Finance a focus at Mystery Lake school board’s Dec. 3 meeting

Funding, finances and fire alarms were among the topics discussed at the School District of Mystery Lake (SDML) board of trustees meeting Dec. 3 in Thompson.

Educational service and programming superintendent Lorie Henderson said the district has received money through the Family Outreach Co-ordinator Grant to fund the district’s family outreach co-ordinator Jason Bayer.

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“The intent of that position is to build an enhanced capacity for the active involvement of families in the education of their children,” said Henderson. “The focus is on marginalized families and we are fortunate to be one of two school districts to have that position. There’s Louis Riel School Division and then our school division. Jason’s responsibilities are Wapanohk Community School, Juniper School and R.D. Parker. He spends his time doing home visits, working with our community connector and supporting our school staff. He also sits at the hub table and he’s been invited to our January meeting to do a presentation about his position."

At a previous board meeting Nov. 19, Henderson said that Bayer conducted 186 home visits to families of R.D. Parker Collegiate students last school year, as well as 104 for Juniper students and 206 for Wapanohk Community School students.

“I know that other schools would really like for him to help out in their schools but right now he has a very full caseload,” Henderson said.

Still on the topic of finances, secretary-treasurer Kelly Knott said the district had spent 25.5 per cent of the funds allocated in its financial plan for the school year as of Nov. 29, which marked nearly 31 per cent of the school year, based on days in classes.

“There’s no unexpected surprises at this time,” she said. “We’re in good shape heading into winter. November was a fairly mild month for us so that looks good on our heating bills."

The board approved first reading of a debenture bylaw to pay for the cost of installing windows in Wapanohk School. The project is cost-shared equally with the province and the debenture will represent the province’s share of the cost.

Operational surplus funds that had been earmarked for the installation of modular classrooms at Wapanohk School, which should be in place for the start of next school year, will now be used for renewal of security and public announcement systems at several schools because the Public School Finance Board is paying for the modular classrooms through long-term borrowing.

Henderson also had a reminder for parents after a recent fire alarm at a school just around the time that students were finishing up for the day.

“There was a fire alarm and the fire department responded,” said Henderson. “Parents and visitors, when there’s a fire alarm or if there’s a lockdown please do not enter the building. It is a safety concern and it’s an added pressure to those who are tending to the situation.”

The meeting was the last for the school board until school resumes in January following the Christmas break.

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