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BACK TO SCHOOL: Superintendent has a lot on his plate
Classes are in session across School District 43 after a two-month break and The Tri-City News asked key individuals how they think schools will manage under increased financial constraints and what they hope to accomplish in the coming months.
If School District 43 were a baseball team, superintendent Tom Grant would be a busy centrefielder, shagging grounders and fly balls from all directions.
But Grant seems to shrug off the pressure as he reels off a laundry list of new initiatives and projects that will be on his plate in the coming weeks.
First, union negotiations, with CUPE support workers bargaining beginning this week and teachers' talks taking place in October. Back-to-school paperwork, number crunching and finances will continue to be on his plate until a secretary treasurer is hired in the coming weeks.
As well, Grant said kindergarten to Grade 9 curriculum changes are coming from the Ministry of Education, report cards may be revamped, graduation changes are coming and the district is unveiling its new Learning Without Boundaries plan in the coming months.
"And the only thing I don't think we're going to hear about is new money," he joked.
Soon, audit reports on the state of the district's finances will be out — the audit itself costing about $140,000 — and Grant says the important details will be shared with the public.
As well, he acknowledged that with job cuts and organizational changes, there will be some fallout, but he said he believes everyone will work together for the good of the students. "It's going to be a bit of a stretch but were going to have to make do," he said.
Through it all, Grant promises to be open and transparent with parents and other groups because people are demanding and have high expectations of what's going on in schools.
"We will have to make sure we continue in this district to service the learning needs of a really complex system," he said. "Parents are asking for much more involvement and engagement around the decision-making around the needs for kids."