July 6, 2020 Special Meeting of LDSB Board of Trustees
Please note the July 6, 2020 special meeting was conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 extended school closure.
Private Session Update
Vice Chair Laurie French provided a public report of topics discussed in private sessions ahead of recent meetings. From the Committee of the Whole (Director Selection) from June 24, 2020 and June 29, 2020, Trustees approved a motion to have the Superintendent of Business Services draft the employment agreement for the successful candidate. During the July 6, 2020 private session held prior to the public session, there was a motion approved regarding the final Selection of the Director. Trustees passed the following motion: That the Board of Trustees appoint Superintendent Krishna Burra as the next Director of Education for the Limestone District School Board, effective August 4, 2020. The offer is pending the final approval filed with the Ministry of Education.
Chair Suzanne Ruttan provided the following report.
Chair Ruttan indicted she was extremely happy to welcome Superintendent Burra into his new role of Director of Education on behalf of the Board of Trustees. She shared that an extensive executive search presented the Board of Trustees with several high calibre and worthy candidates.
She also wished retiring Director Rantz well as she begins her new chapter. The Chair acknowledged that the transition between directors will be different due to the amount of work and flexibility that will be required due to current conditions related to COVID-19.
The Chair shared that this would be a very different summer for many reasons and she thanked all the staff for making themselves available as the Ministry requests their services specifically with respect to return-to-school planning. She indicated that the Board will do its best to keep families as up to date as possible.
Director of Education Debra Rantz provided the following report.
Director Rantz congratulated Superintendent Burra on his appointment as Limestone’s next director. She indicated that Mr. Burra's wealth of knowledge and experience, his positive and collaborative leadership style, and his commitment to student achievement and well-being make him the ideal candidate to lead Limestone in the coming years.
The Director shared that students, families and staff are all eager to learn more specific details about the proposed return to school in the fall. She indicated that the Minister of Education has asked school boards to prepare for a full return based on 15 students per class, a remote return, and a hybrid model of the two.
The Board has received more than 6,000 responses to its family survey on school re-entry and staff are now analyzing the results. She said the Board is working with regional boards to share planning strategies and working with Tri-Board Student Transportation to understand busing implications.
The Board has assembled working groups of principals for full understanding of operational impacts to schools and Board staff have met with union executives. The Board is committed to sharing its operational approaches with them prior to sharing with the Ministry at the end of July. The Ministry has made it clear that plans are to be vetted through them and provincial health prior to detailed planning and sharing. Plans will not be approved until early August when they are in a better position to assess the public health situation.
Although there are still many unknowns regarding the new school year, the Director indicated that its plans will always have the health, safety and well-being of students, staff and families as its priority.
Report Requiring Decision: 2020-2021 School Year Calendar
Associate Superintendent Scot Gillam presented a report on the amended School Year Calendar for 2020-2021.
In February 2020, the Board approved its 2020-2021 School Year Calendar and submitted it to the Ministry of Education for approval in March 2020. This calendar called for school to begin on Monday, August 31, 2020 (PA Day). The first day for students would be Tuesday, September 1, 2020.
On June 20, 2020, the Ministry directed Boards to start school year by September 1, 2020 and include three PA Days prior to start of student instruction.
LDSB has amended its calendar and resubmitted the following: the new school year will still begin on Monday, August 31 with a PA Day. This will be followed by two additional PA Days on Tuesday, September 1 and Wednesday, September 2. School would then start for students on Thursday, September 3, 2020.
Trustees approved the amended calendar which will now be submitted back to the Ministry by July 10, 2020 for approval. Once approved by the Ministry, the Board will communicate the new school year calendar with families and staff.