Friday, November 20, 2009

Budget Challenge 2010 - Input Opportunities

As part of its public input process the school board has posted the list of proposed changes presented and discussed at the November 18th Budget Challenge meetings to their website. Recognizing it was difficult to get through all these suggestions in the time available and that not all interested parents were available to attend the meeting the district is asking parents interested in submitting further input to do so by November 23rd.

For the list of suggested options go to:

NVPAC Nov. Meeting Summary

A big thank you to all the parents that made it out in the rain and awful traffic to our NVPAC meeting last night. For those that weren't there. We elected a new Member-at-Large, Mike Sexsmith. Welcome on board Mike. 

We also had a short session on School Planning Councils, and some of the resources available to support that process in our schools. For parents interested in the variety of plans coming out of SPC efforts there is a summary of the plans on the NVSD website at:

Following that we discussed the very interesting and positive discussions taking place in the education and programs meetings this year.For parents interested in how the district teaches and evaluates our children we are hoping to have some of the teachers involved in the Educational Institute program  come and talk at an upcoming meeting about how this programs the District is following  improves teaching quality and mentor teachers.

Lastly we talked a lot about Wednesday nights Budget Challenge 2010 meetings. Feedback from those that attended was that cafe format was good, everyone found it very useful to have a good mix of experience and perspective at their tables and that generally the conversations were helpful, respectfull and positive.

On the other hand, attendees also felt the number of items to discuss were too great, in many cases just getting through them took too long to allow consideration and that perhaps many of them were in areas where it would be more relevant for people who understood the implications to look at the items. That there was no real time for new ideas to come to the table.

There was general agreement on a couple of things
1. That we should avoid cutting in areas that we need to heal or regrow the districts capacity and try to focus cuts in areas we can get back when situations change.
2. That the meeting didn't enable discussion on the big issues because there were so many small ones.
3. That NVPAC members see the need to restructure the district and build something new and would be willing to discuss the big issues that would entail, rather than just looking at long lists of potential cuts, .

A major concern though was that the timeline for the decision-making is unclear. Parents would like a better understanding of when decisions are being made and by whom.
Lastly, It was clear from the discussion that people recognize that we are fortunate in North Van to have a school district that does go to such lengths to consult with the broader community and parents are very glad to have the opportunity to ensure we continue delivering quality education in North Van.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Budget Challenge 2010 - Nov. 18th - "Defining Student Achievement"

The Budget Challenge 2010 meetings continue next week and NVPAC is encouraging parents to attend and give input into this district prioritization process.

7 p.m. November 18, 2009: Sutherland Secondary, 1860 Sutherland Avenue

The meeting will use a World Café format to discuss issues raised during the initial discussion process in smaller groups. In particular this meeting will look at “How do we define student achievement and how much program diversity can we afford?”

At issue here is how the district can organize itself to ensure students reach their achievement goals and to what extent the school district can and should provide programs to meet the diverse needs of individual students rather than concentrating all of the districts funds on meeting the needs of most students with higher overall quality programs.

The meeting is expected to start with an overview of the purpose of the meeting and then move into a discussion of the budget proposals that have been developed under the five themes discussed at the Oct. 20th meeting: Instructional practice, Program Diversity, Community Connections, Facilities, Information and Communications Technology.

More information can be found at:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Budget Challenge 2010 - Public Input Needed

The North Van School District is asking parents to comment on what its priorities should be as it tries to rebuild its budget in the face of $10 million worth of cuts over the next 3 years.

But rather than keep looking at this from a perspective of annual cuts the district is trying to rebuild the budget around a plan for a longer term, sustainable district structure. But what that structure is is unclear.

The District needs our help to decide what we as a community want the school district to provide for our children. Beyond the mandated curriculum how do we want to deliver education to our children, what is it that we want to be unique to North Vancouver and our children's experience in the district, what is it about how we deliver education in North Vancouver that we value vs. what can be changed.

The process for this discussion is being called "Budget Challenge 2010" and the next public meeting is on Nov. 18th. This meeting is being designed around a "world cafe" model to enable groups to discuss specific issues and considerations as part of this process.

More info on this can be found on the Budget Challenge 2010 web page

Leading into this next discussion the district is currently seeking public input to decide what those themes of discussion need to be. They have asked the public to respond to two questions

1. What are the areas that you are most concerned be maintained and preserved?
2. What areas do you believe could be reduced to enable us to maintain priority services?

These are open ended questions but they form the basis of this very important discussion about what we want the District to deliver for our Children.

To respond to these questions please complete the Districts input document  and send your responses by November 9th to the Budget Challenge address.