BOT Newsletter August 2015

Introduction

The Board held its fifth meeting of the year on August 3rd.

Long-term property strategy

The Board is continuing to develop a long-term property strategy and this was progressed further at our recent meeting. Janice and some of her team have measured and sketched up an initial proposed layout of nine classrooms, within the existing footprint of the original school block (currently rooms 1-6) and the rooms around the atrium area (currently rooms 16-18). The objective is to reconfigure the classrooms to incorporate shared spaces, so that all of the individual classes within each year group would have shared areas for collaborative work.

This initial exercise shows that these classes – plus the shared spaces – could all be accommodated within the existing building footprint. The next step is to seek a cost-effective way to get this work developed into a concept plan, and then to get an initial cost estimate made. When completed, this property strategy will comprise a schedule of property projects with budget estimates. We can then line that up against our long-term financial forecasts and calculate just when we will be able to implement the property improvements.

Room 16-21 project

Further to the last newsletter, this project is advancing with the appointment of an independent Project Manager. The required engineering and design works can now commence. The funds are available for this project and we want to proceed at full steam ahead; we are however going to be at the mercy of the usual delays inherent in building projects such as consenting time.

The funding for this project is coming from two main sources. The remediation of the subsidence and substantial building works to convert the classrooms into Modern Learning Environment configuration is being funded by the Ministry of Education under our 5 year property agreement. The new outdoor spaces in front of those classrooms are being funded by money raised by the PTS.

Thinking

Many of you will be aware of the large emphasis on “thinking skills” that we have within the school; the process of inquiry and “learning by thinking” is a major tenet of the way our teachers deliver the curriculum each and every day. The area of thinking is always evolving, and Janice recently attended a conference on the subject.

Janice has returned from the conference enthused by much of what she heard. Of interest is that the New Zealand education system is relatively advanced in thinking, compared to other countries. Janice’s observations and learnings will be built into the planning that each teaching syndicate undertakes, and into the on-going professional development that all our staff go through.

School finances

With the half-way point in the year reached, we can report that the school’s financial performance is tracking well against the budget over the year to date, and is on track to be another solid result by the end of the year. The major sources of funds for our school are Ministry funding, the school donation paid by all families, and the many fund-raising projects carried out by the PTS. The major uses of funding are all aspects of operating expenditure, and the reinvestment of capital into items ranging from ICT equipment at the low end, to new building projects at the high end.

As a Board, we consciously continue to spend additional operating expenditure on valuable resources such as our specialist teachers (PE, Gifted and Talented Extension, Music and ICT). Many schools do not have these same specialists, and the combined school donations approximately cover these costs each year.

The Board’s financial objective each year is to deliver a strong operating surplus, so that we can continue to accumulate funds to undertake the major building improvements we are planning.

Board contact details

You can find the email contact details for Board of Trustee members at the following link;

//victoriaave.com/bot