Public school board to hire ‘headhunter’

The Rainy River District School Board approved the resignation of Education Director Warren Hoshizaki at a special meeting held here Tuesday night, and also outlined a plan to hire Progress Consulting to help in the search for a replacement.
While Hoshizaki’s resignation is effective Aug. 31, 2005, he said he would remain with the local board until a replacement can be found.
“I’ll sit in on the first board meeting [in September] if necessary,” he told trustees Tuesday night.
Hoshizaki announced his resignation last Wednesday, saying he had been hired as the education director for the Niagara District School Board.
That board’s current director is retiring, he explained, and will be able to look after things beyond Sept. 1 if Hoshizaki is not yet able to leave this board.
Meanwhile, the board also is looking to replace Superintendent of Education Terry Ellwood, who announced his departure earlier this month.
Ellwood will become the education director for the Superior Greenstone District Board of Education as of Sept. 1.
Also at Tuesday night’s special meeting, the public board approved the sale of the Alexander MacKenzie School property to 501801 Ontario Ltd., o.p.a. Crozier Warehouse, for $100,000.
There are no conditions attached to the sale, which closes on July 29.
As well, the board approved its preliminary budget for 2005-06 in the amount of $36,807,351.
“It’s new for us this year that we’re doing a preliminary budget,” noted Superintendent of Business Laura Mills.
The Ministry of Education is expected to release some final documents on June 24, at which time work on the final budget can begin. Mills said it would be ready for board approval in the fall.
Tuesday night she highlighted some of the new funding the board will be receiving for 2005-06, including $190,000 from the Primary Class Size Reduction Grant.
This is more than double what the board received from this grant last year. “The ministry is moving towards the hard cap of 20 students,” Mills noted.
The preliminary budget also includes funding to support the new collective agreements the board reached with both its elementary and secondary teachers earlier this month.
Transportation received a 3.56 percent increase to help cover the higher cost of fuel, as well as an additional $13,000 for safety programs.
The local public board still is operating with an estimated deficit of $380,000 in transportation.
Mills said the ministry also has incorporated a geographic factor into school renewal funding. “Our dollar doesn’t go as far as it does in southwestern Ontario when it comes to renewal of our schools,” she noted.
The ministry is recognizing this with a factor of 1.39—amounting to an extra $230,000. “We’re very pleased to see that,” Mills remarked.
Mills did note the board is projecting a decrease in enrolment again for the 2005-06 school year, which is expected to be around four percent, or 125 students.
The board has seen a decrease of 478 students over the last six years. “There is no specific reason other than a lower birth rate,” Mills said.
The preliminary budget also includes continued support for various programs, including Reading Recovery, Later Literacy, full-day senior kindergarten starting this fall, mentoring, and staff development.

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