River East’s resolutions on daycare nixed
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/03/2013 (3727 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It was a bad day for River East Transcona trustees and a good day for school-based daycare centres.
Meeting at their annual convention Friday, members of the Manitoba School Boards Association overwhelmingly rejected a River East bid demanding the province allow local trustees the authority to relocate school-based daycare centres if schools need the space.
And trustees just as overwhelmingly turned down a River East proposal that any future daycare centres on school property be stand-alone facilities.
To make it a dubious hat trick, the assembled trustees even more resoundingly killed a River East demand that the province prove capping class size works.
River East Transcona trustees unsuccessfully lobbied for local autonomy — arguing that with the province mandating smaller class sizes, schools may need the daycare spaces as classrooms. The alternative would be to convert other facilities to classroom use, they said.
Otherwise, said River East trustee Shirley Timm-Rudolph, “We will lose our music rooms, we will lose our art rooms, we will have to bus children” to other schools.
But about 80 per cent of delegates backed Red River Valley trustee Shelley Syrota, who declared: “Daycare centres belong in our schools.”
If trustees backed the proposal, said Derek Dabee of Seven Oaks, “This has the potential to move us backwards.”
Seine River’s Robert Rivard said the MSBA itself pressured the province in 2006 to place daycares in schools: “(The River East motion) constitutes a complete reversal of MSBA policy. Our credibility as educators and community leaders is on the line,” said Rivard.
St. James-Assiniboia trustee Ed Hume said the issue was a watershed moment for school board survival, and for local autonomy over central control: “School boards all over Canada are fighting for their lives, they have a big bull’s-eye,” said Hume.
But Syrota said the issue is about schools supporting all children and early-years education: “We’re not here for power or autonomy,” she said.
River East Transcona also pitched a plea to have future daycares built separately from schools.
Trustee Real Dequier of Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine said that would mean bundling up children in winter to move between buildings. “We’ve lobbied very hard to have attached daycare centres,” he said.
The trustees said by about a four-to-one margin they have all the evidence they need that smaller class sizes benefit children.
“I’d like to see some empirical evidence” an NDP election promise will work, said River East trustee Wayne Ritcher. “If it’s not going to work, why are we doing it?”
The NDP has mandated 90 per cent of kindergarten to Grade 3 classes must be 20 students or less by 2017.
Other agenda items
— Floyd Martens, a trustee from Dauphin-area Mountain View School Division, has been acclaimed president of the Manitoba School Boards Association.
He succeeds Seine River trustee Robert Rivard.
Louis Riel trustee Wayne Ruff is the urban vice-president and Ken Cameron of Minnedosa-area Rolling River was elected vice-president for school divisions with fewer than 6,000 students.
— The Manitoba School Boards Association wants the provincial government to assume all capital and operating costs for having mandated that by 2017, class size will be capped at 20 kids in kindergarten to Grade 3. Over to you, Finance Minister Stan Struthers.
— As the province implements uniform report cards, they should be grouped into kindergarten to Grade 4 early years, grades 5 to 8 middle years, and grades 9 to 12 senior years sets, school trustees said Friday at their annual convention.
— Not the first time this has been raised — school trustees want exterior cameras on school buses to ensure motorists obey traffic laws. And the MSBA wants the provincial government to pay the costs of buying and installing that equipment.
— Speed up the approval and installation of capital projects to accommodate special-needs students in schools, trustees told Education Minister Nancy Allan Friday.
“Sometimes, students have graduated before the requisite facilities have been put in place,” grumbled St. James-Assiniboia trustee Craig Johnson.
— Trustees will give further study to the Winnipeg School Division’s plea to the province not to issue any more liquor licences or approve liquor outlets within 1,000 metres of schools.
WSD trustee Cathy Collins said she sees safety problems because of inner-city hotels close to schools such as Sister MacNamara, Sacre Coeur and Pinkham.
Louis Riel trustee Tom Parker said the focus should be on areas of high crime, not everywhere in the province.
Sunrise trustee Mike Lawson scoffed at the proposal: “It’s a bit of a parent issue — MSBA has bigger fish to fry.”
— The Pembina Trails school board got nowhere on a request the province provide divisions with locations and number of residents for group and foster homes within their borders.
Trustee Jackie Field said such students need additional services. But other trustees said students in care should not be singled out.