Janet McDougald acclaimed as chair, Suzanne Nurse elected as vice-chair at inaugural meeting
TORONTO, Dec. 1 /CNW/ - At the first meeting of the newly elected board of trustees on Dec. 1, Janet McDougald was acclaimed as chair. McDougald has been a trustee for 22 years, has served as chair for 13 years and was previously vice-chair for three years. Suzanne Nurse, trustee for Brampton wards 2 and 6, was elected as vice-chair. Nurse is starting her fifth year in public office. Trustees also welcomed four new members to the board.
"It is truly an honour to serve the board in this capacity—and a privilege that I take respectfully and seriously," McDougald said in her inaugural remarks. "I want, as a board, for each of us to put on the metaphorical armour for the next four years, because public education needs, and will continue to need, defence—and we are on the front line."
McDougald acknowledged new funding the board received, but noted that, "Instead of the $12 million for each of four years that the province acknowledges Peel students are owed, after four years the board will receive only $30 million in additional funding instead of $48 million—a funding shortfall of $18 million. And at no point do we catch up—after four years, we remain behind. This is not acceptable. So can we just say 'Thanks', and play nice?"
"I have heard it said that it is as though we do not 'like' the province. We are not 'thankful' for all the new funding received in the last seven years," said McDougald. "Well, of course we are thankful—we know how supportive this province is in terms of education funding, and of public education. However, this is about getting the funding our parents expect and our students deserve—our fair share. And we fully understand the financial situation at the province, so we are not asking for any new money, we are asking for the government to make difficult decisions and re-distribute existing funding so the per pupil erosion stops."
In addition to fairer funding, McDougald outlined other key roles she feels trustees need to play in the defence of public education, "We cannot forget that so many people from around the world choose our board as a place for their children to learn. In return, they expect—and deserve, that we will understand and appreciate their cultures and traditions. That we will warmly welcome them to schools. They also hope, they want and they demand that we hire the very best staff in our schools and that they reflect the population in the community."
"I also see our defender role to be about pushing some boundaries in the next four years. To have more dialogue about school choice, about providing greater opportunities for all students to be in programs that connect to their interests, and not just those in regional programs,"
Tony Pontes, director of education, shared some of the major achievements of the past year in his annual report to the board. "Through the lens of this year's annual report theme, Share the Smile, we've uncovered some of the stories that make up who we are as a system and why we have so many reasons to smile. This theme allows us to highlight and celebrate the dedication of our staff, and showcase the appreciation we have for the important involvement of our parents, caregivers, volunteers and community partners." The printed annual report will be available in February 2011.
View the complete text of McDougald's and Pontes' remarks at www.peelschools.org
For further information: For further information:
Janet McDougald, Chair, Peel District School Board, 905-278-1402, [email protected]
Alison Farbar, Communications Officer (acting), Peel District School Board, 905-890-1010 (or 1-800-668-1146) ext. 2626, [email protected]