The race to fill the open Toronto District School Board trustee position in Scarborough-Agincourt (Ward 20) is heating up.
The byelection, which has seen a total of 14 candidates run with various level of education experience, will take place on Feb. 27.
Ron Lowe, a TDSB employee for 34 years and retired principal of Terry Fox Public School, has built his platform around issues such as the implementation of full-day kindergarten, preparing students for future success, and raising awareness for issues that are often dismissed.
“We have so many issues in schools, and some things get put to the background,” he said. “I think these issues should be brought forward, and one of those issues would be addressing not just the physical health of our students, but the mental well-being as well.”
Former trustee Carol McDonald, who is currently on leave from working for Toronto city councillor Mike Del Grande, is also running in this by-election. Her platform revolves around three main factors, which she calls the “ABCs of education.”
“‘A’ is accountability, where parents, students, and teachers take responsibility for their roles in education,” she said. “‘B’ is balance, where class sizes have to be realistic, so teachers can teach academic and social skills effectively.
“’C’ is cost, where we’ve got $2.5 billion in the education budget from the city of Toronto,” McDonald continued. “We have to be able to manage that properly.”
Scott Harrison is yet another candidate who has come into the fold. Like McDonald, Harrison is also a former trustee. After being defeated in his native ward of Scarborough-Centre (Ward 19), Harrison hasn’t officially released details about his platform, but says it’s centred on “unfinished business.”
“My platform will be – and I’m not going to let the cat out of the bag yet – looking at ways to fund nutritional programs through our schools,” he said. “It’ll also look at issues that affect Ward 20, such as the amount of dollars spent on local schools, and bringing the Scarborough Parent Conference back to the community.”
Nearly five years ago, Harrison introduced the Scarborough Parent Conference with Wong, who left Ward 20 last year in favour of a seat with the provincial Liberal party. Harrison said that the conference was cancelled this year because of a lack of trustee involvement, which has upset many parents and residents of the ward.