Toronto board trustees to meet Aug. 24

By 
  • August 18, 2009

{mosimage}TORONTO - Toronto Catholic District School Board trustees will be meeting Aug. 24 for their first public meeting since having their powers stripped from them by a provincial supervisor.

Trustees John del Grande and Rob Davis set up the meeting to be held at the Catholic Education Centre on Sheppard Avenue East at 7 p.m.

“It’s to give parents and students an opportunity to have an influence on decisions made by the board and make sure their voices are heard,” Davis told The Catholic Register.

Since January, trustees’ advisory roles have been suspended by provincially appointed supervisor Norbert Hartmann after a public display of trustee infighting. This meant that trustees don’t get to speak at public meetings and must sit in the public gallery at monthly
supervision delegation meetings.

The Aug. 24 meeting won’t reinstate trustees’ powers, but it is the first time trustees can actively participate in a public board meeting since being placed under supervision.

“After a year under supervision and minimal response to the joint trustee submission (Moving Forward Together — May 2009), it is clear, now is the time for trustees to undertake this next step to move forward together,” Del Grande said in a statement.

All trustees had been invited, but the final tally of how many were attending hadn’t been finalized before The Register’s press time, Davis said. The idea for the meeting came after months of listening to some groups, including parents and groups from the archdiocese
of Toronto, as well as meetings between trustees, he added.

Although the supervision team is welcome to attend, it isn’t necessary, Davis said, because it’s a venue for parents to have a voice.

According to Davis, there were two board decisions where parents didn’t feel they had a fair hearing from the supervision team: the cancellation of the Arrowsmith program for students with learning disabilities and the board’s budget which had a deficit of about $3
million.

Meanwhile, another recent trustee-led project has been a web site for trustees which was set up by Del Grande to provide information to parents about board news (www.tcs-trustees.org). It’s an initiative of “friends and partners who support the board returning to local
democracy,” according to the web site.

The board came under supervision last year after news broke about trustee spending irregularities and it failed to balance its budget.

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