Stop blaming the TDSB
Dear Premier Wynne, Minister Sandals, Deputy Minister Zegarac: In your government’s February 4, 2015 response to Fix Our Schools, you tell us to discuss our concerns over safe, well maintained schools with our Trustees, since they are the ones “who are elected by and accountable to the community that they serve”. In fact, you tell us four times in a 1-page letter that the TDSB Trustees are the ones who are responsible and accountable.
Last we checked your government is also elected and therefore accountable to its constituents. To that end, your government must start taking the responsibility that comes with having sole power over the funding of public education. Trustees are not magicians. The funding being provided by your government to the TDSB is insufficient. Please stop blaming the TDSB and start working together with them and the City of Toronto to ensure our children attend school in safe, well-maintained buildings. You are the only level of government with the power to change the dysfunctional dynamic that is so eloquently described by Hugh Mackenzie in the quote below:
“The (Provincial) government is fully responsible for the level of funding provided but local school boards bear the consequences and are accountable for the results. Despite the government’s complete control over funding, there is no provincial accountability mechanism for the performance of and funding for the system as a whole.” Hugh Mackenzie, “Harris-era Hangovers: Toronto School Trustees’ Inherited Funding Shortfall” – Feb. 2015
On behalf of the 247,000 students being educated by Canada’s largest school board, please start. engaging in real ongoing dialogue with the TDSB and the City of Toronto to improve the funding and governance of the TDSB and ensure the success, well-being and safety of all its students. In the short-term, please:
1. Release emergency funding immediately to repair all leaking roofs and complete every “urgent” repair currently outstanding at TDSB schools.
2. Redefine school space as public space so that “utilization rates” can allow schools to be used as!community hubs and valuable public green spaces.
3. Change the Provincial regulation guiding Education Development Charges.
TDSB parents expect real change in our school board. The TDSB Trustees have stepped up; the City of Toronto has stepped up.
Kathleen.Wynne.– will you and your government please also step up and start working together to Fix Our Schools?
Krista Wylie– on behalf of Fix Our Schools February 11, 2015