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Trillium Lakelands

School board notes: A $3 million deficit, students’ resilience, and a 100 day report from director

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Trustees opt for ‘fresh face and new ideas’ with incoming director of education
Director of Education for TLDSB, Wes Hahn.

The Trillium Lakelands District School Board recently met, covering their recent audit, staff reporting on some of the upsides seen during the pandemic, and the director of education’s 100-day report.

2019-2020 board financial audit reports $3 million deficit 

Superintendent of Finance Tim Ellis presented the auditors report to trustees.

Ellis pointed out that some numbers will look different this year because of pandemic affected accounting. For example, with property taxes deferred until later in 2020 by Kawartha Lakes, the province had to step in with TLDSB and front the board the money that would have normally been transferred by the municipality.

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Worries about octoblocks grow as students, teachers deal with relentless pace

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Despite the mostly positive reports coming from senior Trillium Lakelands District School Board staff regarding octoblocks, a different narrative is emerging powered by student and teacher experiences.

Octoblocks, according to a school trustee, a union representative, and three teachers are affecting students and staff in a number of negative ways.

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Parents push for school photos; more money coming for tech, infrastructure

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Bobcaygeon area trustee John Byrne told fellow trustees at the recent Trillium Lakelands District School Board meeting that parents are pushing schools to carry on with school photos this year.

Outsiders, like photographers, have been restricted from school property to help contain the COVID virus.

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Remember good old snow days? Say hello to online learning instead

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Remember good old snow days? Say hello to online learning instead

On snow days bused students generally stay home when the harshest winter days mean bus cancellations, something that seems to be a common, positive memory for rural kids.

Town kids are often expected to trudge on into class or get dropped off to school by parents.

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Octoblocks: Trustees hear pros, cons of 22 days of only one class

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Octoblocks: Trustees hear pros and cons of 22 days of only one class

Trillium Lakelands District School Board staff and trustees spent much of their recent board meeting looking at statistical and anecdotal evidence about the first high school octoblock that ended Oct. 16.

For readers unfamiliar with an octoblock, the board decided as a public health measure to limit student contacts to one class and have students take one subject only for five hours a day for 22 straight days.

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Board says parents may need to take their kids to school as bus driver shortage intensifies

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The Trillium Lakelands District School Board has posted to social media that due to the ongoing bus driver shortage parents should be prepared to handle their own transportation needs to and from school if needed.

“Due to our current shortage of qualified school bus drivers,” the board’s social media message began, “any day we (TLDSB) could be without a driver for your child’s route. It is important to make alternative transportation arrangements to get your child to and from school in the event of a cancellation.”

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Multiple bus cancellations could happen by Thanksgiving due to driver shortages

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Sinead Fegan, communications officer for the Trillium Lakelands District School Board, and Tim Ellis, superintendent of business, have shared publicly for the first time this week that the board’s transportation suppliers are finding it difficult to recruit bus drivers for fall 2020, and that this driver shortage may create serious issues later in October.

“Yes, currently the transportation operators are having an issue with finding drivers,” Fegan wrote in an email to the Advocate.

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Learning at home, HVAC funding among challenges for TLDSB

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Distance learning may be the new reality for Ontario students

Senior staff at Trillium Lakelands Board of Education made sure trustees were aware at their regular September meeting of the challenges they’re facing — including upgrading HVAC systems.

The challenge, according to superintendent of business Tim Ellis, is that although the board received additional funding for HVAC updates of more than $500,000, boards only have eight weeks to spend it or lose it.

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TLDSB commits $4 million from reserve to cover COVID expenses

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Local trustees approved the spending of up to $4 million of their financial reserve to cover COVID related expenses for the 2020-2021 school year.

The board voted unanimously “to access surplus funds up to 2 per cent of the board operating budget to come from the surplus to be used at the discretion of senior management.”

At the same meeting the board announced a $220 million dollar budget with a $995,000 deficit for the 2020-2021 school year.

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What the first day of school will look like, elementary and secondary

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Octoblocks: Trustees hear pros and cons of 22 days of only one class

Wes Hahn, director of education for the Trillium Lakelands District School Board, began to share with trustees last Tuesday at a Special Meeting of the Board what opening day for students is going to look like.

School signage

Signage is current being installed at all schools to indicate what access doors are locked and unlocked and what direction students are to walk in the halls.

Cleaning

“Enhanced cleaning” of facilities is planned for morning, mid-day and evening each school day. Hahn praised the “passion and commitment to making this work” shown by custodial staff right across the board.

Length of in-school day

300 minutes of learning time have been mandated by the province.

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