Our school board and this city have seen too much restructuring in the past 10 years. Recently the province demanded that the Toronto District School Board restructure and consider de-amalgamation of TDSB into smaller boards.
In response, on Thursday, May 15th the Board's Planning & Priorities Committee will receive recommendations from its "Governance" committee. It is expected that the May 21 regular meeting to the Board will make a decision in order to meet the provincial deadline.
Another round of restructuring would obviously not solve the central problem of this school board. Namely: the chronic under-funding of education by the province. This coming year TDSB faces a deficit of over $40 million.
In recent yeas the Board has made too many cuts to its central administration budgets in order to fit the provincial funding model and this has damaged the whole system. Long lost are:
* the staff who used to work with students, parents and communities including media services technicians, many secretaries and clerical staff
* those who work with professional staff
* senior staffers with organizational history and experience,…..the list goes on!
It is no wonder why our school board is facing such serious problems communicating and engaging parents and communities the board was set up to support. The costs associated with restructuring once again in both staff morale and financial terms would be tremendous, as would the impact on labour negotiations.
Many observers see the push to restructure driven by a wish to diminish the Board's political power and would further reduce the ability of elected trustees to advocate on behalf of students and the community. Trustees would have to spend time, energy and money working against the other Toronto boards for access to reduced resources.
A divide and conquer solution to the Province's fear of dealing with TDSB funding issues is clearly no solution at all.
A change in governance would most certainly divert attention from the Board's agenda of improving student success.
The Minister, in acknowledging that Toronto's unique nature may require a unique system of governance, might want to accept that Toronto urgently requires a unique solution to continuous funding shortfalls.
Meanwhile, the message from the Campaign for Public Education (and many school trustees as well) is that the last thing we need is more restructuring!