Catholic parents should not expect change from Angela Kennedy, says one defeated trustee candidate.
Kevin Morrison, who emphasized a returned focus on students during his campaign, lost tonight to former trustee Angela Kennedy in Ward 11 of the Toronto Catholic District School Board. Kennedy garnered 5,904 votes, just over 47 per cent, while Morrison finished with 4,104 votes, almost 33 per cent.
“When we call her, she is not there,” said Morrison, a father of two daughters enrolled at St. John’s Elementary School in Ward 11. “When we ask her to do something for us, she does not do it. She does not deserve this because, for the longest time, she has not been a responsive or decent trustee.”
The TCDSB has been under provincial supervision since 2008 after failing to balance its budget. In August, Kennedy was found guilty of conflict of interest and removed from her seat after participating in a vote that could have affected her children, who work within the board. Morrison believed that was enough for voters to demand change.
“It’s tremendously disappointing,” he said. “I’ve been very active within the school, which really resonated with parents.”
Morrison’s wife, Paula, said he ran an inspired campaign. She said her husband has never been one to quit, and foresees him continuing his work to improve Catholic education.
“He’ll put his energy into doing something good in the school and the community,” she said. “That’s just who he is.”
Morrison confirmed he will “continue to campaign for better governance within the board,” which includes attending board meetings and speaking out to improve his daughters’ education system. He found solace in the fact that he took more votes away from Kennedy this time around. Kennedy steamrolled over her sole opponent, Cindy Beman, by about 4,000 votes in 2006.
Ben Levin, an education policy specialist at the University of Toronto, said the new board’s future success depends heavily on whether incumbents are re-elected. The board encompasses 12 wards, half of which now have new faces representing them.
“Whether it’s largely a veteran board, or largely a new board, will affect the dynamics,” he said. “Clearly in a situation like this, where there have been some real problems with the operation of the board, citizens are going to want a board that can resume running the affairs of the district…in a way that builds confidence and helps improve education in the TCDSB.”