Elections mean democratic governance

Elections mean democratic governance


September, 2014
Dear School Community Council members,
As many of you have noted, the Toronto District School Board has been moving away from public accountability by doing more and more of its business in “in-camera” sessions. These private sessions should be restricted to strictly confidential human resource matters.

The public is entitled to know how their duly elected representatives are functioning on their behalf.
Further to that, the TDSB has been working for the past five years on a model that uses a “consent agenda” which removes most items from public view and debate. The Board should be moving to adopt a more efficient “agenda clustering” system that would reintroduce consideration of all key items to the public realm.

The municipal election is coming next month. In the run up to October 27, question your trustee and candidates running for school trustee in your area about this. Strictly adhering to the trustee Code of Conduct and to Board policy should be expected of all trustees.

In a 54-page report by the auditors, Ernst and Young, submitted in December of 2013, it was shown that approximately 30% of trustee expense claims were found to be potentially ineligible and that some trustees failed to declare conflict of interests where required.

In its past term, the school board has also allowed many contracts to be awarded without public tendering. Ernst and Young also reported a “culture of fear” permeating the TDSB. It was noted that staff were afraid to call attention to problems for fear of retribution from higher up supervisors. The Board has yet to investigate. Of course, as the legal employers of TDSB staff, the Board needs to respond to this allegation.

The Campaign for Public Education is calling for the restoration of public accountability to the Toronto District School Board. Join us in our renewed effort to give students and communities across our city what they Need to Succeed.

Stephen Seaborn
on behalf of the assembly of CPE groups & organizations meeting the 4th Monday monthly to upgrade public education across Toronto.