Scarborough TDSB trustees take a stand on education

Education was the topic at an evening forum organized by local school boards on Sept. 19. The following day, the Ontario Public School Boards Association (OPSBA) announced Sept. 20 to be Education Day.

In preparation for the provincial election on Oct. 6, trustees of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) will host open forums at their local schools from 7 to 9 p.m. to encourage voters to take part in the election as candidates take a stand on the importance of public education.

“It is important for people to be given every chance possible to hear the opinion of local candidates, understand the issues and, ultimately, support the process for voters to make informed decisions – especially on education matters,” said Chris Bolton, the TDSB chair.

The TDSB is urging candidates to tell Toronto voters what they plan to do in order to renew and support their aging schools, and to make every day “education day” for Toronto children.

Trustee David Smith of Scarborough Centre believes in getting children “ready for life.”

“As your trustee, it is my primary goal to provide a healthy and safe learning environment,” he said.

“An environment that will nurture skilled, knowledgeable and happy, healthy students who are ready for life.”

Smith noted that in mid 1990’s, the TDSB was ranked Number 1 in the world, but today the TDSB sits 45th.

“As a community we need to determine what went wrong with our school system and why,” he said.

Smith plans on improving this issue by calling regular town hall meetings to work with parents, students and the government to put school boards at the “helm of the world’s stage.”

Scarborough East trustee Jerry Chadwick of hopes to see a balanced budget for the school board.

“A balanced budget must be maintained while we find viable strategies to deal with the maintenance backlog that ensures the safety of students and staff,” he said.

Scarborough-Rouge River trustee Shaun Chen takes pride in supporting four consecutive balanced budgets that he says have strengthened the school system.

“The new investments in ESL and special education has helped meet diverse student needs, and I am proud of this accomplishment,” he said.

Scarborough Southwest trustee Elizabeth Moyer focuses on increasing technology in the classrooms and addressing bullying.

“I have the experience to bring the TDSB into the 21st century in technology in education,” she said. “[And] as a parent of two daughters in a public school, I know the concerns that many parents have in keeping them informed.”

Trustee Jerry Chadwick agrees with incorporating technology in public school boards but first, he says, due to a declining enrolment, significant changes need to happen.

“We cannot continue to spend more than the revenue provided to us by the Ministry,” he said.

If further school closures continue to occur within the next year, Chadwick says students “impacted by the changes” should be guaranteed to “receive an improved learning environment that will lead to future success.”