2014 TDSB Election: Ward 8 – Eglinton-Lawrence

The Incumbent:

Howard Goodman

The Race

The incumbent is not up for re-election this year. Aaron Grinhaus’ kind words were much appreciated and Ron Singer’s commitment to reducing waste was quite clear, but both of these candidates might have provided more detail in their responses. Claudia Webb brought some experience as a teacher to bear on her answers, providing interesting responses for questions relating to special needs and how to address overspending, but most of her answers could have used a bit more fleshing out.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate:  Jennifer Arp, John Vassal

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Grinhaus, Aaron Did not respond to this specific question. See Full Response.
    Singer, Ron Time must be devoted to this subject at each board meeting
    Webb, Claudia Cut where it minimally affects students and teachers


  • Candidate Response
    Grinhaus, Aaron  Did not respond to this specific question. See Full Response.
    Singer, Ron 1) line by line evaluation in all areas of spending, 2) sell any art or artifacts 3) cut back on trustee honorariums 4) review the trade council arrangement 5) review consulting contracts
    Webb, Claudia Lease schools instead of selling them, partner with private companies to protect green space.


  • Candidate Response
    Grinhaus, Aaron  Did not respond to this specific question. See Full Response.
    Singer, Ron No
    Webb, Claudia  No


  • Candidate Response
    Grinhaus, Aaron  Did not respond to this specific question. See Full Response.
    Singer, Ron Review the amount of resources spent on special education
    Webb, Claudia Test all children, and look for success stories and replicate them


  • Candidate Response
    Grinhaus, Aaron  Did not respond to this specific question. See Full Response.
    Singer, Ron Same answer as for question #2
    Webb, Claudia Study budget and  brainstorm with other trustees to find areas for improvement.


  • Candidate Response
    Grinhaus, Aaron  Did not respond to this specific question. See Full Response.
    Singer, Ron Stop wasteful spending before allocating any new money
    Webb, Claudia Ensure we get the best value for our money


  • Candidate Response
    Grinhaus, Aaron  Did not respond to this specific question. See Full Response.
    Singer, Ron Yes
    Webb, Claudia Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Grinhaus, Aaron  Did not respond to this specific question. See Full Response.
    Singer, Ron Cut trustee pay as an example
    Webb, Claudia Avoid strikes and get to a solution that satisfies both sides


  • Candidate Response
    Grinhaus, Aaron  Did not respond to this specific question. See Full Response.
    Singer, Ron Yes
    Webb, Claudia  Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Grinhaus, Aaron  Did not respond to this specific question. See Full Response.
    Singer, Ron Same answer to question #1
    Webb, Claudia  Cuts created the problem- need to be more careful about what is cut first

 

The full responses

  • 1. Evidence suggests the TDSB was warned in 2006 about spending problems. Previous Chair Chris Bolton chose to ignore these warnings until his resignation. Going forward, how would you address the issue of over-spending at the school board?

    Thanks for your email. I am very happy to see a group of citizens who is as concerned as I am with the growing deficits and the shrinking services, and with the specter of tax increases on the horizon. As a tax lawyer these are issues near and dear to my heart, and ones which initially motivated me to run. Although my platform consists of a few other issues I will do my best to address the ones you have raised.
    As an experienced tax lawyer with a small child in the TDSB system I was alarmed to see how inefficient the budgeting and maintenance processes are. Inefficient and wasteful. My goal, if I am elected, is not to “cut” or overhaul the delivery of services, but instead to analyze the budget and identify efficiencies which would reduce costs. In addition, the deficits are caused by the need for services as population and demographics evolve. It is a shame that the province has shut off the taps, so to speak, and imposed funding formulas which are now inadequate to meet those changing needs. The board has also been forced to sell land that WILL BE REQUIRED for new schools and learning facilities, to pay for repairs on existing, crumbling schools. Therefore, approaching the province with effective, objective criteria for the formulation of funding, as well as effectively communicating the long-term funding needs of the school board, is a goal of mine as well.

    This simply involves planning beyond the next election, which, for our children’s education, is worth the effort! Less politics, more objective, professional policy.

    The delivery of educational services is a paramount societal need. Increasing efficiency, creating modern funding strategies and implementing new formulas for funding will help address many of the issues outlined in your questions below. My platform also involves the delivery of special needs, managing TDSB property, and community outreach strategies. An open dialogue is important in order for the board to be effective. The dialogue between the Board, the TDSB bureaucracy, the province, the teachers, the parents, and other stake
    holders is very complex; however, effective consultation and discussion on these levels and around the city is what will make my daughter’s (and every child’s) experience in the classroom as valuable as it can be, so that our kids can maximize their potential.

  • 1. Evidence suggests the TDSB was warned in 2006 about spending problems. Previous Chair Chris Bolton chose to ignore these warnings until his resignation. Going forward, how would you address the issue of over-spending at the school board?

    I would shine a light on this we have to be aware of it all the time
    Their should be time devoted to this at every board meeting
    Hard earned tax dollars have to be devoted to kids and classrooms

    2. The TDSB has been faced with a difficult decision about potentially selling school properties. To avoid this, where would you find savings in future budgets? List your top five specific priorities for savings.

    1 a line by line evaluation in all areas of spending
    2 sell any art or artifacts
    3 cut back on trustee honorariums
    4 look at the trade council arrangement
    5 look at any consulting contracts

    3. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically for education. Is this a proposal you support?

    No new taxes until spending is brought under control

    4. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    We have to look at the amount of resources devoted to it

    5. The current board saw the TDSB deficit balloon to $109-million – it’s biggest ever. What is your plan to address this going forward?

    1 a line by line evaluation in all areas of spending
    2 sell any art or artifacts
    3 cut back on trustee honorariums
    4 look at the trade council arrangement
    5 look at any consulting contracts

    6. The TDSB recently estimated the cost of roof repairs to more than $2.5-million dollars. How would you ensure that necessary capital refurbishments are met within budget?

    We have to shut off wasteful spending before we can allocate any money

    7. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking more private investment at the TDSB?

    I support private investment but it has to be vetted so a project is not detrimental to the TDSB

    8. What do you think is the best approach for the TDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    The trustees have to engage all stakeholders- we have to first cut our pay as an example to them

    9. In short time, the agreement between the TDSB and Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council is up for re-negotiation. Do you feel there are changes needed in the current agreement?

    The current system can not continue- the repair costs have to be brought in line
    The schools should be able to do more and I would not oppose more outside bidding on contracts

    10. TDSB has come under fire for ridiculous expenses – $150 to cut a key, $140 for a pencil sharpener, and a $200 toilet seat are just scratching the surface. How will you bring about a new culture that respects the budget and sees money spent wisely?​

    In point 1 I said wasteful spending should be a focus- we should devote time every meeting to go over this how can we ask for more money when are shown to be so wasteful in spending it

  • 1. Evidence suggests the TDSB was warned in 2006 about spending problems. Previous Chair Chris Bolton chose to ignore these warnings until his resignation. Going forward, how would you address the issue of over-spending at the school board?

    It is important that the School Board maintain a balanced budget as that is its legal responsibility. If elected, I would ensure that the budget remained balanced by dealing with the hard choices facing the Board. We need to spend only what we are given by cutting where it will minimally affect our students and teachers. I am sure that there are areas that we can work on.

    2. The TDSB has been faced with a difficult decision about potentially selling school properties. To avoid this, where would you find savings in future budgets? List your top five specific priorities for savings.

    I am actually not entirely against selling property. I do not think we should sell schools as student populations change and we may need them in the future. However, similar to the Bannockburn situation, we could lease the school until needed in the future. I think we should look at encouraging a relationship with private companies who would be willing to buy school green spaces but who would be willing to share that green space with schools and communities. I am very concerned about the cost of maintenance of schools. I am not referring to general maintenance by custodians but rather bigger jobs requiring contractors. I believe jobs done for the TDSB should be tendered just as in the private sector in order to get the best deal available. Our school pools are such an asset to our local communities but a huge cost to the TDSB. I’d like to look at ways to keep our pools open but keep them funded at minimal cost. It will be difficult to cut anywhere. As a former teacher and a parent, I have seen where too many cuts lead. It will be a difficult decision but I reiterate that maintaining a balanced budget is always a priority.

    3. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically for education. Is this a proposal you support?

    I wonder if that is possible in Toronto as taxpayers are already overwhelmed by costs. Property taxes increase annually. I really feel we need to focus more on dialogue with the province to ask for the support that we as the largest school board in Canada and fourth largest in North America need.

    4. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    Special Education encompasses a huge gamut of needs. I support a special education program that is flexible in nature. Most children should be in a regular classroom with modified expectations. Some require more intensive support. I have worked as a Resource teacher and have seen first hand the variety of children in the program. It is overwhelming at times. I think we start to identify too late. Early intervention ensures children are working in the right environment and at the right pace. We need to provide testing to all children when they begin school and provide support to the teachers so they can help all children as best they can. I also think we need to have a committee that is searching actively for success stories in the TDSB and other school boards. Then we can replicate those programs elsewhere.

    5. The current board saw the TDSB deficit balloon to $109-million – it’s biggest ever. What is your plan to address this going forward?

    Again, it is a requirement that the board submit a balanced budget. I will work hard to make sure this is realized. I plan on scrutinizing the budget and looking for areas that seem problematic. I am an ideas person so I think I can help as a board member to brainstorm solutions which work for all.

