Saturday, July 14, 2012
BSD Graduation Rate
Now that the school year has drawn to a close, the Board of Trustees of Brandon School Division would like to share some good news with the eBrandon community.
For years the dedicated employees of Brandon School Division have been working diligently to ensure that every student has the opportunity to reach his or her potential and graduate from high school.
At the July 9 regular meeting of the Board of Trustees, we received the updated information regarding the 2011-2012 graduation rate. Our June 2012 graduation rate is 96.4%
To our graduates and their families we offer our heartiest congratulations. Your diligence and commitment have enabled you to use your diploma as a springboard to a productive future.
This is an exceptional achievement and all staff had a role to play in its attainment. The appreciation for this belongs to far more than the Grade 12 teachers alone. Also playing critical roles in student success are teachers from all levels, the secretary who bandaged a skinned knee, the custodian who helped a student find a missing binder, the EA who worked alongside the students in class, the bus driver who offered a cheerful greeting and the Division Office staff who strived to provide the learning and working environment which promotes success.
It should be noted that the Brandon School Division uses a different methodology than provincial education authorities to calculate the graduation rate.
In Brandon, at the end of September each high school identifies all students who are eligible to graduate in June of that school year. Students are deemed eligible if they require 8 or fewer credits to graduate.
In September 2011 there were 637 students eligible to graduate according to this criteria. In June 2012, 614 of these students received their diplomas.
The respective high schools track the individual students and are aware of the hurdles that each unsuccessful student encountered. With this information the schools can work with the students next year to overcome their obstacles.
The province does not track individual students in their calculation. Instead, they count the number of students entering Grade 9 in a certain year and then compare that to the number of students who graduate four years later. This methodology does not yield useful results for Brandon School Division. In September 2008, there were 583 new student registrations in Grade 9. With 614 students graduating this June, the provincial methodology would indicate that Brandon had a graduation rate of 105.3%.
The provincial graduation rate in June 2011 was 83.5%
The differing methods do point to another success. With 31 more students graduating than the number registered in Grade 9, this indicates that students are returning to school after being out for some time and also refers to the growing number of graduates who are recent immigrants to Canada. Both of these scenarios are success stories.
At this time we also want to acknowledge the hard work of the parents of our graduates. Without support and encouragement at home many students may have fallen short of their goal to graduate this year.
The Board of Trustees of Brandon School Division is very proud of all of our graduates. We wish them every success in their future endeavors.
Board of Trustees
Brandon School Division
Posted by BSDChairMarkSefton @ 10:24 | 0 Comments | | PermaLink
Thursday, February 02, 2012
BSD Tax Projection - Worst Case Scenario
February 2, 2012
BSD Tax Projection
First, an acknowledgement.
For several years, members of the Brandon School Division Board of Trustees have been meeting with Minister of Education Nancy Allan and her staff to discuss our concerns in a variety of areas, all impacting on the educational funding that Brandon School Division receives.
We have talked about the rapid growth in the number of English as an Additional Language students who were coming to Brandon and the formidable challenge that was presenting to our budget.
We have discussed the critical importance of early literacy and numeracy interventions. Recent legislation requiring students to stay in school until age 18 or graduation was also part of our communications, as was the spiraling cost of information technology and keeping our students current with that technology.
On Monday, Minister Allan released the funding announcement for schools for the 2012-2013 school year. We are very pleased and grateful that, in her funding announcement, the Minister made mention of all of these items.
It is very encouraging to know that we have been heard.
There is still plenty of analysis for our staff to complete regarding our funding, but we can present some detailed information today.
There has been much doom and gloom reported in the media in the past few days. We are pleased to offer an alternative view.
Based upon preliminary estimates prepared by our staff, we are projecting a mill rate reduction of at least 3.2% for 2012/2013.
Under our worst-case projection, a home assessed at $200,000 in 2011, subject to the average Brandon re-assessment increase of 9.8%, (new assessed value $219,800) would see a tax increase of less than $100 annually, or $8.33 per month. This represents an increase in school taxes of 6.3% at the very most.
Let me stress that that this projection is based upon an average assessment increase. Individual experience will vary according to the impact of reassessment on each property.
I want to also stress that this projection is based upon the extremely unlikely scenario that every “budget programming needs request” submitted for consideration by the board of trustees is approved.
In other words, there is a very strong probability that the mill rate reduction will be even greater, and that the tax increase will be even smaller.
We are still at the beginning of our budget process. There is much work remaining to be done by our staff and the Board of Trustees.
