/19Board Strategic Planning Meeting
December 9/19Board Chairs Council Teleconference
December 18/19Committee-of-the-Whole Board Meeting
December 18/19Regular (Public) Board Meeting

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For more information, please contact:

South East Cornerstone Public School Division

80A-18th Street N.E., Weyburn, SK  S4H 2W4

Telephone:  (306) 848-0080




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