    6. The TDSB recently estimated the cost of roof repairs to more than $2.5-million dollars. How would you ensure that necessary capital refurbishments are met within budget?

    I think we need to make sure that we have the best price for every job done for the TDSB. It also needs to be done quickly – time is money. We as trustees need to make sure that whoever we hire to do the job does it quickly and at a reasonable cost.

    7. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking more private investment at the TDSB?

    Absolutely. Schools are not just for children. They are a valuable resource for the entire community. The TDSB is struggling to meet the budget without a deficit every year. I think it would be great if the municipal and provincial government could find some way to contribute more financially to education in Toronto but that is somewhat unlikely. It is time to allow private companies to use schools and their facilities to promote community unity, community green space and education in general. We live in a capitalist society so we need to consider using companies to help social programming which is in dire need. However, it has to be done carefully as we do not want to increase the cost of access to these areas for local people. Companies need to see this as a contribution not a way to make money. Their reputation as a philanthropic organization will help them economically but we don’t want to end up with company run schools, fields, gyms etc.

    8. What do you think is the best approach for the TDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    The Government has said that the cost of implementing FDK means no additional money for teaching contracts. However as long as there are unions involved in contract negotiations, there will always be a demand for more. So we have to negotiate a deal that is beneficial to both parties. Eventually, a contract is always signed. I would like to avoid strikes and just get to a fair contract.

    9. In short time, the agreement between the TDSB and Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council is up for re-negotiation. Do you feel there are changes needed in the current agreement?

    There is always room for change. We are the only board with an agreement with Skilled trades. I think we have to let them know that if they can’t provide the best price, we have to go elsewhere. And they should not be doing jobs that CUPE or volunteers can handle.

    10. TDSB has come under fire for ridiculous expenses – $150 to cut a key, $140 for a pencil sharpener, and a $200 toilet seat are just scratching the surface. How will you bring about a new culture that respects the budget and sees money spent wisely?​

    These illogical expenses are in part due to cuts that were made in the past for budgetary reasons. The management position that assigned jobs based on difficulty level was cut and CUPE and skilled trades workers were left to decide which jobs were assigned to whom. The management position needs to be reassigned and this kind of irresponsibility cannot be allowed to happen. This is a cautionary tale about cutting positions and programs. These decisions must be made with a long term focus. We need to assess the long term results of any cut and prepare in advance for it. I am a former teacher and a mother of four children – my eldest was in a specialized dance program in her high school, my other daughter is in the gifted program, and my two sons are young enough that every decision made by the Board over the next four years will impact them. I was a teacher and I know how cuts can impact learning. I have supply taught. I have taught in French Immersion and I have been a resource teacher. So I know that every decision around programming, spending and cutting can seriously impact a school, students, teachers, parents and the community. I would take this opportunity as school trustee very seriously.

2014 TDSB Election: Ward 9 – Davenport

The Incumbent:

Maria Rodrigues

The Race

Respondents in Ward 9 paid lip service to staying within the budget, but few ideas were offered that did not involve asking the province for more money or favouring teachers’ unions in negotiations. Kowser Omer Hashi and Liz Jackson’s suggestions to partner with the private sector in a limited fashion were the only concrete fiscally sound policy suggestions from this group.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate:  Mary MacNeill, Sandra Martins, Jennifer McKenzie, Marit Stiles, Marjolein Winterink

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Eyford, Dean  Fiscal stability and ongoing financial planning
    Jackson, Liz Did not answer this specific question, see Full Response
    Omer Hashi, Kowser  Create environment of accountability

  • Candidate Response
    Eyford, Dean Look at processes and labour force satisfaction
    Jackson, Liz Did not answer this specific question, see Full Response
    Omer Hashi, Kowser Consult with community for suggestions, lease schools to private interests

  • Candidate Response
    Eyford, Dean Will consider
    Jackson, Liz Did not answer this specific question, see Full Response
    Omer Hashi, Kowser No

  • Candidate Response
    Eyford, Dean Need to clearly define special education, and make decisions that are positive for entire board
    Jackson, Liz Did not answer this specific question, see Full Response
    Omer Hashi, Kowser Additional services necessary for students and parents, will fight cuts in this area

  • Candidate Response
    Eyford, Dean Finance subcomittee must develop a plan
    Jackson, Liz Did not answer this specific question, see Full Response
    Omer Hashi, Kowser Need more funding from province

  • Candidate Response
    Eyford, Dean Permanent accounting for roof and building expenses
    Jackson, Liz Did not answer this specific question, see Full Response
    Omer Hashi, Kowser Infrastructure repairs are the highest priority

  • Candidate Response
    Eyford, Dean Will Consider
    Jackson, Liz Did not answer this specific question, see Full Response
    Omer Hashi, Kowser Will Consider

  • Candidate Response
    Eyford, Dean Avoid labour dispute, compensate teachers fairly
    Jackson, Liz Did not answer this specific question, see Full Response
    Omer Hashi, Kowser Work closely with provincial minister of education

  • Candidate Response
    Eyford, Dean Will consider
    Jackson, Liz Did not answer this specific question, see Full Response
    Omer Hashi, Kowser Did not answer this specific question, see Full Response

  • Candidate Response
    Eyford, Dean Expenses like this are common in construction industry, but contractors should tighten their belts
    Jackson, Liz Did not answer this specific question, see Full Response
    Omer Hashi, Kowser Did not answer this specific question, see Full Response

 

The full responses

  • 1. Evidence suggests the TDSB was warned in 2006 about spending problems. Previous Chair Chris Bolton chose to ignore these warnings until his resignation. Going forward, how would you address the issue of over-spending at the school board?

    Fiscal stability and ongoing financial planning are the hallmark of good leadership. In my opinion all TDSB board members should never loose sight of this.

    2. The TDSB has been faced with a difficult decision about potentially selling school properties. To avoid this, where would you find savings in future budgets? List your top five specific priorities for savings.

    My business management experience has taught me to first look at process efficiencies and labour force satisfaction as areas to improve financial returns. Divesting of key assets is not a long term solution to budget enhancement and should only be considered with absolute due diligence.

    3. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically for education. Is this a proposal you support?

    Raising taxes should be the last tool out of the bag after all cost savings measures have been explored.

    4. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    Failures are just that unless a lesson is learned from them. “Special Ed” can mean very different things to various parents and children. Decisions by the board must maintain a focus on the overall health for the entire school board.

    5. The current board saw the TDSB deficit balloon to $109-million – it’s biggest ever. What is your plan to address this going forward?

    This precarious financial situation is portentous indeed, and is mortgaging the future of the system as a whole. A plan should be developed by the Finance Sub Committee to reduce it.

    6. The TDSB recently estimated the cost of roof repairs to more than $2.5-million dollars. How would you ensure that necessary capital refurbishments are met within budget?

    Can you imagine a school system without buildings? Some of our buildings were built by volunteers, all we have to do is maintain them. Some of the land was donated to the school board, all we need to do is take care of it. Anyone that owns a house understands that any roof will need to be replaced eventually, many homeowners save every year for this. The expenses for ongoing maintenance of the buildings, systems and grounds should be permanently accounted and planned for.

    7. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking more private investment at the TDSB?

    This would assume that all levels of government at the current tax base can’t support the current number of students. If this is the case and any third party help is at “arms reach” and anonymous then it probably merits examination. However this should not be a temporary “top up” of funds but part of a long term financial plan and commitment.

    8. What do you think is the best approach for the TDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    Avoiding a labour dispute or disruption. Probably everyone reading this has had a boss or job they did not like. Happy, safe employees are always more productive. Having two kids age 4 & 6 I’m well aware that teaching must be a difficult job, lets compensate them fairly.

    9. In short time, the agreement between the TDSB and Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council is up for re-negotiation. Do you feel there are changes needed in the current agreement?

    I do not have access to that agreement, no comment directly on it. However it should be negotiated in a timely and fiscally reasonable manner with a qualified team to avoid any disruption to the schools.

    10. TDSB has come under fire for ridiculous expenses – $150 to cut a key, $140 for a pencil sharpener, and a $200 toilet seat are just scratching the surface. How will you bring about a new culture that respects the budget and sees money spent wisely?​

    Without experience in the construction industry, an outsider might think these expense items seem “ridiculous”, on a balance sheet and out of context. That being said there is no reason why the maintenance and cleaning staff should not be accountable and tighten their belts too.

  • 1. Evidence suggests the TDSB was warned in 2006 about spending problems. Previous Chair Chris Bolton chose to ignore these warnings until his resignation. Going forward, how would you address the issue of over-spending at the school board?

    I have always stated that I do not support any educational development charges and the TDSB got itself in its current financial mismanagement and needs to get itself out it. I do not agree to the TDSB should be bailed out and I believe the TCDSB has a better arrangement for their maintenance and construction process. I do agree private companies can participates within our school as long as safety concerns are met. I believe the TDSB trustee should not automatically take one side or the other during contract negotiations and we have to decide on having a great working environment over teachers salaries. Lastly, spending concerns at the TDSB is a top down approach; if a current Trustee has a $200 a month cell phone bill and unlimited plans are $70 dollars we need to have real discussion on the person seeking elections this year.

  • 1. Evidence suggests the TDSB was warned in 2006 about spending problems. Previous Chair Chris Bolton chose to ignore these warnings until his resignation. Going forward, how would you address the issue of over-spending at the school board?

