Catholic education
at the crossroads this week

di Joe Volpe del November 15, 2021

TORONTO - What does $1.8 million in legal fees from outside legal firms contribute to your child’s education at the TCDSB? Books? iPad? Proper ventilation? More/better teachers? Functioning computer programmes? Meals for the children of marginalized communities?

The TCDSB has two in-house lawyers for whom it allocated more than $200,000 in pay and benefits and much more in support services. It is embroiled in at least two Statements of Claim (SoC) brought on by the “leadership” thanks to the actions of Trustees and Staff. One corrosive SoC has explosive potential once the Courts decide on a Judicial Review of TCDSB rules and procedures that led to the vilification and virtual destruction of one of their trustees by their trustee colleagues. The Corriere Canadese is a party in the other.

In the Halton Catholic District School Board, a trustee Guzzo is scheduled to appear in Hamilton Court on twelve counts of fraud. Chair Murphy apparently cannot see a reason for her to recuse herself from HCDSB meetings until the issues are resolved. A powerful union – LiUNA – caused those charged to be laid by the police. Chair Murphy is also busy spending Board money on outside legal counsel to investigate why his board is “dysfunctional”. He does not have access to a mirror.

Nonetheless, this week, both boards, like others in the province, will “caucus” to select or reaffirm the “executive” of the Board of Trustees: Chair, Vice-Chair of the Board and those of the Committees of the Board. It is about personal prestige and an increase in honoraria. Normally, no one takes issue with that.

However, many of the Boards in the GGTA have become a laughingstock of Education, thanks in no small measure to the Minister’s single-minded pet projects. Take for example his poorly thought out “de-streaming” of classes in high school. Parents obviously hold his half-baked ideas in contempt.

This last weekend, hundreds of parents in their Maserati, BMW, Mercedes, Lamborghini and Ferrari made their way to a Downsview high school so that their boys might write an entrance exam designed to select qualified students for special Math and Science programmes so desired by parents from the well to do neighbourhood which Minister represents.

Lest I overly-digress, the school is part of the TCDSB, which this year experienced historic decline in student registrations (the Lamborghini brigade were from York and Peel). Maybe, it is due to Covid. Trustees have been transfixed by issues that have little to do with math, science, reading and writing.

The current Chair of the TCDSB confirmed via email to the Corriere that he is not interested in the renewal of his mandate. But politics hates a vacuum. It also does not evaluate motivation.

One candidate from the East end lusts for a new title to enhance their profile while awaiting “the call from the Premier” to be his candidate in the next provincial election. Another from Etobicoke has similar aspirations. An “anyone but” movement has galvanized to keep them and supporters from even getting close.

Those supporters, on the face of their actions so far are interested in everything except their duty to the Catholic board: one signed up as a candidate for the NDP in the last federal election and will do so again; another is a Liberal candidate for next provincial election; the fourth does not live in the jurisdiction.

None of them have indicated that they will swear allegiance to the magisterium whose approval is required for the Catholic schools to maintain their status within the Constitutional framework of Canada.

Good luck to those who still believe.

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