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Old 05-21-2020, 12:10 PM   #21
Torture
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$47/psf for a lease located outside downtown.....that is atrocious.

https://www.google.com/search?q=CBE+...hrome&ie=UTF-8

210,000 SQFT X $47/psf annual (unclear if utilities and taxes are additional) = $9.87MM per year in lease expenses. A rate of $10/psf alone would yield annual savings of $8MM.

Here's an article from 2018 that suggests they were mislabeling costs associated with the lease as well. Lease costs, locked in, will escalate to $62/psf at the end of the lease. This was from an audit done by David Eggen (NDP).

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calga...osts-1.4607595

How the holy hell do you allow a 2.5% per year, indefinite escalation clause, to be included in your lease, when you are a quasi government organization with no real credit risk? If I could fire the people responsible for that decision, I would do so five times over. If I could give a high five to the folks negotiating the lease on the other side of the table, I would (they probably popped champagne, to be honest).

The building decision alone is inexcusable, and we haven't even scratched the surface on any of the other potential mismanagement. If they have no idea how to negotiate a simple lease, what else are they letting slip through?

I think we can put to bed the partisan non-sense here. Just because they were elected doesn't mean they know what they are doing, or that they should be given carte blanche to mindlessly dole out tax payer dollars due to inefficient or non-existent governance practices. I would have openly applauded the NDP for doing the same thing, and I'm glad that finally someone is taking the CBE trustees to task.

A lot of folks here are complaining about the quality of service being provided during the pandemic. If things were more efficiently managed at the board level, the immediate beneficiary is front line services, and by extension, the kids.
The lease was entered into over a decade ago. Was it a huge mistake? Absolutely. Does that reflect on the current board? Nope.
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:11 PM   #22
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When I have compared the CBE and CCSD in the past the CCSD has always had smaller class sizes. This past year when Kenny did his moronic budget cuts the CBE had to use its maintenance Budget to pay teachers whereas the CCSD and I believe the Edmonton boards did not.

So at the surface it appears that the CBE is worse than the other Calgary major board. The interesting thing is that this doesn’t target the CCSD. If it were just an attack on public education to encourage Private eduction all 4 major Edmonton and Calgary boards should be being targeted.
Exactly.

If it was a purely partisan attack, there wouldn't be a six month window to comply.

The education minister, herself a former trustee, is giving them a legitimate chance to improve.

If they don't, or prove incapable, they get held accountable. The ball is in their court now.
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:12 PM   #23
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Elected board to be potentially fired after audit found no clear evidence of the alleged reckless financial mismanagement. Certainly some systemic long term problems but I don't see the reckless mismanagement LaGrange alleged.

Replaced by appointed trustees by one of the most partisan Governments we've seen. Make no mistake, this is an attack on democracy and public education.
That seems like an over reaction even given the performance of the UCP

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The order also suggests ways to reduce expenses, including evaluating alternative ways to recoup the cost of the Education Centre lease, considering the end of half-days to reduce busing costs, and reigning in non-union salaries by developing a long-range strategy to bring them more in line with the private sector.

The ministerial order also demands the CBE provide a written update to Alberta Education on progress by July 31, with monthly updates in August, September and October, and all requirements to be completed by Nov. 30.

The ministerial order does not say whether LaGrange will fire or disband the board if the requirements are not met, although when the audit was originally launched last fall, LaGrange confirmed she would not rule that out.
What in particular do you disagree with.
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:27 PM   #24
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That seems like an over reaction even given the performance of the UCP



What in particular do you disagree with.
The adversarial approach. Accusing them of "reckless financial mismanagement" (which was the reason for the audit and was not really shown ) Threatening to fire elected officials and replace them with appointed ones.

You could just say something along the lines of "I look forward to working with the board to implement the recommendations of this audit. There has been a long history of mismanagement at the CBE and we look forward to correcting that and implementing better fiscal governance and improving education outcomes for our children"

And then if you don't make progress, fine, threaten to fire them.

Last edited by Torture; 05-21-2020 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:29 PM   #25
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I'll give an example of the sort of difficulties that we have with the CBE, as I think maybe concrete examples are useful: as a member of a parent council, we have certain fundraisers we conduct through the year. We're fortunate to be able to run a casino charity, which definitely accounts for the vast majority of our fundraising, but we don't like to be 100% dependent on that. So we run other events that serve as fundraisers. However, due to recent CBE changes, we now need to pay to use the school for our own events, even if these events are attempting to raise money for school activities. Which essentially means that we start any fundraising event a thousand dollars in the hole. This has required us to kill some fundraising events as they'd simply run a loss, and at least for the time-being, become solely reliant on our casino. If something were to happen that caused our casino to get cancelled (such as, *cough* a pandemic), that would effectively wipe out 18 months worth of programmed events for our kids (everything from swimming lessons to in-school residencies to field trips), as well other things we fund, such as new technology purchases, with no avenue to make up that funding.

