TORONTO - It is the Board that “can’t shoot straight”, the “one that keeps stepping in it”, the one that “just can’t seem to get it right”. What ever popular idiomatic expression one uses to express poor leadership and general meandering, it would seem to apply to the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB).
As reported in these pages, Tuesday, June 11, at a special meeting of the TCDSB, Trustees approved a financial plan that would impose a $10 per day levy for the privilege of parking at any TCDSB facility. The decision left many wondering: “what were they thinking?” Teachers’ and support workers’ Unions were taken by surprise (polite term for feeling betrayed). They thought this issue had been put aside four years ago, when the proposal for a $5 levy, per user, per day was raised and defeated.
It is easy to say tough luck, stop whining, everyone else pays. The Board says it needs the money; blames the Ford Government’s cuts and demands for efficiencies. With 16,255 staff (latest figures provided on TCDSB website for 2017-2018) at 195 statutory school days the $10 levy could net a potential $31,697,250. Of course, not all staff will be driving to work. Those who do will not be happy.
The manoeuvre will cost them each a minimum of $1,950 each, per year. The teachers’ unions, both elementary and secondary units, have already set in motion the process for a legal challenge, if the TCDSB does not rescind the measure.
Patricia Minnan-Wong, President of the Toronto Elementary Catholic Teachers (TECT) suggested in an interview that, at the very least, the surprise levy would appear to be a breach of the collective agreement and the collective bargaining process.
She was being measured in her words. The sum represents [an almost immediate] salary cut of 2% for teachers at the highest pay scale; 4% to 5% for occasional teachers, those at the lower half of the salary grid and for support staff.
Senior staff, meanwhile, is engaged in exercises to secure an Executive compensation package that will reward them with an increase. Financial measures approved at Tuesday’s meeting will see the Director’s discretionary fund (“pocket change”) increased to $100,000 annually. His salary, last year, was a reported $270,000.00.
The Director, Rory Mc Guckin, together with the Chair, Maria Rizzo and Vice-Chair, Mike Del Grande approve the Agenda (contents to be discussed for approval). At time of writing, the TCDSB was still engaged in a full Board meeting to approve or set aside the decisions taken at that meeting.