School Council Update #1

September 18, 2020

Welcome Back!

It's definitely been the most unusual start to the school year and your patience and support are greatly appreciated. This newsletter is dedicated to school council issues and hopefully will answer any questions you have. With all of the adjustments to operations this year, there will be some changes for school council operations, including:
  • the meeting format for school council meetings;
  • the date and format for school council elections;
  • the creation of school councils for OCV schools; and 
  • the participation of families on school council in home schools where students are attending the remote school.

These issues will be the subject of discussion at the Parent Involvement Committee on Monday, September 21st. We've tried to capture the highlights in this message. If you have thoughts or questions, please send them to us at school.
School Council Information

School Council Meetings

Access to school buildings is restricted. This includes restrictions on parents and visitors to schools during the day and to community use of buildings during the evening. In support of this, and recognizing that the evening hours are the planned time for custodial staff to do thorough cleaning of schools, all School Council meetings will take place virtually. Google Meet will be available to school councils. School principals are experienced using the Google Meet and will help to ensure that the meetings are accessible to all members of the school community. School council virtual meetings should be recorded and posted to the public. Guidelines for virtual meetings, with specific support for using Google Meet, will be provided to principals and school councils.
Elections of 2020-2021 School Council Members

School council elections are to be held within 30 days of the first day of school. Given the different start dates for students this year, the "first day of the school year" will be considered September 14th for all OCDSB schools. The timelines for school council elections will be counted from that date, giving school councils more time.
 
Given that School Council meetings will be held virtually, the District will provide guidelines to support voting practices in virtual meetings. As always, a written summary of the vote and decision would be produced and included as part of the minutes of the meeting. A revision will be made to Procedure PR.509.SCO to allow for this and eliminate the need for each council to amend its constitution. 
Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) Meeting

The first Parent Involvement Committee of the school year will be taking place on Monday, September 21st, 2020. Topics for discussion will include some of the unique issues relating to school councils for the 2020-2021 school year, including meeting format, elections, and engagement between families attending Ottawa-Carleton Virtual - OCV schools and their home school in order to inform the drafting of necessary revisions to PR.509.SCO School Council Elections, Constitution and By-Laws. You can read the agenda and find the meeting link here.
School Councils and Virtual Schools

OCV virtual schools, like all other OCDSB schools, will have school councils. With seven OCV schools, it is anticipated that each of the seven virtual schools will have a school council.  OCDSB Procedure PR.509.SCO will provide a framework for school council operations until the councils are established and can develop a constitution.
School Council Records and End of School Year Tasks

School councils are required to maintain records. Records that contain financial information, such as those that pertain to School Generated Funds, are kept for the current year, plus 6 years. School Council meeting minutes are required to be maintained for the current school year, plus 5 years. When destroying records, please be sure to shred anything which contains personal or sensitive information.  If you have records for destruction, you can bring them to the school boxed and clearly marked school council records for shredding.

Corporate Records welcomes questions with regard to document maintenance
and can be reached through email at Corporate.Records@ocdsb.ca.
School Council Insurance

The OCDSB provides school council liability insurance. This coverage provides protection for the school council executive members and all volunteers acting on behalf of the school council that may face lawsuits arising out of their activities for the school council. The coverage is for various types of liabilities arising out of injuries to third parties or damage to leased or borrowed premises.

Insurance Coverage Highlights:
  • Annual policy, effective November 1st of each year;
  • $2 million liability coverage;
  • Coverage includes: negligent acts causing bodily injury and property damage, personal injury and advertising liability, tenants legal liability, non-owned automobile liability, errors and omissions, directors and officers wrongful acts;
  • Coverage exclusions include pyrotechnics and fireworks, sports teams and all organized sport activities, skiing, fitness training, gymnastics, and stage/prop construction.
School Council Year-End Financial Reporting

Did you submit your end of year report? All school councils are required to prepare and submit an annual report on their activities (including fundraising activities). To make the exercise easier the Finance Department has produced a template that school councils can fill in. A memo with this information was sent to school principals in the spring.

Please note that individual school councils will not be identified in the District's financial statements as the amounts are consolidated with those from all other school councils for financial reporting purposes. The amounts reported will not affect the budget allocated to the school as the school's budget is based on school enrollment.

The outline below assumed that your school council's financial reporting year ended on 31 July. If your school council has a June or August year-end please provide the information based on your year-end and amend the dates shown in the table.

Please ensure your opening balance for this year matches your closing balance from the previous year's report. Your opening balance plus your funds raised less your funds spent should equal your closing balance.

Your email should include:
  • School Name
  • School Council Chair
  • Opening balance of all reconciled bank accounts, investments and cash on hand on August 1, 2020
  • The amount raised by school council during the year August 1, 2019 and July 31, 2020                           
  • The amount spent by school council during the year August 1, 2019 and July 31, 2020                                                  
  • Closing balance of all reconciled bank accounts, investments and cash on hand on July 31, 2020                           
  • Portion of above amount raised which was collected through the school’s School Cash Online program

If you have not already done so, please send the information by email to yearendfinancials@ocdsb.ca. In cases where your school council's banking arrangements are administered by the school, the school council is not required to provide this.
Board and Committee of the Whole Meetings
The next public Board meeting will be held on September 22nd, 2020, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Watch the meeting live here.

Upcoming Committee Meetings: 

For a summary of our board meetings, read our Boardroom Newsbriefs here.
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