Catholic board budget on track

The Northwest Catholic District School Board appears to be on budget so far this year, according to a variance report for the period from September to Dec. 31, 2003.
“I feel we’re on track for a balanced budget,” said Chris Howarth, the board’s superintendent of business, who prepared the report.
The board has an operating budget of more than $13 million this year. It has spent 35 percent of that in the first four months of the school year, with 65 percent of the budget remaining.
“At this time, we should expect to have 60-70 percent remaining,” Howarth noted.
A recent upgrade of the board’s videoconferencing system, which cost $70,000, meant a substantial one-time increase in computer spending.
That line of the report showed only 46 percent of the budget for computers remained.
The videoconferencing system is necessary for the board to hold its monthly meetings at both the board office here next to St. Francis School and the one in Dryden.
Most other sections of the report—including the remaining budget for classroom teacher salaries, supply teachers, and teacher consultants—were above the 70 percent mark.
Also at Tuesday night’s meeting, trustees discussed the self-evaluation forms that had been distributed with the meeting agenda.
“It’s an awareness tool for each trustee to examine how they’re performing as a trustee. It’s a personal evaluation,” said board chair Gerry Rousseau.
Three different self-appraisal forms were distributed to board members to encourage discussion on how well the board is performing.
Vice-chair Robert vanOort said he thought it was a worthwhile procedure, and could help the board identify its shortcomings.
“Through discussion, we’ll determine whether it’s a weakness that we need to take some action on,” he said via videoconference from Dryden.
Rousseau recommended trustees review the evaluation forms at their leisure and identify points to discuss at the committee of the whole meeting in March.
The board also reviewed the system initiative report, which outlines how the board is staying focused on its strategic plan.
Among the recent developments, the board—in partnership with the Northwestern Health Unit—is submitting an application for consideration to become one of eight chosen pilot communities to receive funding for a local master trainer for the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association (OPHEA).
A master trainer would be able to provide professional development services and training sessions to teachers, allowing the board to provide many physical activity opportunities for both staff and students.
The board’s next meeting is slated Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m.
(Fort Frances Times)