Toronto trustees stand on their records, react to 'unfair' smear from parents' group

TCDSB LogoTORONTO - It's “unfair” and “irresponsible” for a Toronto Catholic parent group to ask electors to vote for anyone but the incumbents in the Oct. 25 election for Catholic school trustees, say some of Toronto's sitting trustees running for re-election.

The Greater Toronto Catholic Parent Network made the call Oct. 12 for voters to oust the trustees who sat on the board for the last four years. The board has been under provincial supervision for more than two years after their refusal to balance the board budget as provincial legislation demands and trustee spending scandals came to light.  

Censorship claims mar Toronto candidate meetings

Angela KennedyTORONTO - Two Catholic education organizations are voicing criticism of election candidate meetings for school trustees that, they claim, are tightly controlled sessions that offer little opportunity for debate or direct questioning of candidates.

Penny Boyce-Chester of the Greater Toronto Catholic Parent Network attended the Oct. 6 meeting for Ward 8 at Cardinal Leger High School in Scarborough.

“This is a very censored meeting,” she charged. “The moderator decided which two questions he was going to ask from the box and his interpretation of how he was going to word these questions. That really bothered me.

A litany of Toronto trustee indiscretions


TCDSB logoTORONTO - Two Toronto Catholic trustees have been removed from the board, another could soon follow and many others have been embroiled in a spending scandal that has engulfed the Toronto board for almost three years. Below is a timeline of the major events.

Dec. 2007: Catherine LeBlanc-Miller is acclaimed board chair and, following several media reports about trustee misspending, she asks the provincial government to examine trustee expenses.

Anyone but incumbents, Toronto voters urged

Catholics United for a Responsible BallotTORONTO - A newly formed group of retired principals and educators is urging Toronto Catholics to vote the current crop of trustees out of office. They want voters to cast ballots for anyone but the incumbents.

At an Oct. 12 press conference following noon Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral, Bob Dixon, chair of Catholics United for a Responsible Ballot, called for a clean sweep of the scandal-plagued board.

Toronto School Board scandal questions not welcome


TCDSB logoTORONTO - For the 50 people attending Ward 11’s first all-candidates Catholic school trustee meeting, it should have been an opportunity to hear ouseted former trustee Angela Kennedy explain why a judge removed her from office, why trustees were forced to repay almost $30,000 after audits revealed spending irregularities and why the Toronto board is operating under provincial supervision.  

But Kennedy, who was found guilty of conflict-of-interest two months ago and removed from her seat as trustee and board chair of the Toronto Catholic District School Board, sidestepped discussion about her removal and the events which contributed to it. Particularly frustrating for many in attendance, the format of the event made it easy for her to do so.

Brother André students to attend canonization

 Brother André HighMARKHAM, Ont. - Select students and staff at Brother André Catholic High School in Markham, Ont., will be celebrating the canonization of their school’s namesake in a special way — by being in the immediate audience close to the Pope at the ceremony in Rome on Oct. 17.

On Oct. 10, 18 students from the school will be flying to Italy for a week, along with a couple of staff members and family members, said principal Jim Nicoletti.

“Back in February, when the announcement was made, we were honoured to hear it as a school and we were thrilled,” he said. “We did a little research only to find out that we believe we’re the only high school that’s named Brother André in the province.”

Upcoming trustee election offers chance to restore credibility to Catholic education

TORONTO - The head of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) is concerned about the upcoming trustee elections in the Toronto Catholic board because he says misconduct at one board can affect the credibility and reputation of all Ontario trustees.

“From a provincial perspective, Toronto Catholic board is like the flagship of the fleet,” said OECTA president James Ryan. “It’s the largest Catholic board in Canada and having good governance in the Toronto board is prominent in the minds, not just of every Catholic teacher in Toronto, but across Ontario.”  

Toronto board looks at new school options

TCDSB LogoTORONTO - The Toronto Catholic District School Board is looking at opening its first Kindergarten to Grade 12 school.

Angela Gauthier, the board’s associate director of academic affairs, said the proposed school bringing together students in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 would feature “an innovative program to help us implement a 21st-century approach to education” and could be in place within three years.

Eight incumbents seek to regain trustee spots in Toronto

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.

Teachers need to follow in Newman's footsteps

Cardinal John Henry NewmanTORONTO  - Hailing soon-to-be saint Cardinal John Henry Newman as a model for teachers, Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins urged them to follow Newman’s example and turn challenges into successes.

Collins addressed the teachers Sept. 2 at the ninth annual education Mass and dinner organized by the Catholic Teachers’ Guild at St. Paul’s Basilica.