    I will aim to create an environment of accountability among all stakeholders within the TDSB. Education is not a field that can withstand unsustainable policy decisions. I will help build a stronger TDSB for our city’s future.

    2. The TDSB has been faced with a difficult decision about potentially selling school properties. To avoid this, where would you find savings in future budgets? List your top five specific priorities for savings.

    Losing a school is detrimental to forming a cohesive community. I will aim to foster a more financially efficient school system leading to savings across the TDSB. I will actively seek find new savings within future budgets because needs and priorities change constantly within our large school board. Involve taxpayers throughout the process using community consultation. Leasing property to private interest is a viable alternative.

    3. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically for education. Is this a proposal you support?

    No, I don’t support forcing taxpayers to fund education directly through a new tax stream.

    4. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    I have a long history of social justice advocacy and this skill set will allow me to be the driving force behind the implementation of policies to further support an environment where special needs students can get what they need to succeed. Provide additional training for staff interacting with special needs students, and fighting against cuts. I have done master level courses in disability related issues.

    All Our kids deserve compassionate support. I’ll advocate for the Students with special needs and support programs they need to prepare to lead a meaningful life after high school. Parents should not have to fight for the basic right to education.

    5. The current board saw the TDSB deficit balloon to $109-million – it’s biggest ever. What is your plan to address this going forward?

    The TDSB is the largest school board in the nation and 4th overall in North America, so naturally this large organization requires substantial funds from the province of Ontario. We must do our part, but the province must give us the tools to equip our dedicated teaching staff with the tools to do their job effectively.

    6. The TDSB recently estimated the cost of roof repairs to more than $2.5-million dollars. How would you ensure that necessary capital refurbishments are met within budget?

    Infrastructural repairs deserve the highest priority because students must be within structurally sound facilities to perform in a safe environment. This issue will only deteriorate leading to higher costs in the future. Which is I believe it should happen sooner rather than later.

    7. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking more private investment at the TDSB?
    Private investment can be acceptable as long as the board retains control and oversight over the funds within our public schools. Private funds within a public institution can be potentially harmful and will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

    8. What do you think is the best approach for the TDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    As a very involved parent with TDSB schools over 20 years I strongly believe in our children’s right to good education. I will contact the education minister to make funding available for our dedicated teachers and supporting staff to reach a fair collective bargaining agreement.

    9. In short time, the agreement between the TDSB and Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council is up for re-negotiation. Do you feel there are changes needed in the current agreement?

     

    10. TDSB has come under fire for ridiculous expenses – $150 to cut a key, $140 for a pencil sharpener, and a $200 toilet seat are just scratching the surface. How will you bring about a new culture that respects the budget and sees money spent wisely?​

2014 TDSB Election: Ward 22 – Scarborough East

The Incumbent:

Jerry Chadwick

The Race

All 5 candidates running for trustee in TDSB Ward 22 responded to our survey with their ideas on how to deal with the issues currently ailing the TDSB. Some candidates, more than others believe that changes are necessary to the culture of board over spending and the misspending of Trustees.

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Chadwick, Jerry As Chair of the Budget Committee for the past 3 years, I have guided Trustees to make difficult decisions with student success and wellness always being the primary considerations. As part of the Years of Action plan, we are obligated to ensure that all funds go to support our students. We will continue that action plan and make sure that as we go forward we are not continually dealing with a deficit and making cuts.
    Khargie, Joseph While I have no desire to tear down those who have gone before me, all I can tell you is that I've spent almost a decade working in our community touching tens of thousands of lives through our charitable initiatives and I've done so on a shoe-string budget. We would run programs for an entire year at a time that would positively impact thousands of kids over an entire year on $10,000. I know how to stretch a dollar and respect the budget that is there in order to produce the needed results.
    Kitchen, Glenn The TDSB needs to centralize their bureaucratic positions and remove  redundancy, allowing funding to remain within schools.
    Marshall, Robert Actively push to change the culture of the school board when it comes to misspending and overspending. This needs to be done by getting school board trustees to show leadership on the spending front. We can do this through simply things such as changing how trustees report their expenses.
    Wright, Roxanne The 2006 consultants reports that you refer to relates primarily to spending problems related to the maintenance and construction division. The report made more than forty recommendations, however many have not been implemented and the problem of high costs still remains.


  • Candidate Response
    Chadwick, Jerry We must continue to lobby the provincial government for funding and get them off of their concept that we must get rid of surplus properties and student spaces. We must look at processes such as purchasing, procurement, and many others to see if further efficiencies can be found. We must make sure we are compliant with Broader Public Spending regulations.
    Khargie, Joseph My top 5 priorities to find savings would be: Better accountability in maintenance departments, A full review of social programming in our schools, Collaborating with TCDSB in joint transportation cost, A full review of supplies & services, Utility costs and how we can have a greener approach.
    Kitchen, Glenn 1. If a school is up for sale, due to low enrolment, then the school should be sold  and the funds used to sustain nearby schools.2. Allow the custodial staff to perform general maintenance duties, which they are capable of doing. Rather than contracting it out, which is more costly.3. Cut down on bureaucratic redundancy at the board level.4. Explore innovative options for generating revenue which is not being generated currently. For instance, renting auditoriums to community groups, renting parking spots (nightly) to area residents, school permits during weekends, etc.5. Explore corporate sponsorship programs for school libraries, music and art programs and science departments, including corporate tax incentives for these sponsorships.
    Marshall, Robert I want to first make it clear that I’m not opposed to selling school properties under any circumstances. An area I would look for savings in would be in the type of teachers working for the TDSB. The next area I would look into would be our transportation area of the board as I want to make sure it is being utilized in an efficient and responsible manner and that the students that are using this service are good candidates for it and that other alternative forms of transportation aren’t realistic. Another area I would look into would be the administrative side of the board making sure that in fact that area of the board is being run responsibly and efficiently.The last area I would look for savings in would probably be in school supplies in that as a board we spent about $169 million on school supplies in 2013 so I would want to make sure we are getting the best deal possible with the numerous companies that provide supplies.
    Wright, Roxanne Schools not needed today can be leased out to others and become a source of revenue. Regarding finding savings, the largest component of the budget is wages and benefits. Over the years we have seen a transfer of the power to make these decisions go to other levels of government. Local boards best know their community and should have more power in these budget matters to best meet those needs and find potential savings.


  • Candidate Response
    Chadwick, Jerry No
    Khargie, Joseph No
    Kitchen, Glenn Yes
    Marshall, Robert Will consider as a last resort.
    Wright, Roxanne The real issue isn't whether education is funded by the municipal tax base, provincial tax, a new dedicated education tax, or some combination of various sources, however ensuring that the tax burden is shared fairly and that our tax dollars are spent wisely.


  • Candidate Response
    Chadwick, Jerry Due to recent changes in government funding direction for Special Ed, the Board has to reassess program delivery in special education. Other ministries within the province must step up and help fund these special needs students.
    Khargie, Joseph Addressing this issue is a full-time job and requires an established committee (not a sub committee) on the board. I will establish a committee in Ward 22 and have  a thorough review of how we can do better.
    Kitchen, Glenn I am not an expert in the area of Special Education, however, I do believe that all children have the right to an education and also have the ability to learn. I believe Special Education should be supported through the experts, who have a strong understanding of what is needed to allow each child to flourish.
    Marshall, Robert In short to be honest I’m not 100% sure how to address this. The special education area of the board is something that I can easily relate to as I did spend a great deal of my educational years at the TDSB as a special education student (learning disability hopefully I caught all of my spelling errors). To try and improve things I believe we need to first encourage and reward innovation especially for those students with significant challenges to try and help those students achieve a greater degree of independence whenever possible.
    Wright, Roxanne An equitable educational system doesn't mean that money is spent equally in each area but that resources are directed by need to create equal opportunities and outcomes.Policies and expenditures must be in place to meet the needs of all students to avoid any child being left behind or falling through the cracks"."


  • Candidate Response
    Chadwick, Jerry We have continually reduced the deficit each year by making some tough decisions which have made permanent savings in our budget. Unfortunately, the province changed the funding regulations in May and our deficit grew. We have begun to work on a 3 year budget plan rather than just single year crisis management and will continue to do so.
    Khargie, Joseph My opponent was budget chair during this. Communication and Involvement is a priority of mine once elected. Most board meetings have been happening without any sort of communication between trustees taking place prior or community input.
    Kitchen, Glenn There is an over abundance of duplicate bureaucratic positions. The system needs to be stream lined at the board level, rather than the school level.
    Marshall, Robert So my idea is simple, allocate at least an additional $30 million to $40 million towards paying down our debt and building up our reserves each year and at the same time have a balanced budget.
    Wright, Roxanne Budget planning must not only take into account current day to day needs but should include long term planning to ensure that funds are in place for predictable future needs.


