June 18th School Board Meeting

Finding new ways to connect with the community about literacy will be a key action for the coming year for the Abbotsford Literacy Matters Association, the Board heard in a report from the local Literacy Association’s Chair, Perry Smith and Coordinator Sharon Crowley.

The Association, which meets to build and deliver the District & Community Literacy Plan, is comprised of representatives from the school district and broader community.

Its mandate is to help improve literacy in all sectors of the community. Ministry of Education guidelines require school districts to annually update their District Literacy Plans. This recognizes that planning is an ongoing process, linked with taking action and evaluating. The Abbotsford Literacy Matters’ three goals are: improving Aboriginal Literacy, improving Adult Literacy, and the Reading Buddies project.

For the coming year, the association will work to continue development of the library and literacy programming at the Community Aboriginal Centre; continue to focus on family literacy, continue to support the Reading Buddies program; and find new ways to connect with the community regarding literacy. The full Literacy Matters report for 2013 is available via www.sd34.bc.ca/district/reports

Alternative Energy Services Proposal

The school district continues to investigate a Fortis BC/Fortis Alternative Energy Services (FAES) proposal for a pilot project consisting of six schools using a hybrid geo-exchange system. The capital investment from FAES is proposed at approximately $4 million.

Secretary Treasurer Ray Velestuk informed the Board that if they agree to pursue this project there are three sets of agreements that FAES and the school district would enter into in order for FAES to own the thermal energy systems, to provide the thermal energy service at just and reasonable rates, and for district staff to provide the operation and maintenance of the systems.

A number of important issues remain including: final technical design; risks related to the uncertainty of a BC Utilities Commission review of “regulating” these projects; and contract negotiations. Staff will continue to work on these details before bringing it back for Board approval.

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