Eight incumbents seek to regain trustee spots in Toronto

  • September 15, 2010
TrusteesTORONTO - The race for Catholic school trustee in Toronto is shaping up to be a battle between trustee veterans and new challengers, with eight incumbents from the current board, which has been under provincial supervision for the past two years, registering to run in the Oct. 25 election.

Fifty-nine candidates registered to run as the Sept. 10 deadline to register for the election passed. Among the eight incumbents in the race are former chairs Catherine LeBlanc-Miller and Angela Kennedy.

Kennedy is seeking to regain her seat after she was removed from the Toronto Catholic District School Board over conflict-of-interest allegations by a provincial judge. Kennedy was found to have voted on budget matters that would have affected the employment of two of her offspring who worked for the board.

But the judge’s decision did not bar Kennedy from running for re-election.

Ward 10 trustee Barbara Poplawski has also registered to run for re-election as she awaits her own day in court facing conflict-of-interest charges.

The board has been under provincial supervision for the past two years after failing to balance its budget and being caught up in a trustee expense scandal. Two of its former chairs (Kennedy and Oliver Carroll) were removed as trustees after being found guilty of conflict-of-interest charges.

The Toronto Association of Parents in Catholic Education says it’s looking forward to the election and having the board come out from under provincial supervision. So far, the province has not confirmed when the board will have its powers returned but Catholic parents hope this will come after the election.

TAPCE chair Dan Barrett told The Catholic Register that if the incumbents want to run again after all they have been through in the past two years, it’s a “personal decision,” with the outcome to be decided by the voters.

“I think we need the best people there and if they happen to be incumbents, they bring experience with them,” Barrett said. “Frankly, I think the democratic system should be allowed to run its course.”

But another parent group is adamant that new faces are what’s needed for a fresh start.

“We want to move forward. We want to be discussing our children and Catholic education. We don’t want to be talking about trustees and that’s all we’ve been talking about in the past three to four years now,” said Murielle Boudreau, chair of the Greater Toronto Catholic Parent Network.

Among the election candidates are former TAPCE chair Theresa Pastore, who is running in Carroll’s ward, businessman Andre Bastian, who attended a trustee training seminar at St. Augustine’s Seminary and will run against Poplawski, and parent Kevin Morrison, who is running against Kennedy.

For a full list of candidates in the 12 wards, see www.toronto.ca/elections.

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.