Toronto Catholic board needs to direct surplus to special ed, union says

  • February 19, 2010
{mosimage}TORONTO - With a projected $3-million surplus for next year’s budget, the Toronto Catholic District School Board should sink the money into special education, says its teachers’ union. 

Anthony Bellissimo, head of the Toronto Elementary Catholic Teachers’ union, said the board needs to reverse the reassignment of 67 special education teachers it made last year.

“I believe that the needs of our most vulnerable students aren’t being met,” he said.

The board is hosting public budget consultations until April, but Bellissimo said it also needs to conduct town hall meetings on special education.

In a December progress report entitled “The Road Ahead: Strategic Renewal 2009-2010,” the board outlined changes made in response to a 2008 provincial supervision team report on strengthening public trust and confidence in the board. This is the first report under supervisor Richard Alway.

The board is reporting a $1.39-million deficit in 2009-2010, but is projecting a surplus of $3.05 million in 2010-2011 and $4.304 million for the following year.

According to the report, the board is continuing to “realign, refocus and reinvest in service” to its students. A board-established Strategic Renewal Committee meets monthly to review the planned work and progress achieved, the report said. Within this “strategic renewal,” the board cites key priorities such as student achievement in Catholic learning communities, ensuring a “collaborative process and engaging participation” of Catholic partners and achieving excellence in business services.

On the new budget consultation process, Terry Pastore, president of the Toronto Association of Parents in Catholic Education, had hoped there would have been categories suggested for parents to choose from instead of just asking the  question of where the surplus should go. There are already a wide spectrum of priorities from which parents can choose and champion, she said.

For a copy of the report, see .

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