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Staff have turned the YCDSB into their private little playground

Staff have turned the YCDSB into their private little playground

Staff have turned the YCDSB into their private little playground

TORONTO – What a bizarre and convoluted world that the York Catholic District School Board has structured for itself.

Staff – by that we mean the senior bureaucrats, upwardly mobile former teachers turned Superintendents, who long ago forgot the purpose and focus of education – have turned the YCDSB into their private little playground.

With impunity, they thumb their nose at Trustees, locally-elected Municipal Councillors, members of the Ontario Legislature (MPPs), Cabinet Ministers and parent groups. Consultations and “public input” seem but mere pro-forma exercises to veil what their “in-house expertise” has already determined to be appropriate.

Transparency is not part of their vocabulary. Accountability, an alien word.

The latest manifestation of good management, forward thinking and child-focused education? None other than the PAR process to shut down schools and move students around to get maximum use of “excess” capacity. Which choice to make? The most costly, of course!

Did they consider the 12 ASD and Special needs children who will be unnecessarily subjected to stressful adjustments (difficult under the best of times)? Did they check with the Premier, she who is concerned with Curriculum, or with the Minister of Education, who is determined to improve outcomes for the disadvantaged? Apparently not.

Did they at least check with the local MPP, who is co-incidentally also the Minister of Transportation and would presumably have access to a myriad of transportation and traffic studies or experts to consult on the hazards and safety issues that the YCDSB’s decision might raise in the neighbourhood? Evidently not.

Did they check with their legal department regarding their personal and collective liability once the first child (God forbid), or attendant “guardian” suffers injury as a result of the decision to close ST. John Bosco? Probably not.

More accurately, we don’t know the response to any of the above. Staff is as forthcoming with answers as is the hierarchy of any underground organization.

The arrogance oozing from the Director’s Office and her underlings is understandable: they all earn more than any of the officials at the Ministry of Education or Cabinet Ministers who have titular authority over them.

They do not have to raise the money they spend. The most difficult task they have is to actually find ways to spend the money they receive – including their share of the extra $300 Million announced in the Spring to improve accessibility and infrastructure in all schools.

It is probably time for Queen’s Park to reassess the worth of school boards like the YCDSB. A paragon of Catholic values it is not – unless ritualistic self-crossing or mumbled mutterings repeated from rote constitute the YCDSB’ interpretation of religion.

(Friday 28 October 2016)

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