TORONTO, Jan. 28 /CNW/ - "It is now almost eight months since Mr. Forma
and I arrived at the Toronto Catholic District School Board to rebuild public
trust and confidence in the governance of this organization.
"In our view, rebuilding that trust and confidence required a meaningful
public role for trustees. This included the opportunity to:
- continue working with their constituents on local issues and advocate
on their behalf;
- receive reports on issues requiring decision;
- offer advice to the supervision team;
- provide a leadership role for the Chair;
- have a voice in the selection of that person, and
- work with the Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association on how
their role could support a school system focused on increasing
"For their part, Trustees were expected to demonstrate that they could
work together in the public arena, be prepared to trust one another, treat
each other with respect and act in the best interest of students rather than
for parochial or personal reasons.
"These expectations were shared between students, parents, faith leaders,
your trustee colleagues across the province, the general public and the
supervision team. Unfortunately, trustees' behaviour continues to fall
considerably short of these expectations. The community as a whole is once
again dismayed and disappointed by the actions of the board. The conduct of
trustees continues to undermine confidence in Catholic education and our
publicly funded education system as a whole.
"Many of you are under the impression that supervision will end in June
or at some time in the short-term. On this point the Minister has been very
clear. Supervision will not end while this board is in its current financial
"The Minister's objectives have been unchanged from the outset of this
process. The supervisory team's role is to get this board back on track,
provide financial stability and restore public confidence so that TCDSB
students continue to experience success and student achievement rates continue
to increase. Furthermore, as a supervisory team, we have the expectation that
board members conduct themselves with civility and act in a way that treats
the interests of students and the Board as a priority.
"Further, the Minister has heard from other Catholic stakeholders,
parents and community members that the actions and statements of TCDSB
trustees demonstrate that you are unable and unwilling to focus on student
achievement, improved financial operations and restoring public confidence.
"There are times when clarity of focus and actions reach the point where
it becomes impossible to achieve desired objectives. We have reached that
point. At such times, it is prudent to step back, to be calm, to reflect, to
re-focus on the objectives and their original purpose and to get things back
on track. This is the time. Prudence dictates that during this period of
reflection, the roles and responsibilities of trustee will be limited to those
required under the vesting order and no decision will be made on the
appointment of a Chair.
"We urge you to begin this period of stepping back and reflecting by
focusing on the words of Archbishop Thomas Collins in his letter to you at the
beginning of supervision:
"You work under the Education Act and other laws of the Province of
Ontario to ensure that Catholic education is provided to the children of
Catholic parents. You are called to be role models by the way in which
you conduct yourselves individually and collectively. You are also
representatives of the Catholic community. You are called to be examples.
And the standard to which you are held is high, because we are called to
be witnesses to the faith, which is the highest standard. You are
accountable not only to the Catholic community but also to the people of
Ontario. Your practices must be beyond reproach. Consistent both with the
law and with the ideal of Christian stewardship."
"Parental and stakeholder involvement is a cherished principle of the
TCDSB. The Supervision Team is committed to establishing a process for parents
and Catholic stakeholders to continue providing input into matters affecting
their school communities."
The Board meeting originally scheduled for this evening has been
For dates and times of upcoming meetings, please refer to the Board's
website at www.tcdsb.org.
The Toronto Catholic District School Board educates more than 90,000
students from diverse cultures and language backgrounds in its 201 Catholic
elementary and secondary schools and serves 474,876 Catholic school supporters
across the City of Toronto.
For further information:
For further information: Media Contact: Mary Jo Deighan, Coordinator of
Communications, Tel: (416) 229-5331, Fax: (416) 229-5342,