The altered school year first proposed for the Weyburn Comprehensive School for next year was rescinded for the 2010-11 school year, due to the delays in the startup of the extensive construction and renovation project.
Originally, the plan was for construction to start this fall, and the intent was to make each day a bit longer with fewer professional development days, with the result that their school year was going to end at the start of June, giving students a three-month summer holiday.
The reason for doing this was to allow the more intensive construction activity to then take place over the summer months, such as the demolition of the former Collegiate building and the other older parts of the school, before school resumed the next fall.
Now, however, the design phase for Phase 1 of the Comp School project isnt expected to be completed until December for board approval, said education director Marc Casavant. The project would then go to tender in January, with construction not starting until about mid-May, barring any further delays.
As the school division has to apply to run an altered school calendar on a year-to-year basis, his recommendation was then to cancel it for this school year, and possibly reapply for it for the following school year.
Principal Wade Oberg has put in a lot of effort to put in an altered calendar, said Casavant, adding he hopes they will still apply in the following year so Obergs work will not be wasted.
Theres going to be some very sad people, said trustee Audrey Trombley. This was a very popular decision. Is it necessary to revert it?
Casavant said if the project timetable isnt delayed again, the project could start up on the exterior of the school by May 15, and added, One more delay wed be pushed back into mid to late June.
Based on this, he said, the altered school year wouldnt do any good, so it should be rescinded for the one year at least.
The Cornerstone School Division also passed its budget for the fiscal year in which they propose to spend $90.1 million, with a surplus of just under $7 million, which will go into their two large capital projects, the Weyburn Comp and the new school at Oxbow.
The salaries and benefits for the staff of 1,200 takes up 72 per cent of the operating expenses, with 22.5 per cent for goods and services, 4.5 per cent for amortization and 0.5 per cent for debt servicing.
The capital expenditures total $14.75 million, with $13.3 million focused on the Comp ($3 million) and Oxbow ($8 million) schools, eight large roof repairs ($1.8 million) and upgrade projects.
The total staffing for the school division includes 546.51 full-time equivalent teachers, an increase of 21.14 positions, and non-teaching staff of 553.11, a reduction of 23.95.
The budgets funding was set with the following goals in mind: a pupil-teacher ratio of 14.64, and a pupil-educator ratio of 13.92, with increased professional supports for students with needs; there is a 2.5 per cent labour cost increase for non-teaching staff; diesel fuel was costed out at $1.15 a litre, and heating costs were an average of the prior two years.
In addition, the division is buying seven new school buses, and upgrading the computer technology in use in the schools, with an expansion of wireless systems for schools, phone and intercom upgrades, a content filter on school computers to help keep students safe on the Internet.
Asked about the school-based budgets, Casavant said a number of the smaller rural schools indicated their school-based budgets are insufficient, so the board will be meeting with the administrators of those schools to discuss the issue.
Meantime, the board was asked to choose a new name for the Oxbow school, using one of two suggestions made out of a contest held; the chosen name for the school which will open for the 2010-11 school year was Oxbow Prairie Horizons School.