Recent Q&A

Question-s may have been edited or modified for reasons of clarity, brevity or tone. Answers to additional questions, including roles and the S-ociety’s bylaws, are still in process and the answers will be added in a timely manner. Copies of the original questions can be obtained from the school or school council.

Updated 09-02-2024

Once a donor’s money is donated for a clearly stated, specific and intended purpose, the Society becomes accountable to various parties, including financial auditors, to use that money in accordance with the stated purpose. Upon being received and receipted, the money will stay in that specific account until used and could not be returned to donors unless there is a circumstance of project cancellation or Society dissolution.

The choosing of an auditor is a decision by the Society, duly voted on at the AGM. Our current auditors have worked with us for several years and have proven to be very capable of navigating the complexities of two organizations working closely together. They are well respected and have given us no cause for concern so there would be no wisdom in changing them.

Non CCC members are welcome to apply for, and become, members of the Society Administration Team.
This team allows for up to 10 participants with a greater ratio of CCC members than non-CCC members.
We currently have 3 members on the board who do not attend, and are not members of, CCC.

The Executive Director is hired by the Head Pastor of CCC, with consultation of a search team, to manage and oversee the day-to-day operations of the Society. His remuneration is approved by the CCC Elder board and he is held accountable for his tasks and time by the Head Pastor, Greater Society and MCSS Administration Team.

This is a dual role with his time split between Executive Director for MCSS and Executive Pastor of Calvary Community Church. This is normally a 45% MCSS and 55% CCC split but due to major changes, transitions, policy changes and rebuilding relationships between the Society, school and parents, for the 2023-2024 school year this was temporarily approved to be moved to a 90% and 10% split.

Adjustments to dramatically reduce church responsibilities for this present year were made by the Head Pastor and approved by the MCSS Administration Team and Greater Society to align with the split. The percentages will be reviewed before the Annual Budget Meeting for the 2024-2025 budget year and approved by the Administration Team prior to being voted on by the Greater Society.

In our continuing efforts to rebuild trust and to walk together in unity, parents’ questions to the Society or Executive Director, depending on the topic, will be reviewed by one or more of the following: the Executive Director, Board Chairperson, Treasurer, MCS Principal, Society Admin Team, Greater Society and Parent Council Chairs to determine the best and most suitable way to respond. Questions deemed to be disrespectful to any individual, MCSS, MCS or CCC will not be responded to.

There is no maximum service time for serving on the Society and we are always looking for, and interested in, considering new people for the role. Many of the individuals who remain long term members of the Board do so out of a love and passion for the school. They remain on the Board as they see areas that they feel they can contribute to and help to make an impact in the school and in students’ lives.

The school janitors, who are EPSB employees, are responsible for the cleaning of the buildings used exclusively by the school. For the areas of the church also used by MCSS - the main auditorium, the lower auditorium, the upstairs performing arts’ area, the Gathering Place, the ELCC - there is a separate janitorial expense.

Roughly 80-90% of the usage of these areas is by MCS and therefore a separate janitorial company is required to clean them.

The $3500 for Christian Professional Development has been in the MCSS budget for many years and its purpose has been to assist MCS with areas of Christian Professional Development for their staff. In previous years, uses of this included sending school pastors or administrators to Christian educator conferences, providing Christian education training for the entire staff, bringing in a guest speaker, or even covering a portion of the expense for teachers and spouses to attend the Break Forth conference. In discussions this year between MCSS and the MCS principal, this fund was highlighted so that the school could use it for their benefit.

As of December 2023, our Parent Council Co-Chairs will be joining us for the portion of the Society meetings that also include the MCS and ELCC administrators. After reports from each represented group and prayer together, they are dismissed and the MCSS Administration Team conducts their business for the rest of the evening.

ELCC (Early Learning Childhood Centre - formerly Out of School Care) provides a crucial service to many of the parents and families of MCS as well as providing an additional source of income.

With these benefits comes the added responsibility of providing Human Resource time and effort for the staff as well as maintenance and care for the facilities.

While MCS is a ministry of CCC, EPSB required that MCSS be created to act as an intermediary between the church, school and themselves. The Head Pastor is a representative of CCC in the interactions between the 3 and his subsequent duties are not a normal part of a Head Pastors’ requirements especially considering the school is much larger than the church. This position has always invested a percentage of their time in such things as: weekly prayer/meetings with the principal and Executive Director, assisting with HR decisions, helping provide spiritual oversight and guidance to the Society, and periodic prayer, devotions and encouragement for MCS staff among other items.    

As the service trips are under the insurance and rules of EPSB, it would not be possible to have the church or Society take over these trips. Most of the costs of the service trips are covered by the students and families and much of this is through fundraising efforts.

The Society helps contribute to the trips by providing resources through the Christian Programming designation to help cover the costs of supply (substitute) teachers for the staff members who go on the trips.

MCS administration and the Society have discussed various options for making the High School wheelchair accessible. These possibilities have included a wheelchair lift that goes up the main staircase of the school or a completely external lift/elevator. Costs have started at around $60,000 and go up to several hundred thousand dollars. It was determined that there were other more pressing needs and priorities at this time.

The Society provides oversight and support of the Christian programming at MCS including implementing the Vision and Mission statement, and oversight of the Early Learning Childhood Centre as well as care and maintenance of the buildings and facilities.

Arrears Policy
The MCSS Arrears Policy has been developed and updated to ensure that situations where Society fees are in arrears are dealt with in a consistent manner and that all parties understand how these situations will be handled.

