Incumbent Trustee Poplawski has had some ups and downs on the board. Sadly, she refused to participate in our survey, but here is what one of her challengers, Edith Pearsons, had to say.
Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Barbara Poplawski, Ralph Tassone
Candidate Response Pearson, Edith Yes, from Canadian companies only Candidate Response Pearson, Edith Be pragmatic: consider student to staff ratios and outsourcing special education and provide vouchers to parents. Candidate By submitted surveys to constituents to fill out Pearson, Edith Answer Candidate Response Pearson, Edith No Candidate Response Pearson, Edith Will consider Candidate Response Pearson, Edith The culture has changed Candidate Response Pearson, Edith Consider student to staff ratios and outsourcing special education and provide vouchers to parents. Candidate Response Pearson, Edith An RFP must always be put out for services the board needs. Candidate Response Pearson, Edith Union demands must be met with financial and educational reality Candidate Response Pearson, Edith Yes
The full responses
1. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking private investment at the TCDSB?
I support seeking canadian organizations only to support the school boards. I would accept a partnership with the Canadian Football league, but not with Nissan.
2. What ideas do you have to address the budget challenges that the TCDSB faces?
We need to be pragmatic.Leasing some of our surplus properties is one idea. Also, we spend 18 millions more than we should in special education programs and staff. We need to either look at the staffing ratio for some students, or to try to outsource special education and to provide vouchers to parents.
3. How will you foster and engage school communities and ratepayers at large?
I will go to CSAC meetings and send out surveys. I will also support CPIC which is an organization dedicated to involve parents.
4. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically to education. Is this a proposal you support?
No, absolutely not. I would like to work with the ministry to change the rules regarding the fundraising initiatives for our schools.
5. TCDSB has debated and budgeted for an ombudsman. Do you – and will you support this important initiative?
I do not know enough about the role of an ombudsman. I is probably a good thing if he/she can save taxpayers money.
6. Do you believe the culture among TCDSB Trustees has changed after a spending scandal that saw Trustees expense gold jewellry, trips, university tuition, personalized licence plates and lingerie, among other things? If not how will you change this culture?
I believe that the trustees do not spend as much as they used to. I would have voted against a trip to Florida (to attend a catholic education conference.) I support the objection that the director of education made before the motion was carried last spring.
7. 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 wrote about it in question 2:
We need to either look at the staffing ratio for some students, or to try to outsource special education and to provide vouchers to parents.
8. What are your ideas on how we can reduce the cost of administration and governance at TCDSB?
We need to look at the waste of paper. We also need to look at the RFP sent out for services provided to the board. We should look at the whole process of “Board approved suppliers.” I do not know what the discrepancy between the government funding and the real cost of administration is, but I am willing to look into it.
9. What do you think is the best approach for the TCDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?
I believe that the goal of the unions is to hire more staff with pay increase higher than the inflation rate. This approach needs to change, the concept of permanent positions for teachers need to change as well.
10. TCDSB is in the process of developing a parent/student bill of rights. What do you view as one of the most important rights in education for parents and students? Will you support this initiative?
I am a member of this ad hoc committee. Do I need to say more?