  • Candidate Response
    Chadwick, Jerry We have entered a partnership that will put solar panels on our roofs and we are being paid in roof repairs. We must continually put business plans for capital projects in front of the Ministry that are practical and will be approved.
    Khargie, Joseph The contracts for these jobs must be competitive just as the City of  Toronto contracts are. I will do what I've always done when running programs in East Toronto. I will hold every contractor accountable to the price that was quoted. I will be personally involved in all capital improvements and their oversight. Refurbishments must happen on time and not during school hours as was addressed late towards the end of the 2013/14 school year.
    Kitchen, Glenn It is cost effective for more than one project to be tendered as a group, however, companies bidding on projects must have a proven and demonstrated track record in the project being tendered. They must also have the manpower and funds to complete projects on time, at budget.
    Marshall, Robert Making sure that as a board you aren’t tied down to one option, one contractor to get the job done. So if something happens and a roof repair goes over budget you do have the option to pick someone else for other similar jobs if you feel that in fact it wasn’t reasonable for the budget to have gone over.
    Wright, Roxanne It is not unusual for the cost to maintain a school over it's lifespan to exceed the initial cost of building that school in the first place. It should not come as a surprise to trustees that at some point parking lots have to be repaved, heating systems, roofed etc. need to be replaced and so on. Boards on condominium housing corporations know this and plan accordingly and school boards must provide that same long term planning to provide these services at the best possible price as required.


  • Candidate Response
    Chadwick, Jerry Will consider
    Khargie, Joseph Yes
    Kitchen, Glenn Yes
    Marshall, Robert Yes
    Wright, Roxanne Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Chadwick, Jerry My goal is to ensure that our students are not impacted by the negotiations as they have been on the past. That means that our employee groups must all be treated with respect and consideration. The provincial government is also a key participant in the negotiations.
    Khargie, Joseph I have interacted with hundreds of Principles, Teachers and Administrative staff from the TDSB over the past decade. They trust me to be fair, honest and respectful. No doubt tough decisions need to be made, but I look forward to being a contributive voice at the table.
    Kitchen, Glenn Collective bargaining should be respected, while keeping the deficit in mind. An option would be to explore a longer contract period, which would give the TDSB a longer period to plan and budget for.
    Marshall, Robert I think that the best approach is to try and be proactive with contract negotiations by trying to get a better deal done for the board because although it will probably mean that we run the risk of having labour disruptions (which will have a dramatic impact on students and parents) I don’t think kicking the can down the road is something we can or should continue doing.
    Wright, Roxanne Regardless of the direction that negotiations go I would always be respectful to others and I would not want to see a situation as is currently the case in British Columbia where students have not returned to school this year due to unresolved contract negotiations.


  • Candidate Response
    Chadwick, Jerry Changes will be subject to the negotiations process that involves 3 parties and also subject to funding from the province.
    Khargie, Joseph Yes
    Kitchen, Glenn Yes
    Marshall, Robert Yes
    Wright, Roxanne Will consider


  • Candidate Response
    Chadwick, Jerry With the number of work orders that go through our system, some mistakes will happen. However, we will continue to limit the mistakes and ensure that they are not repeated.
    Khargie, Joseph Accountability is key. I will push for this across the board and do frequent visits to ensure our money is being spent properly. I am elected to represent the taxpayers in my community and I will work hard to see every dollar is stretched spent wisely and efficiently.
    Kitchen, Glenn The custodians are capable of basic maintenance within a school and should be given the freedom to perform these tasks. This would lower cost and create a more efficient work place environment.
    Marshall, Robert You have to not only be aggressive in identifying waste and ridiculous expenses from upper management downwards but you have to also make sure that everyone who either works for the TDSB and or relies on the TDSB is encouraged and is able to whistle blow to the TDSB’s board without having to worry about the possibility of some type of backlash.
    Wright, Roxanne People are concerned over the findings of the recent internal audit report regarding Trustees discretionary spending. I hope that others see the importance of money spent on education as an investment where we all benefit. I'd like for thenew culture to view and see things for the long term and plan for the a better future.

 

The full responses

  • 1. Evidence suggests the TDSB was warned in 2006 about spending problems. Previous Chair Chris Bolton chose to ignore these warnings until his resignation. Going forward, how would you address the issue of over-spending at the school board?

    I am unable to respond to what former Chair Bolton knew or didn’t know. Since I have been  in office, I have seen very careful deliberations about Board spending. Although some  Trustees have advocated for not submitting a balanced budget as required. I could not  support that plan of action. As Chair of the Budget Committee for the past 3 years, I have guided Trustees to make difficult decisions with student success and wellness always being the primary considerations. As part of the Years of Action plan, we are obligated to ensure that all funds go to support our students. We will continue that action plan and make sure that as we go forward we are not continually dealing with a deficit and making cuts. The transparency of Trustee expenses is imperative. We must be prepared to be accountable for every dollar of public funds spent. I fully support posting of all receipts that are claimed rather than just the general categories that was recently approved by Board.

    2. The TDSB has been faced with a difficult decision about potentially selling school properties. To avoid this, where would you find savings in future budgets? List your top five specific priorities for savings.

    We must continue to lobby the provincial government for funding and get them off of their concept that we must get rid of “surplus” properties and student spaces. That strategy is short sighted. Enrolment will go back up in the next 10 years. We need access to Educational Development charges and be allowed to use them for maintenance of our schools. Partnering with other public partners on issues like student nutrition, after schools programs, etc and share costs. We must look at processes such as purchasing, procurement, and many others to see if further efficiencies can be found. We must make sure we are compliant with Broader Public Spending regulations.

    3. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically for education. Is this a proposal you support?

    No, the taxpayers of Toronto are taxed heavily enough and then some. We must continue to work with the province to have them recognize the unique needs of our urban setting, including the impacts of poverty on our students. They must also look at our aging facilities and fund rebuilds and capital projects appropriately. Educational Development charges are integral to the success of the TDSB.

    4. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    Due to recent changes in government funding direction for Special Ed, the Board has to reassess program delivery in special education. We need to protect our most vulnerable students and make sure they are set up for success.Other ministries within the province must step up and help fund these special needs students.

    5. The current board saw the TDSB deficit balloon to $109-million – it’s biggest ever. What is your plan to address this going forward?

    We have continually reduced the deficit each year by making some tough decisions which have made permanent savings in our budget. We had passed a balanced budget in March 2014 with a $12M deficit and all savings found in year without directly impacting our students. Unfortunately, the province changed the funding regulations in May and our deficit grew. We have begun to work on a 3 year budget plan rather than just single year crisis management and will continue to do so.

    6. The TDSB recently estimated the cost of roof repairs to more than $2.5-million dollars. How would you ensure that necessary capital refurbishments are met within budget?

    We have entered a partnership that will put solar panels on our roofs and we are being paid in roof repairs. We must continually put business plans for capital projects in front of the Ministry that are practical and will be approved. We must also look at options to the way our schools are built (e.g. can prefab schools or additions provided the required, safe learning environment for our students) and work with developers and community to think outside the box.

    7. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking more private investment at the TDSB?

    Partnerships are a potential source of income for our schools that we cannot ignore. However,we must closely examine the expectations of the partners. We do not want investments that require product or service endorsements or commercials to our students.

    8. What do you think is the best approach for the TDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    The TDSB will only be negotiating local items with its employee groups. Under the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, the Ontario Public School Boards Association (OPSBA) was designated the bargaining agent for the boards. My goal is to ensure that our students are not impacted by the negotiations as they have been on the past. That means that our employee groups must all be treated with respect and consideration. The provincial government is also a key participant in the negotiations.

    9. In short time, the agreement between the TDSB and Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council is up for re-negotiation. Do you feel there are changes needed in the current agreement?

    The current agreement will be the starting point for negotiations with all employee groups. Changes will be subject to the negotiations process that involves 3 parties and also subject to funding from the province.

    10. TDSB has come under fire for ridiculous expenses – $150 to cut a key, $140 for a pencil sharpener, and a $200 toilet seat are just scratching the surface. How will you bring about a new culture that respects the budget and sees money spent wisely?

    Much has already been done to make sure that these types of expenses are no longer an issue. Facilities services has revised the process of work orders, they are putting gps systems into our vehicles so that efficiencies are found. Caretakers have been reminded of the types of jobs they are expected to do without issuing a work order to trades staff (e.g. installing a pencil sharpener) and have provided with tools to do the jobs. Management supervision of workers has been increased so that more efficiencies can be found. Our workers are skilled, capable people. They have indicated a willingness to work with the Board to increase productivity and efficiency. They are also eager to support student success through apprenticeship, job shadowing, etc. With the number of work orders that go through our system, some mistakes will happen. However, we will continue to limit the mistakes and ensure that they are not repeated.

  • 1. Evidence suggests the TDSB was warned in 2006 about spending problems. Previous Chair Chris Bolton chose to ignore these warnings until his resignation. Going forward, how would you address the issue of over-spending at the school board?

    We simply cannot afford to be stagnant and only complain about our money woes in a board with a $3B budget. There has been a tremendous amount of turnover in the TDSB in the past five years. While I have no desire to tear down those who have gone before me, all I can tell you is that I’ve spent almost a decade working in our community touching tens of thousands of lives through our charitable initiatives and I’ve done so on a shoe-string budget. We would run programs for an entire year at a time that would positively impact thousands of kids over an entire year on $10,000. I know how to stretch a dollar and respect the budget that is there in order to produce the needed results.
    There is money to be found and with my colleagues, we will find it. With ever growing needs that all submit to the Provincial funding formula. We must stop counting on a bailout and start counting on our expertise. We are the largest school board in Canada and we must continue to capitalize on this in order to address our needs. Numbers show that we are decreasing in enrolment, but no one is being innovative enough to address this key issue. Customer Service and Marketing 101 is needed at the board from the top down. Get kids back in public education! We need to show parents that your local public school has what you desire in education and is here to get your child ready for life. Like any business, marketing draws the attention and customer service keeps the relationship going. I’ll bring this fresh perspective to the TDSB board of trustees.