Policy Steps:

  • When fees are 30 days past due, a notice will be emailed/mailed to the family. This will remind families of how much they owe, what options are offered for payments, and who they need to contact to clear the debt. Additionally, families will also be reminded of the financial assistance that is offered.
  • When fees are 60 days past due, families will receive a second notice that will remind them of the above items.
  • After 90 days past due, they will receive a third notice informing them that an MCSS re-registration package will be withheld from them and that outstanding amounts will be sent to a collection agency on June 30th of the current school year.

The Society is definitely open to talking with the parent council and the school about fundraising. We would also invite the parent council, in conjunction with the administration of the school, to be part of the input as to what are the most pressing needs in terms of the facilities.

Our maintenance team is responsible for carrying out or overseeing every aspect of maintenance and repair for the school facilities which would include items such as: plumbing, electrical, renovations, heating and cooling, and everyday repairs of doors, sinks, toilets, floors, walls, desks, chairs, lighting, shoe & coat racks, painting, ordering parts & supplies, equipment, refinishing gym floor, certifying backboards, major roof repairs, cameras, doors, locks, parking lot, playground, landscaping, sports fields, fences, snow removal and more.

EPSB doesn’t provide assistance for any of these items. The maintenance team works split shifts, including weekends, where they can access classrooms and school areas that they can’t during school hours so often there are just 1 or 2 on-site at a time. The 3 of them are a 90% and 10% split between MCSS and CCC and they cover 13 separate buildings and 13 acres of playgrounds, fields, sidewalks and parking lots.

The complexities of a large alternate EPSB school with a not-for-profit society and Early Learning Childhood Centre are very demanding and time consuming. For MCSS work, the accountant is responsible for all transactions, duties and communication in regards to parents’ registrations, society fees, EFTs, credit cards.

Also bank reconciliations, payroll, employee contracts and ROEs, benefits, accounts receivable and payable, audit preparation, budget assistance, tax receipting, monthly reporting, government subsidy applications, government wage adjustments, government grant reporting, corporate insurance, GST claims, charitable returns, non-profit reporting as well as additional tasks. Accounting for the church, which is much smaller than the school and ELCC, is relatively straightforward and far less time consuming in comparison.

The question has been posed as to whether the Millwoods Christian School Society’s (MCSS or simply, “the Society”) Executive Director has been compensated for his work on the Society board in contravention of the original bylaws excluding members from receiving remuneration for their board service.

SCHOOL AND SOCIETY FORMATION

On May 31, 2000, The Board of Trustees of Edmonton School Division No. 7 (EPS) and Millwoods Christian School Society entered into an agreement to establish a program of studies called the Millwoods Christian School Alternative Program.

MANAGEMENT FEES

The Society’s bylaws were registered on April 19, 2001. From that time, Calvary Community Church (CCC) instructed their staff to perform tasks that supported the Society and Millwoods Christian School (MCS), including the role of liaison pastor (formerly titled Pastor of Church Ministries) which handled overlapping tasks among all three parties (church, society, school). These duties were completed by the CCC staff member as part of their regular church duties for the first year.

After this first year the Society began paying CCC a management fee. This fee was the remedy to reimburse CCC for the reduced work they were receiving from their full time, full-salaried employee who, while attending to MCS and Society related duties, was unable to carry out their full church duties. CCC was free to use these funds as they saw fit: to offset the full time salary they were paying for but not receiving, to hire additional CCC staff to complete any church duties the Pastor of Church Ministries wasn’t able to maintain, or for any other purpose.

Approved financial statements substantiate that in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2002 the management fee did not exist while in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2003 a management fee of $25,000 was budgeted for and $20,833 was paid.

These management fees have been fully disclosed on the Society’s audited financial statements every year end from 2003 to current and said financial statements are approved annually by the Board of the Society. The dollar amount has fluctuated from year to year depending on the amount (percentage) of work CCC employees were estimated to spend on Society and MCS related tasks.

Summary: The management fees paid to CCC were not compensation to any individual but rather reimbursement for CCC's reduced work capacity due to their staff member's involvement in Society and MCS related tasks. It's important to clarify that these fees were not allocated for any individual's benefit but rather were utilized by CCC at their discretion.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The Executive Director position is not mentioned in the original Society bylaws. The first occurrence located of this term is in the October 2, 2012 Society minutes where it is motioned, passed and carried that “Paul becomes the Executive Director for the Society.” Since Pastor Paul Eisentrager was already a member of the Society board, this motion was a change in title, not a new appointment. There were no changes to Pastor Paul’s duties as a result, and there is no mention of compensation. The reason for the title change is not specified, but around this same time there were increased interactions with EPSB and government of Alberta officials over several items and since the title of Executive Director often identifies a key person within a charitable organization’s leadership structure, it’s likely this title change was recommended in light of these ongoing discussions.

BYLAWS WORDING REVIEW

MCSS Original Bylaws Registered April 19, 2001

“No officer or member of the Society shall receive any remuneration for his services”.

This verbiage is typical of society bylaws at the time of registration however it appears this same question may have come up in other societies because the Service Alberta recommended bylaws have since been expanded to provide further clarity.

The Service Alberta Bylaws Drafting Guidebook, last updated July 5, 2018, now states:

“Generally, societies do not pay for the services of a member, director or officer. However, this does not prevent paying persons in different capacities, such as an acting general manager or a paid office staff.”

While the MCS Society has never compensated its Executive Director, it was probably wise to include this option in their recent bylaw update should it become necessary in the future.

SUMMARY

Our conclusions in respect to the question raised is that:

The MCS Society’s management fee payments to CCC are not compensation to any individual but rather reimbursement for CCC’s loss of productivity.

The MCS Society has never compensated their Executive Director for their board service.

While the MCS Society has never compensated its Executive Director, this option is explored in the recent bylaw update should it become necessary in the future.