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School board to start reviewing facilities

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Sixth Street and North Star Community School will be the first two facilities the Rainy River District School Board reviews as it begins to assess how to best spend its school renewal funding next year, it was revealed at last night’s meeting.

Other schools to be reviewed down the road are Alberton, J.W. Walker, Alexander MacKenzie, Nestor Falls, McCrosson-Tovell, Crossroads, Robert Moore, Donald Young, Huffman, and Riverview.

“The Ministry [of Education] is going to hold school boards more accountable for their schools now,” noted Murray Quinn, the board’s superintendent of plant and maintenance.

“Through this review, we can identify the conditions and needs of our schools,” he added.

The review will consist of two sets of reports—a school condition report and a maintenance condition report. The first will reflect the public’s view of the specific school, and suggestions for repairs and improvements.

It will be completed by a number of stakeholders, such as principals, schools councils, and students.

“We want community input on our schools. In the northwest, people are very close to their schools,” Education Director Warren Hoshizaki noted.

The second report will be completed by Quinn and his staff on maintenance needs such as roof repairs, paint jobs, floor tiling, etc.

The format for the evaluation of Sixth Street and North Star, and the schools that follow, will consist of Quinn compiling the information gathered and copying all documents for trustees, who will get a good picture of the state of the board’s facilities.

“What we’re trying to do is review an older school and a newer school to see what kind of range we’re looking at,” Quinn noted.

“Overall, the review will give us a good idea of our high, low, and mid priorities,” he added. “From there, trustees will get a good idea of what needs to be done first.”

Reviewing facilities in such a way is something new to Northwestern Ontario, Hoshizaki said.

“We’re actually taking a jump ahead to create a standard for community schools,” he explained. “Other boards are not required to do this but we may soon see them following suit.”

A document developed by the ministry, entitled “Pupil Accommodation-Accountability Framework,” has been circulated to board members and trustees to provide a guideline in the collection of data on each school.

Laura Mills, the board’s chief financial officer, will begin to gather financial information on the first two schools to be reviewed. She will explain how money is obtained for school renewal and capital projects at the committee’s next meeting Dec. 9.

Also at last night’s regular meeting (held at Rainy River High School), the board:

•looked over the provincial results of grade three testing held earlier this year (see related story on A—);

•presented Rainy River High School teachers Paul Elliott, Keith Ailey, Guy Arpin, John Laplante, Roben Ogden, and Kelly Smith with this month’s “Recognition of Excellence” award for mentoring grade nine students in the school’s “teacher-advisor program;”

•awarded the tender for computer equipment to Wilson’s Business Solutions on the basis of service and product in relation to price in the amount of $215,540;

•received a report from the policy committee;

•acknowledged the Nov. 2 personnel report, which reports Donald Young School teacher Sherri Allan taking a six-month leave of absence, and the addition of three caretaking staff, one administrative

assistant, and one secretary to board personnel; and

•accepted the confirmation of input and approval from principals Don McBride, Terry Ellwood, and Darryl Gannon regarding the ministry’s community involvement diploma requirement.

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