One week from today, on February 8 at 7:00pm at Ecole Harrison School, we will be holding our public budget consultation. We encourage everyone to come out and share their perspectives with the Board and the public.
Tuesday, February 21 is our all-day budget deliberation, where we set our tentative budget. On March 5 we hear public presentations regarding that tentative budget.
Final approval of the budget is on March 12. We encourage the public to attend all of these sessions.
Since January 17, all of our budget materials have been available on our website at www.brandonsd.mb.ca
I want to finish by assuring all Brandonites once again that every member of the Board of Trustees is sensitive to concerns in the community regarding taxation. We will continue to work hard to ensure that this year’s tax increase is as low as reasonably possible while still meeting the needs of our students.
Today’s announcement is a good start toward that goal. It only gets better from here.
Posted by BSDChairMarkSefton @ 10:15 | 0 Comments | | PermaLink
Saturday, January 21, 2012
BSD Budget Process
As we begin our annual budget process, the Brandon School Division Board of Trustees would like to share some information with you.
There are many things happening in the Brandon School Division that provide a sense of pride and accomplishment for the Board and the entire community. We are very proud of the achievement and diligent work of our students who come to us from a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures and life experiences. We have a strong and dynamic staff that is focused on student achievement and helping students reach their potential.
We have a graduation rate of over 90%, and our students finished at or above the provincial norms in last year’s provincial standards tests. In recognition of their work helping students graduate after those students had withdrawn from traditional school settings, Neelin High School’s Off-Campus School drew national attention and a recent visit from the Premier and Minister of Education
We continue to work hard to be as efficient as possible within the funding model that currently exists. The Brandon School Division’s operating expenditure per pupil, at $9,550, is the fourth lowest among Manitoba’s thirty-six school divisions. This is over $1,600 - or 14% - lower than the average per pupil expenditure in the province.
Despite our efficiencies, the financial support that we receive from the provincial government for school programs ($4,787 per pupil) is the second lowest out of all school divisions, and $1,115 per pupil - or 18.9% - lower than the provincial average.
The Brandon School Division commits 80.3% of its budget to student instruction and support – far above the provincial average of 74.1%. Only 2.9% of the BSD budget goes toward administrative costs, as compared to the provincial average of 3.5%
These numbers confirm that our staff are delivering the best educational value in the province.
That said, we face many challenges in the near and immediate future.
Our student population has grown by 992 since 2007. That is largely attributable to an increase in the number of English as an Additional Language (EAL) students who have come to Brandon with their families. In 2007 there were 223 EAL students in the Division. Today there are 1,182 EAL students and that number will increase again next year.
The cost to educate a student who arrives at the school door without the ability to speak English is more than $1,500 higher per student than the average noted above. Funding received from the provincial government only covers a fraction of that additional cost.
There are several provincially legislated mandates that Brandon School Division is also required to address. Under provincial law, students must now stay in school until the age of 18 or graduation. While the Board wholeheartedly agrees that having teens in school rather than on the street or in gangs is a laudable initiative, the funding provided by the provincial government falls far short of the BSD’s costs of complying with this initiative.
The province has also served notice that Kindergarten to Grade 3 class sizes should be capped at 20 students. The Board agrees that this will enhance student learning, but we have received no commitment of increased funding from the province for this legislation.
We are very early in our budget process – a process that is transparent, inclusive and comprehensive.
The preliminary budget and all the supporting documentation is currently available on our website. The “Budget Programming Needs Requests” represents a list of needs to be addressed under a best-case funding scenario. In all probability, there will be significant reductions from this preliminary list as the process moves forward.
There will be a public budget forum at Ecole Harrison School on Wednesday, February 8 at 7:00pm, where we will be discussing the proposed budget and all of the identified program needs. We invite each of you to attend and participate. Your concerns will be respectfully listened to and your questions will be answered.
Our all-day budget deliberations will occur on Tuesday, February 21 at the BSD office. On Monday, March 5, we will hear public presentations regarding the proposed budget, and March 12 is the date for final approval of our budget. We encourage you to attend each of those meetings.
The Board accepts, without reservation, its obligation to provide a high quality education to all students, appropriate for each individual student’s needs, age and stage of development. We cannot, and will not, abdicate our responsibility.
The Board is also sensitive, however, to the concerns in the community regarding taxation. We live here too. We will do our very best to balance the interests of taxpayers with our moral, ethical and legal responsibilities to our students. We will be transparent and honest with you throughout this process.
Posted by BSDChairMarkSefton @ 10:47 | 2 Comments | | PermaLink