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Sean Monteith, Director of Education

Welcome to the blog for Sean Monteith, Director of Education

From time to time Sean will put pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard!) to share thoughts about children and youth, education, life and other reflections. These will be Sean’s thoughts in Sean’s words.

This first one was a message shared with all HPEDSB employees on the first day of school—and his first ‘first day’ at HPEDSB.


  • Hi, Good Morning and Welcome Back! September 3, 2019

    Sean wavingHi, Good Morning and Welcome Back!

    I have often found myself drawn to and inspired by famous leaders, agents of change and agitators of the status quo. Consequently, I find myself looking explicitly at their words, and more so trying to interpret the words “between the lines.” John F. Kennedy is one of my favorites, and I suppose for many reasons. He was human, and like most of us in the human condition, he had his faults and was not perfect. But he also saw a greater world ahead, and one that equalized the field between those that benefitted by having much, and those that went without. He did, although arguably stumbling out of the blocks initially, strive for a balancing of rights between cultures and ethnicities, specifically race. In other words, differences in culture, background, and colour were and always would be non-factors in advancing the opportunities for all citizens.

    His famous assertion during a speech at Rice University, early September in 1962 (the start of a new school year): “We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard” is my second favorite of all his sentiments. JFK of course in that moment was laying out a vision for his country that would put a human being on the moon and return them back safely to Earth. At the time, the notion was viewed with skepticism, under-ridden with a belief that such a goal was simply impossible. By the end of the decade his country achieved this act, a feat arguably not matched since and one that required a fundamental principle that people from all facets of life, business, beliefs, culture, and role and privilege had to work together to accomplish a common outcome. Please keep this in mind as you read through my introductory message to all of you as you start a new year.

    I want to acknowledge the work of all of you in advance: to the teachers about to make the lives of our students extraordinary, to the support staff, early childhood educators and education assistants who work tirelessly with children who have special needs, or are coming to school for the first time in Kindergarten, I say thank you. I want to acknowledge the custodians and maintenance staff who have worked over the summer so that we may enter sparkling buildings on the first day of a new school year; and I want to acknowledge the principals and vice-principals who lead our work in our communities, often going above and beyond to improve the trajectory of our kids and consequentially their families too. I wish to acknowledge our Trustees who have entrusted in their new Director of Education the responsibility to lead an agenda that embarks on change and builds on the belief that hope is both a dangerous and wonderful thing, because when you have it, anything is possible. I want to acknowledge the Senior Team, whose skills and assets quite simply outweigh their evolving experience (“green-ness”, I believe was how it was framed to me recently) that I can see already! And to the staff who work in the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board Education Centre, thank you to all of you, for enabling the system to focus its energies on young people because barriers are removed at the central level.

    Lastly, I acknowledge my predecessor Mandy Savery-Whiteway who served the HPEDSB with integrity and a commitment to making the tough decisions and within such limitations, that any educator might have grown weary.

    So, as I send this initial commentary to all HPEDSB staff, I offer that there is much to be thankful for; however, here now remains even more work. I came to HPEDSB not because I knew the work would be easy and predictable, but because I knew it would be hard and prolonged. I am excited beyond words to work hard for all of you, our communities, our families, and most importantly our students. They deserve the best, they will get the best, and we will commit to them that our energies to improve their shot at hope and a future are unwavering and unrelenting. I ask you to consider as well, what kind of organization do you want to work for, and want us to be in the region, even in the province?

    As you start this first day of school, be you in your last year, mid-career or just starting out, roll up your sleeves because we are just getting started, and I promise you my team and I will be right beside you every step of the way!

    And . . . my favorite JFK expression of all time: “It is time for a new generation of leadership, for there is a new world to be won.” Compelling, yes. Inspiring, absolutely. Appropriately telling—just wait!

    I wish you the best, and assure all of you, that we believe in you and in your work every day.

    Take care, Che-Miigwech

    Sean

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Public school board passes balanced budget for 2019-2020 school year

June 19, 2019—Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board (HPEDSB) approved 2019-2020 operating and capital expense budgets in the amounts of $202,737,725 and $26,900,366, respectively. The overall budget contains an in-year surplus for compliance purposes of $20,007.

Ensuring effective management of all resources is part of the Public Confidence priority of the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan: Possibilities Today & Tomorrow. Part of the effective management of all resources includes the setting and monitoring of an annual financial budget which estimates financial revenues and expenditures for the fiscal year. The Education Act has specific requirements for school boards regarding the preparation and adoption of financial estimates (known as budgets).

HPEDSB is on a Ministry of Education-mandated three-year financial recovery plan. This plan was set by trustees three years ago and approved by the Ministry of Education. It mandates that the school board rebuild its reserves and maintain a balanced budget.

The financial recovery plan contains a number of permanent and non-permanent savings measures that include: consolidating/closing schools, reducing staff, reducing department and school budgets, deferring the replacement of technology, and taking a number of other measures with the goal of rebuilding an adequate accumulated surplus by the end of 2018-2019.

The planned last year of the financial recovery plan is 2018-2019, although the Ministry of Education has indicated that school boards are not released from financial recovery plans until the financial statements for the final year are available and the revised estimates for the following year are reviewed to ensure that the board is maintaining a balanced or positive financial position.

Enrolment projections for the purpose of developing the 2019-2020 budget were calculated based on input from schools. These projections show a slight increase for elementary enrolment and a decrease for secondary enrolment. Overall, it is anticipated that the board enrolment for 2019-2020 will be 14,895, a decrease of 37.5 pupils relative to 2018-2019 revised estimates.

The 2019-2020 budget is based on the most recent information on funding released by the Ministry of Education.

