School Council Update #9
May 7, 2021

School Council Information
2020-2021 Parents Reaching Out (PRO) Speaker Nights

The PRO Speaker Nights have begun and the feedback has been extremely positive. Approximately 80 school councils have secured their spots for 53 different Speaker Nights. 

We recently met with a number of school council chairs who have accessed the Speaker Nights to gather feedback and lessons learned. Here’s what we heard: 

  • Start your promotion early
  • Collect the emails of interested parents - In your promotional material, include a link to a Google Form to collect the emails of the parents interested in attending. Send the link of the meeting to this list once you receive it;
  • Appoint a moderator - Ensure you have a moderator from your council who can assist the presenter in admitting attendees, muting microphones, and fielding questions from the chat.

Good luck with your upcoming Speaker Night. If you have any questions, please reach out to Engy Abdel Masieh, Policy Analyst at engy.abdel.masieh@ocdsb.ca.
Education Week: #StrongerTogether

This week we celebrated Education Week in Ontario and the theme was #StrongerTogether. That is such an important message for school councils - the work that councils do in building a sense of community lays the foundation for us to be stronger together. Throughout the pandemic, school councils have had to completely reimagine their practice. This has been a lot more than just shifting to online meetings, it has been about learning how to build and support a sense of community in the school without hosting activities and events or volunteering in the classroom. In many ways, it's helped to shift the focus away from traditional conversations about fundraising and activities and towards strategies to support and encourage parents through the uncertainties of the pandemic, through the transitions to remote learning, and most importantly to supporting learning and mental health of children. These are important conversations and hopefully will continue to be the focus of school council discussions in the year ahead.
School Council Year-end Report

It is never too early to start drafting your year-end report. Board Policy P.014.SCO School Councils requires school councils to prepare an annual report on the school council activities, including fundraising. Your report must be submitted to the school principal and the Policy Analyst by 31 October of each school year. Below are some points that could help you draft your report.

  • Your school council’s mission and vision 
  • Members of the school council 
  • Note from the Chair
  • Fundraising activities by the school council
  • Other activities by the school council
  • Spending plans of raised funds
  • Comments for the successor school council
School Council Records and End of School Year Tasks

As the school year closes, many school councils are asking about how to manage their records. Records that contain financial information, such as those that pertain to School Generated Funds, are kept for the current year, plus 6 years. As such, financial records from the 2014/2015 school year can be destroyed. School Council meeting minutes are required to be maintained for the current school year, plus 5 years. Thus, the 2014/2015 minutes can also be destroyed. 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 Year-End Financial Reporting

Your council may want to start drafting their financial report using this Google Form: https://forms.gle/xMWphjTA5Ri5fpSt6. The financial report must be submitted by September 17, 2021. Typically, school council’s financial reporting year ends on 31 July. However, the Google Form will allow you to select your fiscal year for the report. Please ensure the opening balance for this year matches the closing balance from the previous year’s report. The opening balance plus funds collected less funds spent equals the closing balance.

The Google Form will ask for the following information:

  • School Name
  • School Council Chair
  • School Council Banking Arrangements
  • Fiscal Year Date Range
  • Reconciled opening balance of all bank accounts, investments and cash on hand separate from the school on fiscal start date, i.e. August 1, 2020. (Please use reconciled opening balance instead of actual bank balance)
  • The gross amount collected in school council accounts separate from the school during the fiscal year, i.e. August 1, 2020 to July 31, 2021. (Please enter all funds collected within the fiscal year, including outstanding deposits; i.e. deposits dated within the fiscal year)
  • The amount spent in school council accounts separate from the school during the fiscal year, i.e. August 1, 2020 to July 31, 2021. (Please enter the amount spent within the fiscal year, including all uncleared cheques; i.e. cheques dated within the fiscal year)
  • Reconciled closing balance of all bank accounts, investments and cash on hand separate from the school on fiscal year-end, i.e. July 31, 2021. (Closing balance = opening balance + funds collected - funds spent and should match the reconciled closing balance as shown on your trial balance instead of the actual bank balance)
  • Portion of the above gross amount collected which was processed through the school’s School Cash Online program where the funds were transferred from the school to the school council bank account

In cases where the school council’s banking arrangements are administered by the school, it is not necessary to provide the financial details because the school council’s financial information will be reflected within the school’s financial report. Instead please use the form to identify your banking arrangements.
Fundraising

Funds raised during the school year would normally be spent during the school year to benefit current students. Unspent funds for continuing/recurring initiatives are to be carried forward to the following year for that purpose. Residual balances relating to discontinued initiatives may be repurposed by the school council. Funds can also be raised for specified projects to be undertaken in future years. A fundraising activity must not result in any person, including school board staff or volunteers, benefiting materially or financially from the activity.
Further School Council information and resources can be found on our website.
Board and Committee of the Whole Meetings
The next public Committee of the Whole meeting will be held on May 11th, 2021, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Action and discussion items include: Report 21-038, Business and Learning Technologies Appropriate Use of Technology Policy P. 100. IT Review, Notice of Motion re Cambridge Street Community Public School, and a COVID-19 update.

Watch the meeting live here.

Upcoming Committee Meetings: 


For a summary of our board meetings, read our Boardroom Newsbriefs here.
OCDSB Events and Speaker Series
The OCDSB is hosting several virtual events for families this May. Help spread the word by sharing these events with parents in your school community!

Speech and Language Open House
May 12, 2:30-3:30 p.m. and 5:00-6:00 p.m.
Do you have questions about your child's communication skills? OCDSB Speech-Language Pathologists can help. They will be holding two virtual sessions for parents to learn more about supports available. Learn more and register.

Black Excellence: Career Advice - Opening Doors for Others
May 18, 7:00-8:00 p.m.
As part of our Black Excellence Discussion Series, we’re inviting four professionals to share their experiences and offer career advice for students. All parents, secondary students and staff are welcome. Learn more and submit your questions for the panel.
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