McBride to bow out as board chair

The Rainy River District School Board will elect a new chair and vice-chair tonight during its inaugural meeting following the Nov. 10 election.
“We’re going to have a new chairman,” said current chair Gord McBride, who was re-elected to one of the two Fort Frances seats last month. “It’s time to give somebody else the job, which is an important and responsible one.”^McBride has been chairman for the last three years, and has held the position for 14 of his 27 years on the board.
“I will still be a trustee, and I will continue to look after the northern boards for the trustee association,” he added.
The process for electing a new chair and vice-chair requires at least one trustee to be nominated by the others, then all seven vote by secret ballot.
Dan Belluz, the current vicechair who was re-elected to the other Fort Frances seat, said the chair’s position is one he may be interested in.
“I’m not exactly positive right now, but I think I would have aspirations for the chair, yes,” he remarked.
Belluz, who said he’s been vicechair for “many years,” has never been chair of the school board. “I haven’t had the time up until now,” he noted.
The election of chair and vicechair will follow the swearing-in ceremony of the new board, which also includes incumbents Martin Darrah (Alberton-La Vallee), Ron McAlister (Rainy River), and Judy Eluik (Atikokan).
The lone newcomer is Margaret Heyens, who won the Chapple- Emo seat by acclamation after Frank Sheppard chose not to seek re-election.
It was not known by press time today whether Jim Leonard has been re-appointed as the First Nations rep on the public school board.
Also on the agenda for tonight’s meeting are the 2002-03 EQAO test results for district Grade 3 and 6 students in reading, writing, and mathematics, and for Grade 9 students in math.
The Education Quality and Accountability Office tests elementary and secondary students to assess their performance in particular subjects.
The results are meant to help educators and parents determine how well students are doing—and in what areas they need to improve.
EQAO releases the average results for students across the province, results for school boards, and for individual schools.
The local public board will report that 64 percent of local Grade 9 academic-level students who took the test met or exceeded the provincial level of achievement for math.
This represents a five percent drop from last year, where 69 percent of academic-level students who took the Grade 9 math test met or exceeded the provincial level of achievement.
But it’s still above the 2000-01 results, where only 58 percent met or exceeded provincial standards.
Province-wide results show that 67 percent of students met or exceeded the provincial level of achievement for math.
The above numbers are so-called Method 2 results, and do not include students who were exempt from the tests or students from whom the EQAO did not receive completed assessment booklets.
Also at tonight’s meeting, the board will:
•recognize students at Fort High who are training to become the first student Medical First Response Team in Ontario;
•submit guidelines for criminal background checks for board employees for stakeholder consultation;
•vote on a new harassment policy; and
•vote on the 2002-03 financial statement, including a withdrawal of $465,000 from classroom reserves for expenditures on classroom materials.