Southern Ontario Catholic school boards pick new leaders

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  • December 10, 2009
{mosimage}TORONTO - In what appears to be a show of support for their embattled chair, a majority of Toronto Catholic District School Board trustees re-elected Angela Kennedy to the position at a Dec. 9 meeting.

Kennedy, who was first chosen as chair in January, is one of two Toronto Catholic trustees facing conflict of interest charges. She will be in Ontario Superior Court of Justice to answer to the charge Feb. 1. She is alleged to have voted on budgetary decisions despite having a son, who would potentially be affected by the decision, employed at the board.

Kennedy is encouraging her fellow trustees “to work together with integrity, responsibility and accountability to re-establish ourselves as leaders in Catholic education.”

“Student achievement and student success continue to be a top priority for our board, and I am proud to say that our Catholic schools are serving our students well,” she said in a statement.

The secret vote was 7-4 in favour of Kennedy over former chair Catherine LeBlanc-Miller.

Trustee Ann Andrachuk was also re-elected vice chair for 2010. Trustee Paul Crawford was elected honorary treasurer.

At least one Catholic parents' group says the vote isn't a move forward for the board, which has been under provincial supervision for going on two years after failing to balance its budget, compounded by reports of trustee misspending.

“I think it's a vote that (shows) they really don't know what they're doing. That doesn't show leadership,” Murielle Boudreau, chair of the Greater Toronto Catholic Parent Network, said. “If you want to go forward, you pick somebody neutral.”

The group said it is continuing its call for Kennedy and trustee Barbara Poplawski, who is also facing conflict of interest charges, to step down.

Boudreau said the vote is “emphasizing their division,” adding there appears to be two camps within the group of trustees.

Kennedy has served as a trustee since 2000. She is a diabetes educator and registered nurse with more than 35 years of experience at Toronto East General Hospital.

Meanwhile, Catholic school boards across the Greater Toronto Area have chosen the leaders who will take them into the new year.

At the York Catholic District School Board , 15-year trustee Elizabeth Crowe was re-elected board chair on Dec. 2. Crowe, who was acclaimed as chair, has held the position for the past decade. In her acceptance speech, Crowe thanked her fellow trustees. Vaughan trustee Michael Carnovale was acclaimed vice chair.

Nine-year Burlington trustee Bob Van de Vrande was appointed chair of the Halton Catholic District School Board , with Halton Hills trustee Rosanna Palmieri appointed vice chair.

At the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board , Anna Abbruscato was acclaimed chair on Dec. 2. The 18-year trustee succeeds Mario Pascucci who was nominated for a second term but withdrew his name from the ballot. Sharon Hobin was elected vice-chair.

Jim McCafferty was re-elected chair of the Durham Catholic District School Board on Dec. 7 and Janice Oldman was elected vice chair.

Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board trustees elected Jim Canning as chair and Clayton Ferguson as vice chair on Dec. 2.

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