    2. The TDSB has been faced with a difficult decision about potentially selling school properties. To avoid this, where would you find savings in future budgets? List your top five specific priorities for savings.

    The number one issue that people seem to be concerned about is how their money is being spent. The people have paid for our schools and must remain in their hands for the community’s best interest. I do not support the selling of the family jewels.

    I also do not support cutting staff to save money as I have seen first hand the damage it causes in our school classrooms. My opponent was chair of the budget committee in 2013 when 430 EAs were cut, resulting in a heavy hit to our kids.

    There is no doubt that every government in the world faces tough economic decisions everyday. Do we sell a sixty year old building in order to have a state-of-the-art facility for our kids to attend and learn and grow in? There are no easy solutions and any politician who gives a one sentence answer to closing a school is only trying to score cheap political points. Short-term solutions have begun to impact the School Board’s reputation amongst Torontonians. The TDSB has billions of dollars in assets across Toronto. The question is “what is the overall plan over the next decade to ensure that our children have a world-class education that can compete in a global economy?”

    My top 5 priorities to find savings would be;

    -Better accountability in maintenance departments.
    -A full review of social programming in our schools.
    -Collaborating with TCDSB in joint transportation cost.
    -A full review of supplies & services.
    -Utility costs and how we can have a greener approach.

    I also support the leasing of school buildings as senior homes and child care centers. This benefits our community and assists our school board with funding. Again, when you’ve worked for a decade in the community, producing a track record of stretching and respecting every tax dollar spent, your reputation speaks for itself.

     

    3. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically for education. Is this a proposal you support?

    My ideas for public school education do not include raising taxes. The easiest solution in the world is to invent a new tax for something. I see
    education as an investment. The current proposal of a new “education tax” has not been thoroughly gamed out yet. What exactly does it mean? For who? When? etc. When I become Trustee in Scarborough East, I will be exposed to the inner workings of the board and what is actually happening. I will engage my community with these matters and communicate their feelings on the matters.

    4. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    I personally believe that how a society treats those with special needs demonstrates how compassionate and just a nation truly is. Our system has failed in this area. Addressing this issue is a full-time job and requires an established committee (not a sub committee) on the board. Each Trustee must be responsible to their constituents regarding this and make their schedule the most flexible for parents. Everyday, as School Board Trustee, I will put my mind and efforts towards those with special needs. I will establish a committee in Ward 22 and have  a thorough review of how we can do better. Also, with the establishment of this committee, we will create avenues for post-secondary opportunities for employment, learning and the wellbeing of these youth.

    5. The current board saw the TDSB deficit balloon to $109-million – it’s biggest ever. What is your plan to address this going forward?

    My opponent was budget chair during this. We have yet to see a balanced budget under the current term of Trustees. Communication and Involvement is a priority of mine once elected. Most board meetings have been happening without any sort of communication between trustees taking place prior or community input. Moving forward, I will be looking at my savings solutions, communicating with Trustees, listening to my community and pushing to implement my solution to the funding formula (Marketing/Customer Service 101).

    6. The TDSB recently estimated the cost of roof repairs to more than $2.5-million dollars. How would you ensure that necessary capital refurbishments are met within budget?

    The contracts for these jobs must be competitive just as the City of  Toronto contracts are. We do not simply just hire anyone, there must be a
    process, which has the boards best interests in keeping costs low. I will do what I’ve always done when running programs in East Toronto. I will hold every contractor accountable to the price that was quoted. I will be personally involved in all capital improvements and their oversight. Refurbishments must happen on time and not during school hours as was addressed late towards the end of the 2013/14 school year.In ten years of doing charitable work, I have never one time gone over budget and we’ve been able to impact and help tens of thousands in our area. I’ll carry this work ethic and integrity into office as School Board Trustee.

    7. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking more private investment at the TDSB?

    I think it is a great idea for private investors to partner with schools as this brings the reality of real life circumstances into effect. As long as there is no interference by the private investor in the daily operations of our schools. I hope to create more opportunities like this as Trustee for our schools in Ward 22, especially on my quest to have Sir Robert L. Borden BTI changed to the Centre of Business & Technical Institute. In doing this, I hope to attract various trade partners who wish to assist in building state of the art work stations in classrooms that will contribute to a boost of the trades. Borden is the last of the BTI’s and I am the only Trustee candidate who has a plan and is paying attention to the dire needs of the labour force.

    8. What do you think is the best approach for the TDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    This is about the children. If our children are our most precious asset as a nation, then teachers and staff need to be treated and respected as such. They are the guardians of our future and what is produced in the classroom today directly affects all of us in the years to come. Teachers understand budget constraints but they also never want to be a “political football” tossed about to score cheap political points. I have interacted with hundreds of Principles, Teachers and Administrative staff from the TDSB over the past decade. They trust me to be fair, honest and respectful. No doubt tough decisions need to be made, but I look forward to being a contributive voice at the table.

    9. In short time, the agreement between the TDSB and Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council is up for re-negotiation. Do you feel there are changes needed in the current agreement?

    - Absolutely. We cannot afford to continue down the path of overpriced services. Accountability is priority when renewing these contracts.

    10. TDSB has come under fire for ridiculous expenses – $150 to cut a key, $140 for a pencil sharpener, and a $200 toilet seat are just scratching the surface. How will you bring about a new culture that respects the budget and sees money spent wisely?

    Accountability is key. I will push for this across the board and do frequent visits to ensure our money is being spent properly. I am elected to represent the taxpayers in my community and I will work hard to see every dollar is stretched spent wisely and efficiently.

  • 1. Evidence suggests the TDSB was warned in 2006 about spending problems. Previous Chair Chris Bolton chose to ignore these warnings until his resignation. Going forward, how would you address the issue of over-spending at the school board?

    Schools are in need to more funding, however, the money seems to be spent at board level. Where are the promised efficiencies from Amalgamation of Greater Toronto Area school boards? The TDSB needs to centralize their bureaucratic positions and remove  redundancy, allowing funding to remain within schools.

    2. The TDSB has been faced with a difficult decision about potentially selling school properties. To avoid this, where would you find savings in future budgets? List your top five specific priorities for savings.

    1. If a school is up for sale, due to low enrolment, then the school should be sold  and the funds used to sustain nearby schools.
    2. Allow the custodial staff to perform general maintenance duties, which they are capable of doing. Rather than contracting it out, which is more costly.
    3. Cut down on bureaucratic redundancy at the board level.
    4. Explore innovative options for generating revenue which is not being generated currently. For instance, renting auditoriums to community groups, renting parking spots (nightly) to area residents, school permits during weekends, etc.
    5. Explore corporate sponsorship programs for school libraries, music and art programs and science departments, including corporate tax incentives for these sponsorships.

    3. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically for education. Is this a proposal you support?

    Education is an extremely important aspect to our society and our future generations. More funding is needed to ensure our students are getting an education that will allow them to serve our society in a positive and production manner. Alternative funding options need to be explored, researched and considered, including the option of a tax dedicated to education.

    4. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    I am not an expert in the area of Special Education, however, I do believe that all children have the right to an education and also have the ability to learn. I believe Special Education should be supported through the experts, who have a strong understanding of what is needed to allow each child to flourish.

    5. The current board saw the TDSB deficit balloon to $109-million – it’s biggest ever. What is your plan to address this going forward?

    There is an over abundance of duplicate bureaucratic positions. The system needs to be stream lined at the board level, rather than the school level.

    6. The TDSB recently estimated the cost of roof repairs to more than $2.5-million dollars. How would you ensure that necessary capital refurbishments are met within budget?

    It is cost effective for more than one project to be tendered as a group, however, companies bidding on projects must have a proven and demonstrated track record in the project being tendered. They must also have the manpower and funds to complete projects on time, at budget. Furthermore, there was an article in a newspaper regarding a roofing company doing a school roof that had to delay the project. It was reported that the wind was carrying the smell into a neighborhood and they had to stop until the wind subsided because the residents were upset. This cost the board additional funds, unnecessarily. If the public wants the school board to save money, they also have to be understanding.

    7. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking more private investment at the TDSB?

    Yes, if it is not a conflict of interests and values. In the case of the CFL, it is a positive collaboration because it gives students role models to look up to.

    8. What do you think is the best approach for the TDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    Collective bargaining should be respected, while keeping the deficit in mind. An option would be to explore a longer contract period, which would give the TDSB a longer period to plan and budget for.

    9. In short time, the agreement between the TDSB and Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council is up for re-negotiation. Do you feel there are changes needed in the current agreement?

    Yes, changes need to be made.

    10. TDSB has come under fire for ridiculous expenses – $150 to cut a key, $140 for a pencil sharpener, and a $200 toilet seat are just scratching the surface. How will you bring about a new culture that respects the budget and sees money spent wisely?

    The custodians are capable of basic maintenance within a school and should be given the freedom to perform these tasks. This would lower cost and create a more efficient work place environment.

  • 1. Evidence suggests the TDSB was warned in 2006 about spending problems. Previous Chair Chris Bolton chose to ignore these warnings until his resignation. Going forward, how would you address the issue of over-spending at the school board?

