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St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School is the name the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board has chosen for its newest Kingston elementary school, in a majority vote Tuesday night.

“St. Francis of Assisi is an excellent choice for the name of this new Catholic school. St. Francis represents strong faith, charity and care of the environment,” Greg Speagle, chair of the ALCDSB, said. “This speaks to stewardship and discipleship, which are integral pillars of the board strategic plan and board improvement plan.”

“The Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board is pleased with the name of the new Kingston Catholic elementary school. We look forward to the next steps towards building this school community and working with students and staff to enhance collaborative learning and student leadership,” Jody DiRocco, director of education, said.

The new St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School consolidates the school populations from Holy Family Catholic School, St. Peter Catholic School and St. Patrick Catholic School.

The elementary school will accommodate the 363 students and will include 15 learning studios, three learning commons, one media commons, a gymnasium and other administrative spaces.

“She’s made a significant contribution around the board table and asked some insightful and tough questions over the course of the year,” DiRocco said.

“Danae, the trustees of the board wish to express appreciation to you, not only as the significant student voice of the system but as a trustee colleague, for your energy, your enthusiasm and insights [that] your year as a student trustee brought to this table,” board chair Speagle said.

The trustees presented O’Neill with a plaque.

“I would like to thank you for all of the opportunities you’ve offered me this year and all of the things you’ve taught me,” O’Neill said to the trustees at the board meeting. “This was the best decision I made to run for this position.”

O’Neill will be heading to Ryerson University in Toronto this fall.

The board also welcomed and swore in new student trustee George Hinin, a Grade 11 student from Regiopolis Notre Dame Catholic High School.

“It’s amazing to consider the fact that there are 12,000 students, 36 elementary schools and five secondary schools that are all looking forward to what we can do for the 2016 17 year,” Hinin said to the board.

“Despite the impact of funding challenges presented by declining enrolment over the years, we are pleased that trustees have once again been able to pass a balanced budget that will provide the opportunity for our students to achieve personal growth and academic success in a faith based community,” Speagle said.

Trustees heard that the budget reflects the Ministry of Education’s goals and aligns with the board’s strategic plan, which includes achieving excellence, ensuring equity, promoting well being and enhancing public confidence.

“The budget itself does present challenges,” Robert Koubsky, superintendent of finance and business services, said in a report to the trustees. We’re challenged by the declining enrolment to an extent, also some of the grants for student needs that we’ve seen some reductions.”

Koubsky reviewed some modest budget realignments, including central and administrative costs.

According to Speagle, since 2002 03 the board’s student enrolment has decreased by approximately 17 per cent, which represents an enrolment decline of 2,200 students.

The board plans to continue to investigate provincial grants and other options to help deal with the continuing monetary pressures.

“The focus in the planning of the 2016 17 budget was to realign resources to provide as much stability and balance to the school system and enhance program support to students while maintaining our focus on student achievement and well being,” DiRocco said. “To achieve this, a review of select programs and services was undertaken this year with the goal of aligning expenditures to funding provided by the province without accessing accumulated surplus to balance the budget.”

Website, virtual commons

After a successful launch of the board’s redesigned website this year, trustees were informed about two more digital initiatives being prepared to launch this September.
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