Some construction at Flin Flon School Division (FFSD) facilities is scheduled to continue on into the winter months.
In her bimonthly superintendent’s report, Tammy Ballantyne gave an update on the major construction projects currently happening in the division.
Work on roofs at École McIsaac and at Hapnot is still ongoing, with varying levels of completion. McIsaac’s roof is estimated to be around 80 per cent completed, while Hapnot’s construction is estimated at around 20 per cent. Construction on both projects will carry through into the winter.
“They will continue on into the winter,” said Tammy Ballantyne, FFSD superintendent, adding that the work will stop once conditions get too inhospitable.
“They’re going to be stopping once it gets too cold or too snowy. They want to get as much as possible done before then.”
Accessible bathroom construction at McIsaac and Ruth Betts is also continuing, with a local contractor being brought in during evenings and weekends to finish the project. The two bathrooms have an estimated completion date of Nov. 15.
“They’ve completed the flooring and tiling already,” said Ballantyne.
Installation of new air conditioning units at Hapnot is now complete, while installation of a new air handling unit is ongoing. Other projects, including renovation of the shop at McIsaac, repairs to the Terrace Avenue side of Ruth Betts, new fencing and a set of solar lights at Queens’ Park are in varying stages of completion, while new windows and blinds were installed at Hapnot Oct. 24-25.
New student numbers for FFSD show a small increase in overall students over last year.
While total enrolment has been on a downward trend since Parkdale School closed in 2004, the trend appears to have stabilized. This year, the school division reported a total of 989 students, a small increase from last year’s 980 and the highest overall number of kids since 2015.
Enrolment at Many Faces Education Centre saw the biggest jump, increasing by 14 people to 102 enrolled students this year. Student numbers saw modest changes otherwise – the student body at Ruth Betts Community School increased by one student, going from 243 to 244, while École McIsaac fell by one student from 399 to 398. Enrolment at Hapnot Collegiate saw the biggest drop, going from 250 students in 2018 to 245 this year.
Enrolment for the division dropped below 1,000 students for the first time in 2013, going from 1,034 to 997 total pupils.
A recent program aiming to get kids more involved in politics stuck a chord with some trustees.
All four FFSD facilities took part in Student Vote, a nationwide initiative to encourage young people to vote. The group held simulated votes in schools across Canada, including in Flin Flon.
Trustee Ebony Trubiak’s son was one of the students who cast a vote. She said she was pleased with how much information he had learned through the education campaign.
“We were just talking about that earlier. The conversations that have been going on in my son’s classroom have been really interesting for me to hear. He’s talking about so many things to do with the parties and what he’s learning. He took a quiz on who he should vote for, based on his beliefs. We had a good talk about that. I think it was absolutely awesome.”
Trustees said they were excited to see students learning and interested in the voting process.
“I was working the polls and I had a lot of parents tell me they were happy that their kids had the opportunity to do this. I was surprised at how many parents I’d heard from,” said board chair Murray Skeavington.
“I ran into two 18-year-olds at the polling station,” said trustee Amy Sapergia Green.
“One of them was with her 15-year-old brother who said, ‘She made me come.”
Students in all Flin Flon facilities voted overwhelmingly in favour of the same candidate who won the real election on Oct. 21 – NDP candidate Niki Ashton, who won her fourth term in office representing the riding.
Knowledge of politics and the electoral process has been a recent priority for FFSD trustees. Some members of the board became involved in the run-up to this year’s past provincial election, often in relation to the province’s pending K-12 education review.
“That’s certainly something we talked about a lot in the spring, with the education review and what is our role, what does that look like. We spent a lot of time thinking about that.”
“It would be great if we could have more people here and more of the community as part of this.”
When asked, none of the trustees had heard anything recently about the review.
“We’re watching for it,” said trustee Leslie Fernandes.