    I think that to address spending problems at the TDSB the first thing you need to do is actively push to change the culture of the school board when it comes to misspending and overspending. This needs to be done by getting school board trustees to show leadership on the spending front. We can do this through simply things such as changing how trustees report their expenses. I believe that at a minimal all school trustees should be reporting their expenses every 3 months and that they should also show their work or in other words provide supporting documentation for their expenses that the public can easily access. I think the TDSB can do this in a similar manner to how the city current does it (you see an expense for a trustee on their website, you click on it and it show when it was incurred and provides the member of the public with supporting documentation for that expense). I don’t think such a system would cost a great deal of money (or it shouldn’t) but it would change the culture of the board starting at the very top.
    Once you have established greater transparency on the trustee spending front I think you then need to establish some type of punishment for those trustees that are not spending taxpayer’s money responsibly. This can be done through the use of a minimal fine / interest approach where trustee that are expensing inappropriate items are fined at a minimal a certain amount and then fined per week until they repaid the full amount (my idea is to have minimal starting fines and per week fines at 1% and 1% a week with both going up 1% every time a trustee expenses another inappropriate item)

    Once trustees are held to a higher stander for their own expenses I think the next step for the school board has to start with taking a long hard look at the school boards policies as well as how it operates when it comes to whistle blowers. Although the Toronto Star did an excellent job at exposing just how bad things were in the maintenance department of the TDSB clearly things should have been discovered much sooner and my concern is that we will continue to see more and more of those type of scandals happen (where things are hidden and eventually discovered long after the damage is done) because individual board employees do not feel safe about speaking out and trustees are more interested in settling other things then taking a deeper look at areas of the school boards operations that are showing problem signs (which should be a priority).
    Once trustees are holding themselves to a higher standard in terms of their own expenses and conduct then the board should start to push for greater accountability and transparency progressively down the pyramid of command so to speak. We should take a hard look at ourselves to see if in fact as a board we are providing sufficient information to the public so they are appropriately informed as to what is happening. We also need to look at if how we are providing that information to the public and whether or not we can do that in a more effective and or efficient manner. Right now for example the TDSB’s own website can be a confusing place to navigate.
    As a board however we should also be pushing for innovation in how we operate as part of a continuous improvement type of operating culture. Therefore finding better ways to achieve our top priorities (and that save money while not having a major negative impact on how effectively we deliver services to students and others) should be openly encouraged and rewarded whenever possible.

    2. The TDSB has been faced with a difficult decision about potentially selling school properties. To avoid this, where would you find savings in future budgets? List your top five specific priorities for savings.

    I want to first make it clear that I’m not opposed to selling school properties under any circumstances. If you know that the school properties isn’t being efficiently or effectively used, demand over the long term for students in the area will in all likelihood never hit the point where you would need the school in question, you have other nearby schools that can be utilized to handle the student bodies and community needs and you either plan on using the proceeds to build newer schools in higher demand areas of the city or pay down long term debt incurred for building previous new schools then I think that selling school properties is something I would accept as something that needs to be done so that you are responsibly utilizing taxpayers assets.
    I would say the first area that I would look for savings in would be in the type of teachers working for the TDSB. Right now there are literally thousands of newly graduated teachers coming out of teachers college in Ontario that can’t find jobs in the teaching field in this province. I’d want to make sure that we are taking full advantage of these new teachers being available by making sure that we are utilizing this new generation of teachers to the fullest extent possible.
    The next area that I think we could look at would be in the school operations and maintenance area of the board. I think that given the events of the past in this area I’m still not 100% convinced that the school board has tapped out the savings that could be found in this area and I am very much open to allowing for schools to find ways to save money on maintenance where it comes through contract renegotiation or via
    encouraging less complicated repairs to be done by local staff.

    The next area I would look into would be our transportation area of the board as I want to make sure it is being utilized in an efficient and responsible manner and that the students that are using this service are good candidates for it and that other alternative forms of transportation aren’t realistic.
    The next area I would look into would be the administrative side of the board making sure that in fact that area of the board is being run responsibly and efficiently.
    Finally the last area I would look for savings in would probably be in school supplies in that as a board we spent about $169 million on school supplies in 2013 so I would want to make sure we are getting the best deal possible with the numerous companies that provide supplies.

    3. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically for education. Is this a proposal you support?

    I think as a school board we should be looking for new revenue sources. However I am an even bigger believer that before one tries to ask for more money from society and from taxpayers that you can prove that you put in a great deal of effort to be efficient and effective with the money they already send to the board every year and that you are open and transparent as to how you spent their money on a regular basis. So I would only support such a proposal as a last resort because I believe you have to justify such a proposal and show to society and taxpayers that you have in fact made a significant effort to be responsible with the money that they already gave the board.

    4. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    In short to be honest I’m not 100% sure how to address this. The special education area of the board is something that I can easily relate to as I did spend a great deal of my educational years at the TDSB as a special education student (learning disability hopefully I caught all of my spelling errors). The first part of the problem is essentially a funding one. With so many students in the special education area of the TDSB with significant challenges to overcome to be successful some of those students do require a great deal of support and resources which our board isn’t always able to provide because we are dealing with limited resources. To try and improve things I believe we need to first encourage and reward innovation especially for those students with significant challenges to try and help those students achieve a greater degree of independence whenever possible. The second things we can do as a board is also be innovative and proactive in achieving and identifying other areas within the board where we can become more efficient (without having a major impact on those we serve) so we are able to allocate more funding to areas of importance like special education.

    5. The current board saw the TDSB deficit balloon to $109-million – it’s biggest ever. What is your plan to address this going forward?

    In short deficits are a function of spending and revenues and I plan on looking to improve both areas. Given that we get a large amount of our funding directly from the province and the province is already setting on a great deal of debt (it will hit $282 billion under their latest spending plan) and on a rather large deficit amount ($12.5 billion for their latest budget) I think our board has to start budgeting in a proactive manner and that will mean that we will have to find ways to reduce our spending and improve our revenues in a manner that would take us beyond just hitting a balanced budget each year but will also allow us to prepare ourselves for when the province has to start
    making significant cuts.
    So my idea is simple, allocate at least an additional $30 million to $40 million towards paying down our debt and building up our reserves each year and at the same time have a balanced budget. To afford this we will in all likelihood have to find a way to reduce our spending and improve our revenues to fill in the now approximately $85 to 95 million financial hole (the latest figures from the TDSB from what I’ve heard shows that it’s now a $55 million deficit / financial hole figure for 2014). This will have to be done by doing uncomfortable things like not hiring as many teachers / encouraging early retirement and allowing young teacher to take on those roles, reducing spending for some programs, and so on as well as finding other areas of revenue for the school board which will be an even greater challenge. Will it be comfortable … no.
    However I believe that over the long term the provinces financial situation is a significant issue that we can’t ignore nor do I think that inaction is an acceptable approach. I realize that many parents and relatives of children want to provide them with the very best educational experience and I don’t blame them for wanting that. But I look at one of the most important roles of being a trustee as being willing to take a long term view of things, at thinking about what the long term risks / problems that the board could face and having the courage to be willing to make relatively small (in relation to our budget size) sacrifices to put the board in the best position possible to weather the storm and prepare ourselves for the long term.
    I also would like to quickly add that on the revenue front I am very open to trying to improve the boards other areas of revenue especially when it comes to fundraising and other revenue sources however revenue alone is only part of the problem and realistically I think the TDSB will have to find a way to narrow the funding gap by negotiating a better deal with teachers and other unionized staff that are directly funded in part by the province.

    6. The TDSB recently estimated the cost of roof repairs to more than $2.5-million dollars. How would you ensure that necessary capital refurbishments are met within budget?

    I think the first approach to making sure that things stay within budget is by making sure that as a board you aren’t tied down to one option, one contractor to get the job done. So if something happens and a roof repair goes over budget you do have the option to pick someone else for other similar jobs if you feel that in fact it wasn’t reasonable for the budget to have gone over. The other way to help reduce the risk of repair costs being over budget is to make sure that as a school board we have effective oversight of those projects. This means that people are being appropriate supervised (they are showing up randomly to check up on things), that the supervisor has a reasonable idea of what job they are doing and can easily identify when a contractor is in fact not doing the job properly and is willing to take action to address it.

    7. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking more private investment at the TDSB?

    I am absolutely in favour of more private investment at the TDSB as long as the terms of that private investment are reasonable and our prospective investing partner is someone we are happy to do business with.

    8. What do you think is the best approach for the TDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    Because of the long term problems down the road in regards to the provinces financial situation I think that the best approach is to try and be proactive with contract negotiations by trying to get a better deal done for the board because although it will probably mean that we run the risk of having labour disruptions (which will have a dramatic impact on students and parents) I don’t think kicking the can down the road is something we can or should continue doing. So I would be looking for a deal where at the very least any wage or benefit increase would be at or below inflation (my preference would be trying to negotiate a deal where we can over the long term reduce the funding gap to below .5%) because over the long term I think that is all we would be able to afford and we can’t keep given in to demands every time a contract comes due. I know that many people will not like me for this but sometimes you have to say to the teacher’s union enough is enough make due with a little less for the children’s sake.

    9. In short time, the agreement between the TDSB and Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council is up for re-negotiation. Do you feel there are changes needed in the current agreement?

    I think given what happened in the TDSB’s maintenance department under the pre 2013 contract I think that the TDSB could definitely improve the type of deal it could make with this particular trades council. However I have not been able to get my hands on the current or previous agreement so I can’t provide any specifics however given the prices that the TDSB was at one point paying for simple jobs I have no doubt the TDSB can do better when it comes to negotiating for a new deal.

