Board requests further financial information regarding centralization of services
For immediate release
October 5, 2016–During the regular board meeting held yesterday, the Peace River School Division (PRSD) board of trustees was presented with a recommendation in favour of centralizing PRSD’s Central Office and Peace River Support Services building to the site of Grimshaw Jr Sr High School. The recommendation was prepared by the Centralized Services Community Advisory Group (CSCAG) comprised of members from town and chamber organizations and PRSD’s union and non-union staff.
The recommendation is in favour of keeping the bus garage in Manning and Support Services building in Fairview and to centralize PRSD’s Central Office and Support Services building in Peace River to the Grimshaw Jr. Sr. High School location.
The board accepted the report as information and directed administration to gather further financial information to be presented at the February 7, 2017 regular board meeting.
“The economic climate has certainly changed since the original cost analysis in 2014 was developed and the board unanimously agrees that more information is required before any decision can be made” says Board Chair Darren Kuester.
The information requested by the board includes the following:
1. Review of the cost analysis documents presented by administration to the PRSD Centralized Services Community Advisory Group in July 2016
2. Up to date cost analysis for a possible renovation of Grimshaw Jr./Sr. High School into a Support Operations Building including information regarding design and costs, and use of an outside contractor versus capacity for using internal labour
3. Market value appraisals of the current divisional Central Office and Support Services buildings in Peace River
4. Prepare a Capital Budget for the board’s consideration for a possible renovation of Grimshaw Jr./Sr. High School into a Support Operations Building including an analysis of capital funds and reserves
5. Transition plans for a possible centralization including timing of sale of buildings and moving staff out of the current buildings into a new facility
6. Analysis of financial risk should the renovation move forward including relying on the sale of existing buildings to replenish capital funds
In 2014 PRSD hired an outside consultant to prepare a cost analysis for a possible centralization of all of PRSD’s support service offices, buildings and shops, consulted one-on-one with affected staff and held community consultations in Peace River, Manning, Grimshaw and Fairview to gather internal and external input.
“Following the consultations in 2014 it was clear that our process needed to be more comprehensive and flexible” says Kuester. “Therefore we formed the PRSD Centralized Services Community Advisory Committee in order to be as collaborative and open minded as possible in all aspects of a possible centralization of services while gathering the voice of internal and external stakeholders who would be potentially impacted by centralization.”
The CSCAG committee was led by Brenda Walton, a public engagement specialist and included one PRSD staff member representing Administration, Learning Services, Finance, Payroll, Technology Services, Human Resources, Communication Services, and another staff member representing Support Services (CUPE), Transportation, Maintenance/Facilities and Occupational Health and Safety. Community representation included an elected official representing the Town of Peace River, the Town of Fairview, the Town of Grimshaw and the Town of Manning as well as representatives from the Peace River, Fairview and Grimshaw Chamber of Commerce.
“On behalf of the board of trustees, I extend gratitude to Brenda Walton and all the committee members for their guidance, time and valuable input throughout this process” says Kuester. “This is a sensitive situation and we assure that the board is committed to take the time and extensive research required before making any decisions.”
PRSD’s administration will present the information requested by the board of trustees at the February 7, 2017 regular board meeting. This presentation and ensuing discussion will occur in the public portion of the board meeting and members of the public are welcome to attend.