The Grant for Student Needs (GSN) funding for 2019-2020 has been significantly reduced in many areas from prior years, notably for elementary and secondary teachers, creating a gap in this area between the cost of teachers deployed to schools and the funding to support that expense. This, coupled with other funding reductions, results in the requirement to continue the savings measures that have been implemented under the financial recovery plan in order to produce a balanced budget.

Among the many changes in funding was the confirmation that the Local Priorities Fund ends on August 31, 2019. This fund supported staffing for support staff and teachers and was part of the extension agreements for all unions. The deployment of these funds over the past two years was done collaboratively with unions with the clear understanding that the funding and the related positions would end August 31, 2019.

The expense budget includes classroom staffing at levels similar to present (no changes in elementary schools, secondary school classes continued at an average class size of 22) and continued savings measures that include a small reduction in support staff.

The Board worked hard to maintain staffing levels similar to last year.

Reference documents

Budget report (Pdf)

Appendix A: 2019-2020 Budget (Pdf)

Appendix B: 2018-2019 Budget

Appendix C: Comparison: 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 (Pdf)

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Officer, 613-966-1170 or 1 800 267-4350, extension 62354, kdonnell@hpedsb.on.ca

Board Meeting Update #112

Board Meeting Update #112, October 20, 2014

This update provides a summary of the public meeting of Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board held Monday, October 20, 2014 at the Education Centre. It is an unofficial summary of the meeting; official minutes will be approved at the next regular meeting in November 2014.

Recognition of Sam Clements, Trustee for Trenton/CFB Trenton, retiring after 37 years
After 37 years as an elected school board trustee, Sam Clements will be retiring at the end of November. He chose not to run for election in the municipal election scheduled for October 27, 2014. Mandy Savery-Whiteway, Director of Education, acted as emcee as Sam was honoured. Clements was joined by his wife, Marlene, their children, grandchildren and friends.

Presentations to Sam Clements were made by the following:

  • Dwayne Inch, Chair of the Board, on behalf of the Ministry of Education and also on behalf of Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board;
  • John Williams, Mayor, on behalf of the City of Quinte West; and
  • Thelma Goodfellow, Trustee, on behalf of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association.

A video highlighting Clements’ career with the former Hastings County Board of Education and the amalgamated Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board was shown. Congratulations to Sam Clements for his service to students during the past 37 years.

Report from Committee of the Whole
Highlights from this report included the following:

  • Easement at Harry J. Clarke Public School
  • Probationary status of elementary teachers

Recommendations

Approval of the Annual Accessibility Plan
Board members approved the Annual Accessibility Plan for the period 2014 – 2019. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005) (AODA) and the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2001) (ODA) require school boards to prepare annual plans to address barriers to persons with disabilities. The plan has had several revisions since it was first published in 2005. The Accessibility Advisory Committee met in September 2014 to review and update the plan which incorporates plans for the next five year-period. It is accessible through a link on the HPEDSB website.

Mentally healthy schools letter of support
The HPEDSB AiM—Achievement in Motion for Student Success System Plan (AiM) identifies Reaching High Levels of Student Achievement and Promoting Well-Being for Students and Employees as priorities for 2014-2015. Board members approved a recommendation to send a letter to the Ministry of Education to address the need for additional supports to promote mental health and well-being for all students.

Information

Calendar of Events
A number of district and school events are scheduled for the remainder of October and November 2014.

Upcoming events include the following:

  • Tuesday, October 21: Centre Hastings School Group Girls Soccer Tournament at Madoc Township Public School.
  • Wednesday, October 22: Centre Hastings School Group Boys Soccer Tournament at Madoc Township Public School.
  • Thursday, October 23: V.P. Carswell Elementary School, Grade 4, 5, 6 students to the Royal Ontario Museum & Queen’s Park.
  • Thursday, October 23: Centennial Secondary School, Academic Awards Ceremony.
  • Friday, October 24: Hillcrest School, Wear Purple to Support Child Abuse Prevention.
  • Tuesday, November 11: Remembrance Day ceremonies at several schools.

Notice of motion: Policy Review, Part A, 2014-2015
Notice of motion was given that a recommendation will be presented at the Board meeting on November 17, 2014 to approve changes to the following Board policies:

  • Policy 2: By-laws, Forms
  • Policy 3: Board Operations
  • Policy 3B: Electronic Meetings
  • Policy 3E: Trustee Honoraria
  • Policy 3H: Filling Vacancies on the Board
  • Policy 3J: Board Review/Self-evaluation
  • Policy 3: Operations, Forms
  • Policy 5: Director of Education Job Description
  • Policy 6: Delegation of Authority
  • Policy 8: Board Member Code of Conduct
  • Policy 9: Role of the Board Member
  • Policy 10: Duties of the Chair and Vice-chair
  • Policy 11M: Ad Hoc Committees
  • Policy 16: Selection of the Director of Education

Upcoming meetings

All meetings take place at the Education Centre unless otherwise noted.

  • Wednesday, October 22: Parent Involvement Committee Annual General Meeting, 6:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 23: Special Education Advisory Committee, 5:00 p.m., Quinte Secondary School
  • Monday, November 3: Executive Committee, 11:00 a.m.
  • Monday, November 10: Program & Human Resources Committee, 5:30 p.m.
  • Monday, November 10: Operations & Finance Committee, 7:00 p.m.
  • Monday, November 17: Public Board Meeting, 7:00 p.m., Quinte Mohawk School
  • Monday, November 24: Meeting to approve outstanding meeting minutes, 11:00 a.m.
  • Thursday, November 27: Special Education Advisory Committee, 5:00 p.m., Quinte Secondary School

For more information, please contact Kerry Donnell, Communications Officer, extension 2354, kdonnell@hpedsb.on.ca

Last updated: September 17, 2019 at 2:31 pm