    10. TDSB has come under fire for ridiculous expenses – $150 to cut a key, $140 for a pencil sharpener, and a $200 toilet seat are just scratching the surface. How will you bring about a new culture that respects the budget and sees money spent wisely?

    First trustees have to show strong leadership first and foremost on the expense front as I mention and discussed in your first question so to save space I will avoid coping and pasting.
    After doing that then you have to not only be aggressive in identifying waste and ridiculous expenses from upper management downwards but you have to also make sure that everyone who either works for the TDSB and or relies on the TDSB is encouraged and is able to whistle blow to the TDSB’s board without having to worry about the possibility of some type of backlash. You have to reward staff that identifies waste or more efficient ways to achieve things (without sacrificing quality in a significant manner) in a way that provides a high level of encouragement for staff to want to look for more ways to save money for the board. One of the biggest challenges especially when it comes to departmental budgeting is that it can encourage managers to not want to find legitimate ways to save money because of fears of having their budget for future periods being cut. This is something I think we do have to keep in mind. Another important part in making sure that we spend within our budget, within our means is making sure you communicate clearly and consistently to all stakeholders (parents, students, staff, taxpayers, members of the public, etc.) as to what is going on at the board level on a regular basis so that they understand things such as: what our goals are now and for the future, what our limitations are and finally why we need to stick with the plan that the board has decided on. If people know what is going on, if they understand what the long term goal of these sacrifices is then getting them to utilize their energy in a positive manner for the board is potentially easier and potentially we can use their energy to achieve more positive goals such as improving our fundraising efforts and finding better ways to operate our schools at a local and board wide level.

  • 1. Evidence suggests the TDSB was warned in 2006 about spending problems. Previous Chair Chris Bolton chose to ignore these warnings until his resignation. Going forward, how would you address the issue of over-spending at the school board?

    The 2006 consultants reports that you refer to relates primarily to spending problems related to the maintenance and construction division. The report made more than forty recommendations, however many have not been implemented and the problem of high costs still remains. Principals know the needs of their schools and should have the power and the funds to implement improvements in their schools. Examples of “overspending” revealed in the press such as $143.00 to install a pencil sharpener would not occur if real changes were introduced and recommendations acted upon.

    2. The TDSB has been faced with a difficult decision about potentially selling school properties. To avoid this, where would you find savings in future budgets? List your top five specific priorities for savings.

    The need for classrooms and location of schools change over time as neighbourhoods and demographic patterns evolve. To sell a school to raise money is a short term solution. Schools not needed today can be leased out to others and become a source of revenue. Regarding finding savings, the largest component of the budget is wages and benefits. Over the years we have seen a transfer of the power to make these decisions go to other levels of government. Local boards best know their community and should have more power in these budget matters to best meet those needs and find potential savings.

    3. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically for education. Is this a proposal you support?

    Although it sounds like a cliché, the fact is there is only one taxpayer for each level of government or tax source. The real issue isn’t whether education is funded by the municipal tax base, provincial tax, a new dedicated education tax, or some combination of various sources, however ensuring that the tax burden is shared fairly and that our tax dollars are spent wisely. Funding public education is a shared responsibility because the result of a highly educated country benefits the entire society.

    4. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    An equitable educational system doesn’t mean that money is spent equally in each area but that resources are directed by need to create equal opportunities and outcomes. As the largest school board in Canada the TDSB serves a diverse student population of various backgrounds, circumstances, needs and abilities. Policies and expenditures must be in place to meet the needs of all students to avoid any child being left behind or “falling through the cracks”.

    5. The current board saw the TDSB deficit balloon to $109-million – it’s biggest ever. What is your plan to address this going forward?

    Budget planning must not only take into account current day to day needs but should include long term planning to ensure that funds are in place for predictable future needs. Greater stability and knowledge of the provincial governments portion would help in this process. Proper planning now will prevent situations that you reference such as the large deficit of a few years ago to avoid drastic cuts occurring in the future.

    6. The TDSB recently estimated the cost of roof repairs to more than $2.5-million dollars. How would you ensure that necessary capital refurbishments are met within budget?

    It is not unusual for the cost to maintain a school over it’s lifespan to exceed the initial cost of building that school in the first place. It should not come as a surprise to trustees that at some point parking lots have to be repaved, heating systems, roofed etc. need to be replaced and so on. Boards on condominium housing corporations know this and plan accordingly and school boards must provide that same long term planning to provide these services at the best possible price as required.

    7. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking more private investment at the TDSB?

    I believe in the African proverb “that it takes an entire village to raise a child”. Partnership arrangements of various types can always be explored and implemented if it is found that they benefit our students and the community at large.

    8. What do you think is the best approach for the TDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    I hope my style and approach will be positive. Regardless of the direction that negotiations go I would always be respectful to others and I would not want to see a situation as is currently the case in British Columbia where students have not returned to school this year due to unresolved contract negotiations.

    9. In short time, the agreement between the TDSB and Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council is up for re-negotiation. Do you feel there are changes needed in the current agreement?

    It would not be responsible to comment on changes to an agreement that I have not had the opportunity to study in detail. Since the current contract is already in place the question you ask is academic, for you cannot make changes to a current agreement, you can only change the next one . If I am honoured to be the next trustee, I will examine the current agreement carefully, do my homework, and make positive recommendations for the next contract that will be fair to all parties.

    10. TDSB has come under fire for ridiculous expenses – $150 to cut a key, $140 for a pencil sharpener, and a $200 toilet seat are just scratching the surface. How will you bring about a new culture that respects the budget and sees money spent wisely?

    I do not come from a position of power or privilege. I do not have an entitlement attitude and everything I have achieved in life has been obtained though my own efforts, hard work, attitude and tenacity. I know how hard people work to make a living, and I will be responsible with the taxpayers money just as I am with my own. I too am a taxpayer. People are concerned over the findings of the recent internal audit report regarding Trustees discretionary spending. I hope that others see the importance of money spent on education as an investment where we all benefit. I’d like for thenew culture to view and see things for the long term and plan for the a better future.

 

2014 TDSB Election: Ward 10 – Trinity-Spadina

The Incumbent:

Briony Glassco

The Race

Richard Klagsbrun’s answers were very specific and addressed all issues, and he proposed unique and detailed solutions such as analyzing the value of TDSB conferences and alternative schools, forensic audits of expenses, and contracting out some services while still giving careful thought to the issue of students with special needs. Sabrina Zuniga’s solution for special needs students showed some careful thought.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate:  Tony Aires, Ybia Anderson, Hans Bathija, Kenneth Chan, Colleen Kennedy, Ausma Malik, Michael Sims

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Klagsbrun, Richard Amalgamate underused schools, make trustee expenses public, review the use of alternative schools, video learning at home for students
    Zuniga, Sabrina Did not answer this specific question, See Full Response

  • Candidate Response
    Klagsbrun, Richard 1) reduce Administration expenses, 2)  end conferences which provide no benefit to the students 3) tendering of contracts and examining outsourcing of some services, 4) finding more public-private partnerships 5)reducing Trustee expenses.
    Zuniga, Sabrina Applying for permit should be done online

  • Candidate Response
    Klagsbrun, Richard  No
    Zuniga, Sabrina  No

  • Candidate Response
    Klagsbrun, Richard More specified training of teachers and specific assessments needed, especially for students with dyslexia
    Zuniga, Sabrina Better communication from year to year, focus on hiring and attracting more competent individuals

  • Candidate Response
    Klagsbrun, Richard See Answers 1-5
    Zuniga, Sabrina Public private partnerships, but only for solar panels on roofs and sports facilities

  • Candidate Response
    Klagsbrun, Richard Tender out contracts and use more City/TDSB and private/public partnerships
    Zuniga, Sabrina Did not answer this specific question, See Full Response

  • Candidate Response
    Klagsbrun, Richard Will consider
    Zuniga, Sabrina Will Consider

  • Candidate Response
    Klagsbrun, Richard Only wage increases that TDSB can afford- teachers are very well paid comparatively
    Zuniga, Sabrina Talk with province and other school boards

  • Candidate Response
    Klagsbrun, Richard No
    Zuniga, Sabrina Did not answer this specific question, See Full Response

  • Candidate Response
    Klagsbrun, Richard Regular forensic audits and more transparency
    Zuniga, Sabrina Did not answer this specific question, See Full Response

 

The full responses

  • 1. Evidence suggests the TDSB was warned in 2006 about spending problems. Previous Chair Chris Bolton chose to ignore these warnings until his resignation. Going forward, how would you address the issue of over-spending at the school board?

    I believe there are a number of cost-saving approaches that the TDSB can employ to reduce waste and improve the education experience for its students. With a decline in enrollment, there are some under-utilized schools in the Board, some of which can be amalgamated into one location. A study of long-term needs can determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether the space made available by such amalgamation should result in making it available for lease to the private sector where possible (e.g. private school use, etc.) The Board also needs to pay close attention to audits and reduce waste and overspending. Trustee junkets at the taxpayers’ expense are often an abuse of public funds and Trustee expenses should be made completely public and closely scrutinized. We also need a review of the way TDSB funds are utilized for Alternative Schools, some of which are highly politicized and drain expenses while not serving the best needs of the public. I have also proposed expanding the utilization of Sal Khan’s teaching methods which utilize lessons on video which students can review at home at their own time and at their own pace, which makes classroom time available for the students to receive clarification on their specific needs with regards to those lessons. This method, over time and with improved technology that is expected in the coming years, may allow for more remote learning for many students, reducing some physical space needs and expenses for the Board.

