Catholic board hires new director

The Northwest Catholic District School Board chose its new director of education during an in-camera session at Tuesday night’s special meeting here.
“The board has completed the process and the chosen candidate’s name will be released in the near future,” said Education Director Carol-Lynne Oldale, who is leaving her position here to take over as head of the Thunder Bay Catholic School Board in 2001-02.
“The name or any other information can’t be released until after his school board meeting Thursday,” she noted.
The new director will take over the job Aug. 25.
Oldale is spending her last day in the office today, and then spend the rest of her summer vacation moving back to Thunder Bay, where she served as superintendent of education with the Thunder Bay Catholic School Board before being appointed here Jan. 1, 1999.
 She also has worked for the Superior North Catholic District School Board.
Meanwhile, returning to the local Catholic board last night was First Nations trustee Ralph Bruyere, who is committed to sit until November, 2003.
“Seems like I never left,” chuckled Bruyere, who has served several terms as the First Nation trustee.
After being sworn in, Bruyere was received with a round of “Welcome back, Ralph,” from Oldale, board chair Gerry Rousseau, director’s assistant Janice Cousineau, and trustees Cheryl Lovisa, Anne-Marie Fitzgerald, and Mark Chojko-Bolec.
In other news, trustees Tuesday night approved the finalized 2001-02 budget. A preliminary report on the budget received at the board’s June 16 meeting projected a balanced budget of $11,599,141.
Budget highlights show the board is placing a greater emphasis on technology, with it spending about $678,000 on computers and mobile classroom computer labs.
A transfer of $175,684 from reserves for classroom expenditures is anticipated to cover the cost of mobile computer labs. Two labs previously budgeted for also are included.
This transfer will leave a balance of $913,445 in the classroom reserve.
Funds also have been allocated so trustees can purchase laptop computers, if they so choose.
Surplus funds–totalling $488,134–will be transferred to reserves for pupil accommodations ($388,134) and working funds ($100,000) in case of any future shortfalls.
And Oldale discussed at length the comprehensive plan for the provision of special education programs and services, which the board approved for submission to the Ministry of Education.
“I really have to commend [special education co-ordinator] Teresa [Dennis], the [Special Education Advisory Committee], and the staff and principals for doing this,” noted Oldale, as she pointed out highlights from the document’s hundreds of pages.
The report, which is available for viewing by parents at either the board office here or the one in Dryden, or by contacting any school principal, noted such areas as:
•the numbers of staff assigned at each school dedicated to special needs;
•staff development–what has been done in the past year to instruct staff on special needs;
•early identification procedures and strategies;
•the consultation processes used by the board;
•the roles of teachers, principals, parents, and students in the field of special education; and
•the board’s vision and value statements as it applies to all students within the Catholic school system.
In accordance with Regulation 306, each school board is required to maintain a special education plan, to review it annually, to amend it from time to time to meet the current needs of its exceptional students, and to submit any amendments to the ministry for review.
The development for the plan has been an ongoing process, with Dennis having consulted with teachers, principals, parents, and others to ensure the plan complies with ministry requirements.
Dennis was not at Tuesday night’s meeting as she is training to get her certification as a principal.