CAPSC | Giving parents a voice

Recent Activities

We want to share some information about recent discussions with the CBE with our membership.  CAPSC executive met with trustees on May 27th, and prior to that had shared notes on a number of issues. The following concerns were discussed at the meeting:

Busing

The CBE is planning to move to congregated stops across the system, meaning that children could potentially have significantly longer walking distances to get to pick-up locations. However, apart from this general information parents know very little about plans for next year. As busing has such a huge impact on families, parents need details on the transportation strategy.

• We indicated the parental expectation that any busing changes be disclosed immediately, so that families can determine what impact the route changes will have on their ability to use the bus this September.

• We noted CBE’s own rules require that public consultation be made prior to making major changes such as those contemplated by the proposed busing changes. Although a transportation survey was completed this spring, little information about the proposed changes has been released. We asked CBE trustees to enforce the consultation rules as a matter of public confidence.

• We pointed out that the new 2,500 students the CBE was expecting would equate to about 750 new riders, and this was an average of 3.3 more students per school.  While we appreciate they might not be spread out evenly across the schools, we asked why this small number of additional riders requires a complete overhaul of bus routes.  

• We note subsequent to our meeting, the CBE sent out a transportation update to parents this past week advising that route changes would be made available August 27th.  It would seem the trustees have not required administration to either (a) complete the required public consultation or (b) advise parents immediately of the proposed changes.  We asked for clarification of their intentions on this matter.

• We also note that under the new budget, revenues for transportation will increase by 7.7%.  Given CBE is contemplating a massive reduction of service, we asked for more detail.  CBE is increasing the number of students by about 2%, making major cuts to services, yet taking in another 7.7% in revenue. 

Right to School Budget

• After several emails, CBE trustees confirmed that parents have the right to obtain school budgets, without reservation.

• Given that some parents are fearful of asking for their school budgets, we asked CBE to place them on the website.  Trustees were going to check if there were any issues about doing this, and we offered to assist CBE by working together to develop a format that would meet CBE and parental needs in order for these budgets to be placed on the website.  We are awaiting a response. 

• We noted again the Education Act gives parents the right to consult on a wide variety of matters at the school.

Engaging Parents at School Council

• We offered several suggestions for improving involvement at school councils, some of which addressed ensuring more information is available on school websites.  This includes curriculum newsletters, PAT scores (including historical information), and simple 2-3 page assessment information in areas such as math.  

Changes in Program of Studies – Math

• We indicated to CBE that Minister Johnson issued a change to the math program of studies in June 2014.  This clarified that multiple math strategies may be taught, but don’t have to be.  Some school principals and teachers have not received this clarification. 

• As math strategies are of great concern to parents, we asked CBE to confirm that these critical changes have been communicated, and at what point. 

As information becomes available, we will be updating you!  If you have questions or comments about any of these issues, please feel free to contact me at president@capsc.ca.

 

Regards,

Michael McIntosh, Interim President