The CBE is a difficult-enough bureaucracy that it's really difficult to elevate issues like this to get them resolved. It of course seems ridiculous to us that the CBE wants us to share in funding things like technology for the school, but actively works against us conducting fundraisers. Our teachers are great. Our principal is great. Our support staff is great. But dealing with anything at the CBE level feels just impossible.
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:50 PM   #26
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The lease was entered into over a decade ago. Was it a huge mistake? Absolutely. Does that reflect on the current board? Nope.
Their refusal to pro-actively take measures to reduce that expense absolutely reflects on them. And again, that's just one simple example. What else is there behind the scenes of the bureaucracy that suffers from the same issues?

Clearly this was a big enough issue that two previous governments were also concerned enough to look into it.

Could it perhaps be that in fact, the CBE is not as well run as other boards, has systemic problems with fiscal management that stretch back over a decade, and is in dire need of governance improvements?

As a taxpayer, I am all for holding government institutions accountable for how they utilize funds, especially ones that have shown their past stewardship deserves closer scrutiny.
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:54 PM   #27
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Their refusal to pro-actively take measures to reduce that expense absolutely reflects on them. And again, that's just one simple example. What else is there behind the scenes of the bureaucracy that suffers from the same issues?

Clearly this was a big enough issue that two previous governments were also concerned enough to look into it.

Could it perhaps be that in fact, the CBE is not as well run as other boards, has systemic problems with fiscal management that stretch back over a decade, and is in dire need of governance improvements?

As a taxpayer, I am all for holding government institutions accountable for how they utilize funds, especially ones that have shown their past stewardship deserves closer scrutiny.
I think that the provincial government likes to have the school boards in place for this exact reason. The province does whatever to mess around with the funding and then basically says "yeah, that sucks...talk to the school board."
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:09 PM   #28
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Having sat on a few boards myself (youth custody and extended health care rather than education) I can say a few things that I am sure apply to every board including the CBE, first they are all feeder boards, they are the minor leagues for local council and MLA's selection, when you sit on a board you find that there are a few members who are there for the long term that have an interest in the actual board but there are always one or two members, usually lawyers, accountants or local business owners that drop in for a couple of years to pad their resume, show the local party apparatchiks they can be trusted not to do anything to wacky when in the public eye is on them.

My two boards being minor were but the first step in that process, once they had done a year or two with us they would run for school board or parks board out here, a term or two with them and they run for council or mayor, that leads to MLA and Provincial posts if they don't screw up. None of them had the slightest interest in what the boards did and all of the decisions were actually made by the permanent staff, the Executive Director and his or her underlings, the only real and important decision the boards make is in choosing the staff that then decide everything for them, after that they pretty much rubber stamp what ever is put in front of them.
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:18 PM   #29
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The lease was entered into over a decade ago. Was it a huge mistake? Absolutely. Does that reflect on the current board? Nope.
While asking and answering your own questions is cute and all I think having this lease on the books as a precedent is worth asking questions about.

Nobody in their right mind would agree to this, the fact that they're a Government board with no consequences should absolutely be an issue.
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:31 PM   #30
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CBE response (emailed out just a few minutes ago). Spoilered for length.

Spoiler!
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:41 PM   #31
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Can someone who is of the "they are pushing the private school agenda" please explain why they continually hammer the CBE but not the CSSC or the Edmonton school boards?

If you have 4 boards and 1 is a total economic cluster#### and the other three seem to be doing just fine, how is that the government being unrealistic?
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:41 PM   #32
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A friend of ours works for the CBE as a manager, and she constantly talks about how messed up it is to work they, how mismanaged the entire CBE is, and how they need a massive shakeup from the top-down.

So this doesn't really surprise me...
I've dealt with the CBE as an outside provider dozens of times. The people on the ground, low level workers and managers, are pretty good and seem to give a crap. Things were regularly done ass backwards though and when I asked my contact why don't we do things a different way they just roll their eyes and say it's not their call.
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:45 PM   #33
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Can someone who is of the "they are pushing the private school agenda" please explain why they continually hammer the CBE but not the CSSC or the Edmonton school boards?

