Council Insider – September 24, 2019

Here is a summary of the matters discussed at the 24 September meeting of the Council of Commissioners. To learn how the Western Québec School Board is governed, visit the Governance page.

Public Participation

Dr. Tasha Ausman, a teacher at Hadley-Philemon, presented to Council the participation of the Western Québec Teachers’ Association (WQTA) in the 2019 Capital Pride event. She sought to obtain Council’s support for the following editions. Commissioners will discuss the matter at its next meeting.

Mr. Brian Smeltzer, President of the WQTA, requested that Council considers reinstating Policy F14 on the recognition of years of service to long-time WQSB teachers [context: Policy F14 was rescinded by Council years ago after important provincial cuts in the education sector].

Mr. Smeltzer also spoke on the workplace violence experienced by teachers in our school board. This follows the publication of the results from a province-wide survey led by the Québec Provincial Association of Teachers.

Chair’s Report

Chairman Alain Guy welcomed Commissioners to the new school year and shared his concerns with the provincial government’s commitment to eliminate or replace democratically elected school boards. Chairman Guy is working with other members of the Quebec English School Board Association on the dossier.

The Chair congratulated the five Western Québec graduates who received Perseverance Entrance Bursaries from the Heritage College Foundation.

Chairman Guy also took the opportunity to address new and returning members of staff and thank them on behalf of Council for the exceptional support in the delivery of quality educational services.

Director General’s Report

Management Advisory Committee

Director General Mike Dubeau addressed members of Council on topics including the Management Advisory Committee meeting held in August, where the Board’s Directions for 2019-2020, the Leading Administrators Programs, financial and human resources expectations were presented and discusses, along with the recent upgrades to the Teacher Induction Program.

He reminded commissioners of the success and innovation of the Teacher Induction Program, a program which supports newly recruited teachers with opportunities for ongoing professional learning, a structured Mentor-Coach fellowship, and a professional standard of high quality teaching for retention through a multifaceted evaluation process. To date, the program resulted in the retention of 89% of our year-one and year-two teachers.

DG Dubeau updated Council with a revised schedule for the Lab-École project over at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School. The call for tender for architects was published on August 12, and 71 architectural firms have retrieved the documents. The PETES jury is set to meet on October 12 to go over the designs and select four finalists. The contest will then continue until a winning architectural firm is selected in March 2020.

It was also reported that, once again, Western Québec’s student population is increasing. The current enrollment of 7507 represents a 12.8% increase from school year 2013-2014.

The Director General was pleased to inform Council that, in partnership with the Algonquin Nation’s Human Resources Sustainable Development Department, it has opened the Asnishnabe Adult Education Centre in Notre-Dame-du-Nord. The Department has provided the board with a beautiful facility, and we have already engaged two teachers and a student support worker to provide adult education services. Assistant Director General and Director of Adult Education Ruth Ahern will act as the centre director. The centre’s first students have started on September 16. The school board hopes that this unique and exciting partnership will eventually grow to include vocational training programming.

Budget Overruns – Renovations of Washrooms at Hadley Philemon and Interior Finishes at Hull Adult Ed

For a number of reasons presented at council, the costs of two of the board’s current renovation projects are going slightly above the 10% overrun threshold permitted. These overruns were approved. An explanation will be sent to the Treasury Board.

Derogation Request to the Purchasing Policy – Auditorium Seating at Pontiac High School

The Pontiac High School community has raised funds for the replacement of the school’s auditorium seating, and was specific on its quality, colour, dimension and installation layout. The community has worked with a supplier capable of meeting these specifications. Because the funds raised by the community will cover the entire cost of the seats and their installation, the board’s senior administrators recommended to council that, in this exceptional circumstance, it authorizes the school board to enter into a contract without following the regular tendering process prescribed by the Act Respecting Contracting by Public Bodies. Council approved.

Major Renovation Projects Under Provincial Measure 50621 – $6.51 Million

The Ministry of Education allocated our board $6,513,148 towards major renovations to any building. Director of Buildings, Technology and Transport Pascal Proulx sought Council’s approval before the board recommends the following projects to the Ministry.

