October 2013 Update

Ward 7 Council and Meeting Update from October 8th, 2013

Welcome Back Irene

The meeting opened with a warm welcome for Irene Atkinson, who returned to her position as our TDSB Ward 7 Trustee. Irene has been away from work for several months recuperating from injuries sustained in a spring fire in her home.  It is tremendous to have Irene return.

Info for Parents

Attached you will find a pdf of the information package presented at the October meeting. It contains interesting reading for parents. This month’s package includes an article which illustrates perspectives of Regulation 274, the controversial hiring rule put in place province-wide last year.

Parents Need To Speak Out Against Regulation 274 which Forces Principals to Hire Based on Seniority

Charles Wakefield, a retired principal presented a request for parents speak out against Regulation 274. Concerns about this ruling including reducing diversity of teachers, imposing additional barriers for young teachers, not recognizing tenure if teachers move boards, eliminating principals’ ability to hire candidates best suited for a particular school and its needs, and creating a very onerous process for principals.  Ontario principals are in agreement and against this regulation – you can read their position in the news release below.

Open letter re Regulation 274 from Ontario Principals –
http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1225477/ontario-principals-council-open-letter-on-regulation-274

Understanding Regulation 274 –
http://www.etfo.ca/resources/reg274/pages/default.aspx

A recent article from the Toronto Star  –
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/09/25/hiring_regulation_274_overcorrection_premier_admits.html

Would you please take a few minutes and email the Premier and the Minister of Education to express concerns re Regulation 274?  Here is Charles’ explanation of the policy, and the email addresses for both Premier Kathleen Wynne and Education Minister Liz Sandals as well as  a sample email.

 Selling Schools?

Trustee Atkinson outlined TDSB’s  ongoing challenge of excess capacity (ie. surplus seats) which impacts the Boards funding in many ways. The current and projected forecasts for the Board were presented as follows (complete numbers can be found in the attached pdf information package):

 Total School Capacity and Surplus Seats
Totals of Elementary and Secondary School Capacity as of June, 2013 Surplus Seats 2012 Actual Surplus Seats 2015 Projected Surplus Seats 2020 Projected Surplus Seats 2025 Projected
 Total  317,248  71,775  64,023  59,320  52,812

Ward 7 is an exception and suffers from a dramatic lack of student spaces with the majority of our schools over capacity. Irene spoke of the discussions currently taking place at the Board regarding selling property as a means of reducing surpluses and increasing revenue. There have been several news articles about the issue including this Toronto Star article.  It is an extremely complicated and controversial subject and debates include: are the projections for future needs accurate? do the projections account for development in areas such as ours? selling property (immediate proceeds) vs. leasing (less money now but guarantees future availability)? how are the funds raised by sales allocated? (are the sale proceeds staying in the ward?)

Irene hopes to provide parents with an update and a list of locations up for consideration for sale at the November meeting.

Could We Use a Few Calm Moments At School?

A presentation on “Mindfulness in Education” was presented by Teresa Emmanuel and Sharon Weidbaum. The presentation outlined an endeavour to provide ” educators, students and school communities with sustainable mindfulness programs that support healthy and happy school environments”.  While an interesting concept and content often seemingly had potential , the context was unclear (why we parents hearing about this at this time).  The presenters promised to outline at a future meeting how pilot projects are progressing and how Ward 7 parents might become involved. Those interested can read about Mindfulness in Education and an early developments being made at  http://wakeupschools.org/