If you have 4 boards and 1 is a total economic cluster#### and the other three seem to be doing just fine, how is that the government being unrealistic?
Because it doesn't fit their preferred narrative of current Alberta political discussion.
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:50 PM   #34
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Can someone who is of the "they are pushing the private school agenda" please explain why they continually hammer the CBE but not the CSSC or the Edmonton school boards?

If you have 4 boards and 1 is a total economic cluster#### and the other three seem to be doing just fine, how is that the government being unrealistic?
Dammit man! You hate Unions and Teachers and probably Immigrants! How dare you!! How DARE you!!!

On an entirely unrelated and entirely more civil and less accusatory note, the CBE being packed to the rafters with idiots most people wouldnt trust to cook hot-dogs might be the worst kept secret in the Province.
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:12 PM   #35
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Replaced by appointed trustees by one of the most partisan Governments we've seen. Make no mistake, this is an attack on democracy and public education.
Several years ago, the education minister fired the 125 elected board members for Northland SD and replaced the board with a single trustee. The fallout was pretty significant.
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:20 PM   #36
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Can someone who is of the "they are pushing the private school agenda" please explain why they continually hammer the CBE but not the CSSC or the Edmonton school boards?

If you have 4 boards and 1 is a total economic cluster#### and the other three seem to be doing just fine, how is that the government being unrealistic?
My father who has taught in the CSSC for 32 years absolutely agrees that the provincial government is defunding both the CBE and CSSC in order to promote more private and charter schools. His colleagues in our hockey pool agree. This story is about the CBE but all the budget cuts apply to both boards and both are bleeding staff and increasing class sizes for next year.

The law in Alberta is very clear about how much money public school boards can spend on administration. I think it's around 4%, but that needs a fact check. All our public boards are within the limit on admin spending. There is no grand spending problem at the CBE.

I am shocked that people are cheering on the dismantling of our public education system. The government isn't proposing a new system here. They are only threatening to dismantle the existing one.
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:21 PM   #37
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Can someone who is of the "they are pushing the private school agenda" please explain why they continually hammer the CBE but not the CSSC or the Edmonton school boards?

If you have 4 boards and 1 is a total economic cluster#### and the other three seem to be doing just fine, how is that the government being unrealistic?
To be clear, I don't think that calling for an audit of the CBE is a sign of any sort of agenda on its own. But if democratically elected officials are removed and replaced with political appointees without clearcut proof of wrongdoing by these trustees, that's a huge problem. Many of LaGrange's other actions have undermined public school boards, such as lifting the cap on charter schools in the province, a proposal to increase the ratio of funding devoted to private school boards, or requiring the boards to stop listing themselves as public. As a former catholic school board trustee herself, she's made no secret of her belief of the superiority of that system.
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:24 PM   #38
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Dammit man! You hate Unions and Teachers and probably Immigrants! How dare you!! How DARE you!!!

On an entirely unrelated and entirely more civil and less accusatory note, the CBE being packed to the rafters with idiots most people wouldnt trust to cook hot-dogs might be the worst kept secret in the Province.
Correction;
He also hates; nurses, doctors, and all essential workers.
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:25 PM   #39
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Several years ago, the education minister fired the 125 elected board members for Northland SD and replaced the board with a single trustee. The fallout was pretty significant.
What sort of fall-out? No more cushy, jobs to milk from the government teet?
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:34 PM   #40
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Can someone who is of the "they are pushing the private school agenda" please explain why they continually hammer the CBE but not the CSSC or the Edmonton school boards?

If you have 4 boards and 1 is a total economic cluster#### and the other three seem to be doing just fine, how is that the government being unrealistic?
I don't know the situation of the Edmonton boards, but I think that the CSSC had some financial reserves and as a result were able to keep things rolling. The CBE doesn't have those reserves, and here we are.

To me, it's not about a political narrative though. These problems were there with the NDP in power as well. They'd make promises like "no school fees" or whatever, and then the board would complain they had no money.

I think that what happened here is that the province decided to retroactively cut the budget after saying they wouldn't. They basically said there was no need to lay off teachers and the CBE issued layoff notices. Pretty clearly, the province was not pleased with that, because it was a complete PR disaster, so the minister investigated them for financial impropriety (which I think the NDP had done as well).

Maybe the reality is there is not enough money? Most of us in this thread have been in public schools lately, and it's not like these kids are in the lap of luxury. The buildings are not well maintained, a lot of the equipment is dated (with the exception being what the parents fund raise for), and it's not as though there's an abundance of people saying there is gobs of money that's just not being spent properly.
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