    2. The TDSB has been faced with a difficult decision about potentially selling school properties. To avoid this, where would you find savings in future budgets? List your top five specific priorities for savings.

    My five priorities for savings at the Board are 1) reducing Administration expenses, 2) bringing an end to certain conferences that the TDSB conducts at significant expense which are of no real benefit to the students or teachers in the Board, 3) Reducing maintenance costs through tendering of contracts and examining outsourcing of some services, 4) finding more public-private partnerships 5)reducing Trustee expenses.

    3. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically for education. Is this a proposal you support?

    I am completely opposed to a dedicated education tax. Property taxes were in large measure supposed to be used for Education funding until much of that formula changed due to ill-advised reforms imposed by the Harris government. So a dedicated Education Tax would in effect be a piling-on tax burden on Toronto taxpayers caused by an inability of the Provincial and Municipal governments, plus the TDSB, to live within their means. Governments need to learn to allocate their resources properly rather than place additional burdens on citizens because of their inability to do so, and our current political leadership’s inability to do that is a compelling argument for replacing them.

    4. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    Special education in the TDSB has enormous room for improvement. As it stands, students with different challenges and requirements are placed together in special ed classes, which inhibits the learning of all. Teachers need to receive specific training in the different types of needs for students identified with learning disabilities. Dyslexia in particular is a matter which is widespread throughout the board and requires improvements in teacher training. Students with dyslexia have difficulty decoding but possess equal if not better intellectual abilities to their peers, but require different teaching methods and can in fact be taught to find ways to adapt so that their reading skills match or exceed those of other students.

    5. The current board saw the TDSB deficit balloon to $109-million – it’s biggest ever. What is your plan to address this going forward?

    I believe the cost-saving measures I have proposed and which can be found in the answers above will, if utilized, make significant headway in addressing the TDSB’s budget deficit.

    6. The TDSB recently estimated the cost of roof repairs to more than $2.5-million dollars. How would you ensure that necessary capital refurbishments are met within budget?

    We have to tender out contracts and employ more public private-partnerships to both reduce expenses and address the shortfall in funds. The Board can also cooperate with the City of Toronto to a much greater extent to utilize available municipal funds. The TDSB seems irrationally averse to some City/TDSB partnerships which would help mitigate expenses, and the Board has a poor track-record of
    following through on them.

    7. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking more private investment at the TDSB?

    In certain instances, I absolutely do support more public/private cooperation for the Board, including more access to technology for students sponsored by private enterprise.

    8. What do you think is the best approach for the TDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    The Board needs to indicate that it appreciates and supports teachers and staff, but must be firm in establishing that it must live within its budget, so any wage increases must be kept within amounts the TDSB can afford. Ontario teachers have pension funds which are among the wealthiest in the world and that fact needs to be considered in contract negotiations.

    9. In short time, the agreement between the TDSB and Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council is up for re-negotiation. Do you feel there are changes needed in the current agreement?

    When the contract between the TDSB and Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council expires, it must be placed for an open tender that includes private contractors. I do not believe the current contract serves the best interests of the Board nor the taxpayers who finance it.

    10. TDSB has come under fire for ridiculous expenses – $150 to cut a key, $140 for a pencil sharpener, and a $200 toilet seat are just scratching the surface. How will you bring about a new culture that respects the budget and sees money spent wisely?​

    The culture in place currently at the TDSB is shameful in many regards, and waste of public funds is one among many serious issues which need to be addressed. Trustees must be held more accountable for personal expenses, and for votes which see public expenses wasted in the schools. We need regular audits, including the possibility of a forensic audit of the TDSB, and more transparency of how TDSB funds are spent, including making public all Board spending that can legally be made available through the TDSB website.

  • 2. The TDSB has been faced with a difficult decision about potentially selling school properties. To avoid this, where would you find savings in future budgets? List your top five specific priorities for savings.

    I know there are places in the budget where cost savings can be found, but I have not had the opportunity to examine the budget line-for-line, so I can’t say where exactly. What I can do is offer an example of recent cost savings the board is putting in place. The board will be moving some services such as applying for a permit to an online format, and other simple interfaces like this will move to use modern technology. I believe more example can be found like this.

    3. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically for education. Is this a proposal you support?

    I can state easily that I do not support a new tax for education.

    4. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    The issues around special education are varied and nuanced. I could speak too long to that. I will say that one problem the board has is hiring qualified individuals for assessments and student support because the individuals qualified make a lot more money working outside the school system. We need to find ways to assess students accurately and in a timely fashion, and this is something I am committed to doing. We also need to help teachers and staff as much as possible with, not just the extra staff they need, but better communication with parents, so for instance, a parent does not feel like each school year is a new start with the need to explain yet again the issues of their student(s). Communication is a key part of my platform.

    5. The current board saw the TDSB deficit balloon to $109-million – it’s biggest ever. What is your plan to address this going forward?

    With regards to the TDSB balancing it’s budget. Yes, I believe that is an important part of the job of trustee. I would only consider public/private partnerships where they have a direct impact such as the plan to resurface roofs to put up solar panels, and the plan to create championship playing fields for our students on a year-round basis. I don’t want to see stadiums or buildings renamed with a company name, for instance, as has been happening in sports stadiums around North America. The students should notice greater services and safe, clean buildings, but not company signs.

    7. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking more private investment at the TDSB?

    I also believe we need to consider public/public partnerships. The levels of government need to work together to bring services to students, especially those in the low-income category who would otherwise have to travel to another location in the city for the services they are needing. Our schools can and should be community hubs.

    8. What do you think is the best approach for the TDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    With regards to union contract negotiations. As you know, the provincial government has taken the bulk of this away from school boards. This does not mean I would give up trying to make sure costs for standard items are reasonable. I would talk with the province and keep lines of communication open with other school boards and the province.

Amalgamation Report Supports Toronto Taxpayers Coalition’s 2013 Findings

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The Toronto Taxpayers Coalition says it’s not surprised by a recent study which found that since amalgamation Ontario local governments have been getting bigger.

The analysis from Western University professor Timothy Cobban indicates government grew by 23.9% in the 15 years leading up to amalgamation from 1981-1996, while In the 15 years after amalgamation, government grew by a staggering 38.8%.

“This shows the answer to big government isn’t amalgamation, it’s determination”, says TTC spokesman Matthew McGuire. “Toronto needs elected leaders determined to cut costs, slash red tape and reduce the size and scope of government.”

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Recent Poll Confirms Taxpayers Coalition Stance

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The Toronto Taxpayers Coalition says a recent Ipsos Reid poll, which indicates Torontonians still support Mayor Rob Ford’s fiscally conservative agenda, confirms what the group has been saying for months.

“The poll shows 62% of Torontonians back Ford’s fiscal agenda,” says Coalition spokesman Matthew McGuire. “As we have been saying all along, voters still remember what the city was like under David Miller, and they clearly do not want to go back to those days of fiscally irresponsibility.”

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City Plays Musical Chairs With Taxpayers’ Money

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Toronto Taxpayers Coalition is fuming mad after learning from a Toronto Sun report that city officials purchased 30 designer chairs for City Hall at a cost of almost $75,000. The chairs adorn the members’ lounge where councillors often hold private meetings.

“This is completely unacceptable,” said coalition spokesman Matthew McGuire. “Why is the city playing musical chairs with taxpayers’ money?”

The coalition wants to ensure whoever approved this purchase is held accountable.

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Coalition Kicks Off Social Media Campaign Highlighting Adam Vaughan’s Lies

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Toronto Taxpayers Coalition has unveiled a new social media campaign aimed at holding Adam Vaughan accountable for a series of lies he told in the council chamber during the July meeting. The advertising campaign comes a day after the coalition unveiled a new poster, accusing Vaughan of hiding behind protection granted during council debates in order to mislead voters and deliberately spread several misrepresentations of the truth.

“Since Adam Vaughan won’t apologize for the lies we’ve identified, we’ve decided to take our case to the public and let taxpayers come to their own conclusions,” said coalition president Matthew McGuire. “It’s important for people to know the truth.”

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Adam Vaughan Is A Liar: Toronto Taxpayers Coalition

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Toronto Taxpayers Coalition has come out and called Adam Vaughan “a liar”.

The coalition’s accusation stems from comments Vaughan made during a debate on Thursday July 18th at City Council. At the meeting, Adam Vaughan alleged the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition submitted a petition which included the signatures of people who “didn’t even exist”.

“Anyone who reviews the transcripts will come to the same conclusion – Adam Vaughan lied,” stated coalition president Matthew McGuire. “Adam Vaughan made a calculated decision to hide behind the protection granted by speaking during a council debate to tell several lies and avoid scrutiny from the Integrity Commissioner. Adam Vaughan is an out-and-out liar.”

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Adam Vaughan Must Apologize For Another Likely Breach Of Code Of Conduct

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Toronto Taxpayers Coalition is again calling on Councillor Adam Vaughan to apologize – this time for remarks he made on Thursday July 18th in the council chambers. Failing to do so, a Formal Complaint will be filed with the Office of the Integrity Commissioner.

During a debate on an item CC37.2 Petition to Redivide Ward Boundaries, Councillor Vaughan rose to vilify the membership-based community group that brought the item forward.

“During a council meeting, Councillor Vaughan accused us of having people who ‘didn’t even exist’ sign a petition. This is completely false and defamatory,” said coalition spokesman Matthew McGuire.

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