There will be no movement at the head of the table for the local public school board.
North Hastings trustee Lucille Kyle was acclaimed as board chair for a second straight one year term at Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board’s annual general meeting at the Education Centre in Belleville Monday night.
Kyle, an event planner and designer from Bancroft, oversaw the board during one of its most turbulent times in memory as the school board invoked three separate Accommodation Review Committees that led to a number of elementary and secondary schools closed throughout the Quinte region including a number of consolidations initiatives in Prince Edward County.
Prince Edward North trustee Jennifer Cobb nominated Kyle, who said in accepting her acclimation as top trustee that 2017 was a hard and difficult year for the board.
Going forward, the board is about to embark on year two of its Ministry of Education-approved financial recovery plan and declining enrolment plagues this rural public school board as it affects scores of other boards across the province.
“It wasn’t an easy year for this school board but if last year showed anything, it was the trustees were able to come together and make a decision that was the right one,” Kyle said.
The chair agreed that declining enrolment, while stabilizing in the elementary panel, will still be an issue for the school board and that the board’s financial recovery plan that was reported by senior staff last month to be ahead of schedule are two major items the board will be tasked with closely monitoring in the coming year.
But she also stressed supporting student achievement was at the forefront of the board’s global activities.
“I think ensuring all students are getting the adequate support and help they need to be successful in all that they do is very important and we will be monitoring that closely,” she added. “The board’s strategic plan will provide the framework for this.”
Monday’s acclimation was a vote of confidence for Kyle who admitted to learning on the job last year.
“People who know me know I’m a relationship person and when issues arose, I was willing to be the person to make that phone call or grab a cup of coffee and engage a discussion. I think that type of leadership is valued at this table,” Kyle told the Gazette.
In terms of vice-chair, Belleville-area trustee Dave Patterson was acclaimed for a second straight year to serve at the right of Kyle.
Kyle said that she felt throughout the year she and Patterson offered the board a good balance of personalities and skills and Patterson agreed with that assessment.
Patterson said he was humbled by the faith his fellow board members had in the retired educator’s ability.
“It’s been a pleasure to serve and, at times, almost a punishment but this year has been a wonderful learning experience,” Patterson said. “We’ve been faced with challenging scenarios that have tested our experience and our processes.”
In addition to electing a board chair and vice-chair, trustees also selected membership on standing committees.
Membership on the board’s standing committees included:
Program and Human Resources Committee- Mike Brant, Justin Bray, Cobb, Bonnie Danes, Mary Hall, Kyle, Patterson and Jim Williams. Student trustees Morgan Beatty and Meera Moorthy are also members. Williams will serve as chair and Hall will be vice-chair.
Operations and Finance Committee-Tom Biniaris, Brant, Bray, Danes, Mary , Dwayne Inch, Kyle Patterson. Student trustees Morgan Beatty and Meera Moorthy are also members. Danes will chair the meetings while Bray will serve as vice-chair.