We see two paths to keeping Puntledge where it belongs.
Explore Alternatives at Lake Trail
The Comox Valley is a great place to raise kids, link and is growing as a destination for families drawn to its unmatched beauty.
Innovative school programs can be a path to stability, visit too. But moving Ecole Puntledge to Lake Trail would be an effective closure of both schools and a major loss of resources for School District 71, just when we need room for growth.
We propose: Keep Puntledge at Puntledge, and take the 2016-17 school year to explore alternative uses of the Lake Trail facility.
Lake Trail is well situated and equipped to work as a centrally-located hub for alternative K-12 education. There is demand in the Comox Valley for alternative arts, technology, nature, and trades based programming. The Lake Trail facility could stay unchanged – no expensive renos required – and serve as a small, community-based, alternative school.
It’s important to keep our best resources working now and into the future. We ask our district to consider these options.
We’re in a time of flux. With our primary leadership out the door, we have to think carefully about who will take the helm. Victoria requires a reduction on admin spending to the tune of $350K. In spite of budget cuts, our children’s education must be safeguarded.
We propose a freeze on new administrative hiring until a new direction is found. Consider the job descriptions, and seek input on leadership skills required. Our district has been operating on an old model. To protect our schools, we need to evolve.
We also need to hold Victoria off. We suggest our Trustees ask for a Budget Submission extension, given the loss of our Superintendent and Secretary/Treasurer in mid-year.
With the rapid growth of the downtown core, West Courtenay schools will be needed. When the private sector downsizes, core services are the last to be touched. In our case, ‘core services’ are our schools. It’s time to stabilize our community, and avoid rushing into poor decisions.
All budget areas must be evaluated top to bottom, for the best District-wide outcomes. We have to preserve our essential resources for the future. The following options also need to be on the table.
– Freeze on new administrative hiring.
– Suspend Superintendent hiring through 2017
– Review Job descriptions, and reduce salaries for Supt and Sec. Treasurer
– Consider if every school needs a Vice Principal
– Reduce Senior Administration by 3 or more (retirement or reassignment)
– Eliminate ‘District Principal’ designation
– Reduce Human Resources staff
– Relocate School Board Offices, and reduce space requirements
– Negotiate the sale or lease of School Board site
– Suspend all out-of-District Travel
– Reduce Trustee stipends by 10%
– Increase foreign student fees by 10% or more
– Suspend Professional Development for admin employees
– Review Transportation costs
– Negotiate B.C. Hydro rate decrease, expand Power Smart initiatives
– Budget Submission extension
– Work with community to develop a ‘Community Education Centre’
– Talk to NIDES about possible relocation to Lake Trail, or other programs to Lake Trail
– Shared funding models with City, Non-profits and Business Community
– Grant sources, i.e. Vancouver Foundation, Comox Valley Foundation,
Ministry (Rural Education), City Of Courtenay, CRA, Service Clubs, etc.
– Increase in Community School Links funding