School Project Planned Scope Amount Expected Construction
Golden Valley Renovation of the Gymnasium Sand and Varnish floor, floor lines, Equipment, Heating System, Lighting, Repainting, Interior entrance doors, Storage $465,000 Summer 2021
Golden Valley Interior Renovation Hallways, Stairwell, Classroom Doors, Lighting, Floor, Ceiling $1,000,000 Summer 2020
Greater Gatineau Renovation of the Gymnasium Phase 2 Upper section of the walls, Dividing wall, Renovation of the floor, Mobile Stage $625,000 Summer 2021
Hull Centre Interior Renovation Second floor and Stairwells Floor, Ceiling, Doors, Lighting, Painting $900,000 Summer 2021
Hull Centre Renovation of the Main Entrance and the North Entrance Accessibility, Surface Water Runoff, Sidewalk, Masonry $475,000 Summer 2020
McDowell/Pontiac Centre Renovation of the Main Entrance (Pontiac Adult Ed) Canopy, Stairs, Accessibility $160,000 Summer 2020
Onslow Renovation of the West Entrance Canopy, Cement Slab $100,000 Summer 2020
Pontiac High Interior Renovation Hallways 1.200a, 1.200b, 1.200c, Cafeteria, Agora, Kitchen $400,000 Summer 2020
Hadley/Philemon Wright Renovation of the Washrooms, Showers and Change Rooms Washrooms 1.512, 1.422, Washrooms, Showers and Change Rooms in the Philemon Wright section $660,000 Summer 2021
Wakefield Modification of the Geothermal equipment and Water Runoff Removal of the Cottage (Obligation), Move the Geothermal equipment in the school, Leveling the land $803,148 Summer 2020
WQCC Roof Phase 2 3 roof sections on the first extension $725,000 Summer 2020
Centre l’Envol Roof, Gutters and Chimney Renovation of the Roof (Shingles), Replacement of the Gutters and Masonry $200,000 Summer 2020

Major Renovation Projects under Provincial Measure 50622 – $2.55 Million

The Ministry of Education allocated our board $2,544,353 towards major renovations to buildings with a conditional index of D or E. Director of Buildings, Technology and Transport Pascal Proulx sought Council’s approval before the board recommends the following projects to the Ministry.

School Project Planned Scope Amount Expected Construction
Buckingham Interior Renovation of the Stairwells Renovation of the Walls, Railing, Ceiling, Lighting, Fire doors in the Bus Entrance Stairwell, K5 Stairwell, Scene Stairwells, Stairwells A $375,000 Summer 2020
Buckingham External Works Caulking and Soffits $100,000 Summer 2020
Lord Aylmer Junior Campus Renovation of the Gymnasium Repair the floor, Lines on the floor, Equipment, Painting, Lighting, CVCA Equipment $435,000 Summer 2021
Poltimore Roof Replacement of the roof membrane $234,353 Summer 2020
South Hull Masonry Repointing of the Bricks $200,000 Summer 2021
South Hull Renovation of the Washrooms Boys Washroom and 2 girls Washrooms $475,000 Summer 2021
South Hull Renovation of the Big Gymnasium Replace floor, Fixing Walls, Painting, Lighting, CVCA $725,000 Summer 2021

Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Gatineau for the Use of Facilities

The City of Gatineau has approached the board to join a memorandum of understanding for the use of facilities in exchange for services, an agreement that was developed with the French-language school boards on the Gatineau territory. By approaching us with this memorandum, the City offers its services and, in exchange, asks that it be prioritized when allocating remaining hours of facility rental in our schools [context: our schools already rent out their gymnasiums and common areas outside of school hours, more often to the Anglophone community through other English-language organizations]. After discussing related concerns, commissioners approved the signature of a memorandum of understanding.

Revised Policy D1 for the Reimbursement of Expenses

As recommended by Director of Finance Sandra Cox, Council carried the approval of the revised Policy D1 and its annex A on the reimbursement of expenses and employee travel. The new policy is available on the board’s website.

Revised Policy G1 on School Transportation

As recommended by the Transportation Committee, Council has passed amendments to the board’s transportation policy. The revised policy has been sent to all governing boards for review and comments.

Other Matters

Council has passed additional motions, including ones pertaining to insurance, phone installation and the nomination of a member of staff as Responsable de l’application des règles contractuelles under provincial law.

This concludes your Council Insider for 24 September 2019.

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Disclaimer – This information is provided solely as a short summary of the matters discussed at the Council of commissioners meeting. This summary is provided in the spirit of transparency, and it will in no way replace the official minutes of this meeting, which are usually approved at the following meeting, and made available online shortly thereafter. In the case of a conflict between the information provided here and the approved official minutes, the latter takes precedence.

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