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Jun 02

Chris Smeaton

From the Desk of the Superintendent- June 2015

June has arrived! Nine months of incredible work has led us to this point. Exams are forthcoming, field trips are in full swing and summer vacation is right around the corner! But before we talk about June though, let’s talk about the history that took place in Alberta in May. Can you believe that after 44 years of the same conservative government, we have swung fully to the left? Although I try to stay fairly apolitical in my position, I must say that I have been most impressed with the beginning leadership of our new premier. Later today, I will have a chance to hear our new Minister of Education, David Eggen.

Certainly for our school board, the announcement to restore the funding by the new government was welcome news. The previous budget process had been very difficult as we tried to slash and burn every non-staff expense we could to ensure all front line staff were maintained. Through attrition and retirement we would have been down by 3.65 FTE educational assistant staff without any permanent positions being lost or hours reduced. However, with funding restored, we will be able to advertise for additional positions to support our students and our system. Even with the additional dollars however, the budgets for transportation and especially plant operations and maintenance continue to be stretched well beyond acceptable limits. There are still some tough decisions that will need to be made but overall, we are extremely happy with the funding announcement.

Due to the funding announcement and the extension for the budget submission, the May board meeting did not include the passing of our education plan or budget. This has now been delayed until June in order to give divisions time to allocate the additional funds appropriately and based on local context. One of the highlights of the meeting was a presentation to Mr. Rob Jetten from Catholic Central High School. Mr. Jetten was recognized as a semi-finalist for Alberta Education’s Excellence in Teaching Awards and is certainly deserving of this honor. Please ensure that you pass on congratulations to Rob!

Speaking of excellence, we are about to say goodbye to some incredible people in our division as they retire. On June 9th, the Board of Trustees will be hosting their annual retirement banquet. Although I always speak at this banquet, it is important to provide a public “shout out” to all of our retirees, congratulating them for their years of service and most importantly their commitment to students. May God bless you in your retirement with continued hope, health and happiness.

Finally, I would like to remind all of our staff of my initiative, “Superintendent Chat” held every Friday (that I’m in town) from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM. I want to especially invite those staff who may be interested in leadership positions in the future. With a maturing leadership team, we are anticipating between 15-20 administrative positions being available over the next five years. If you have any inkling of leadership please give Anisha Gatner a call (403-331-4304) and book a time to sit down and chat.

Enjoy June, it will pass by quickly! Best of luck to our students as they write exams and submit final projects. And watch for one final post at the conclusion of the school year. Take care and God Bless!

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