Catholic school board briefs

by Doug Ashbury
Northern News Services

Board inks agreement with UNW

The Yellowknife Catholic school board has signed a deal with support staff. Under a memorandum of association approved by the board Wednesday night, support staff, teacher assistants, maintenance and secretarial staff, will take a 1.8 per cent salary cut over Sept. 1, 1997, to June 30, 1999.

Support staff will be required to take two days off yearly without pay. The deal also caps the vacation travel assistance allowance.

"In these economic times, the contract is good for both sides," trustee and board negotiator Jane Haley said.

Budget adopted

Assistant superintendent of business Annalise Van Ham said Yellowknife Catholic Schools is in the black $202,134. But as percentage of operating budget that's less than two percent.

For the 1997-98 year, the board has budgeted $11.7 million, up from $11.5 million for the prior year, according to audited financial statements released Wednesday.

Boards prefer to run with an operating surplus of at least five percent, Van Ham said.

Factor in that the board runs on a decentralized surplus -- individual school surplus' stay with that school's budget -- and the percentage is even lower. Of the $202,134, $148,679 is decentralized.

The reserve fund is used in emergencies. "There is very small cushion," Van Ham said.

Weledeh planning

The next step in planning the Weledeh retrofit is a visit by superintendent Loretta Foley and other board steering committee members to six Edmonton schools.

Included in the visit will be schools built in Edmonton in the past five years. The three-day trip is part of a comprehensive plan on the Weledeh retrofit. Changes to the school will cost an estimated $6.2 million.

Input for the changes is being gathered from several groups. Among Wednesday's board package were comments from Grade 6 to 8 students on the retrofit.