Lately, the value of school boards has been under attack by those who make sweeping, generalized statements aimed at misleading you, our community. I’d like to pass on information that I believe truly represents the value the school board offers and how the incredibly professional, talented people in this building make a huge difference in the ability to offer quality, innovative and effective education of our students. The results, of course, cannot be denied – we have one of the highest success rates in the province and continue to improve upon it.
While these numbers represent our board in 2008-2009, the latest figures available from MELS, the numbers today would only show even higher percentages of our resources focused on the students.
Percentage of school board cost per student:
Teaching Activities: 59.22%
Teaching Support Activities: 24.96%
(In school administration, library, computers, psychologists/speech therapist, student life, animation, health and social services, school success, teacher PD)
Furniture, building and equipment: 9.8%
Council of Commissioners: 0.21%
Administrative Activities: 5.77%
(Finance, IT, Legal & Archives, Transportation Management, Payroll Services, Union Negotiators, and senior management).
With less than 6% of our budget, the board meets all our reporting requirements to MELS (Financial, Registration, Grades, Strategic Plans, Annual Reports and Management Success Agreements),
manages our Educational Services and Student Services, coordinates transportation to 51 buildings
for about 15,000 students, manages the payroll, recruitment and human resources function for 4,500 employees, provides legal and archive services, maximizes our relationships with vendors resulting in minimum pricing for so many of the products used in our classrooms daily, coordinates quality food and nutrition services (and education!) including the delivery of hot meals to schools without cafeterias and management of a Hungry Kids program allowing us to provide meals for many students in need, and maintains our internet and computer network services 24/7. It also includes all of the photocopy machines and telephones in schools and centers, all of the software to run accounting and payroll systems in schools and centers and report cards, two architects and two engineers to oversee the 57 buildings in the school board network, two lawyers to oversee all legal issues, and three accountants to ensure proper accounting practices and tax laws are respected for a $250 million budget.
Any organization, public or private, would be hard pressed to deliver this more economically.
Well before MELS introduced legislation requiring us to reduce our expenses, LBPSB started the rationalization process. We started reducing headcounts and related expenses as our population decreased before Law 100 came into effect, and we continue to do so. We started our Energy Projects before MELS required reductions in energy costs. We did so because we take our role of managing public funds and providing the best education possible to our students very seriously. Always have.