2014 TCDSB Election: Ward 12 – Scarborough

The Incumbent:

Nancy Crawford

The Race

All candidates want to look for savings, with some providing more specifics than others. Mr. Nutter stands out with a 3-point plan to address failures in special education that was perhaps the best answer to this question from candidates in all TCDSB ward races. Be sure to read the full survey responses in this ward for some great ideas!

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Ace Yes
    Corpuz, Paulina Yes
    Crawford, Nancy Yes
    Nevins-Selvadurai, Ronald Yes
    Nutter, Ryan Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Ace Private investment and austerity
    Corpuz, Paulina Find efficiencies that don't compromise educational quality and seek further funding from province
    Crawford, Nancy Look for opportunities to reduce expenses
    Nevins-Selvadurai, Ronald Fight for more grants
    Nutter, Ryan Find efficiencies in non-educational revenues, and maximize external grants and partnerships


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Ace Parents must always be involved
    Corpuz, Paulina Transparency, engagement, accessibility and visibility
    Crawford, Nancy Engaging our community members is an essential aspect of good governance.
    Nevins-Selvadurai, Ronald Open dialogue with school communities and ratepayers
    Nutter, Ryan Will engage community through traditional means and will also utilize technology


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Ace No
    Corpuz, Paulina No
    Crawford, Nancy Will consider
    Nevins-Selvadurai, Ronald No
    Nutter, Ryan No


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Ace Yes
    Corpuz, Paulina Yes
    Crawford, Nancy Yes
    Nevins-Selvadurai, Ronald Yes
    Nutter, Ryan Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Ace The culture has changed
    Corpuz, Paulina Finance changes have been made but it takes time to change the culture
    Crawford, Nancy The culture has changed
    Nevins-Selvadurai, Ronald Save unnecessary expenditure
    Nutter, Ryan Will lead by example in posting expenses online and disclosing to constituents


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Ace Taking advice from experts and parents
    Corpuz, Paulina All stakeholders must play a role
    Crawford, Nancy More funding from the province
    Nevins-Selvadurai, Ronald Community participation
    Nutter, Ryan Has a concrete, three point plan


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Ace Detailed examination of the expenditures
    Corpuz, Paulina Find efficiencies on budgetary line items
    Crawford, Nancy Administration has already been reduced
    Nevins-Selvadurai, Ronald Eliminate unnecessary expenses
    Nutter, Ryan Look into shared back-office space with the City of Toronto or to create a sharing partnership with other boards, and by conducting routine audits


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Ace A diplomatic approach
    Corpuz, Paulina Collective bargaining is in place
    Crawford, Nancy A positive approach
    Nevins-Selvadurai, Ronald Involve parents and teachers
    Nutter, Ryan Emphasize to all sides that children are the most important part of the negotiations


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Ace Yes
    Corpuz, Paulina Yes
    Crawford, Nancy Yes
    Nevins-Selvadurai, Ronald Yes
    Nutter, Ryan 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?

    With tight budgets these days, I support private investment with the cost of organized sports, subject of course to strict limitations, For example, private investment may invest in TCDSB organized sports programs, but limited only to “naming rights” and/or sponsorships, among others teams, events and/or facilities.

    2. What ideas do you have to address the budget challenges that the TCDSB faces?

    As already mentioned in my response to item #1, budget challenges in the TCDSB may be remedied, among others, by sponsorship programs and pro-rated austere measures on budgeted items. 

    3. How will you foster and engage school communities and ratepayers at large?

    In any organization, involvement by stakeholders needs serious campaign by the board. In the school environment, the TCDSB Board must effect ways and means within which to make the stakeholders understand the importance of their involvement and participation. For example, as a communicator, I can lead a communication campaign to instill in the hearts and minds of parents and students that whatever we, as a community, do at the moment will impact our future. It is a said that the youth is our future, I say this having observed from several of my participation in workshops of CSAC (Catholic School Advisory Council) that most parents leave the education and school activities of their children to teachers (the parents being, or prefer to engage more in making a living). Parents, as the first educators of every child, must therefore continue to be involved in their children’s education.

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

    No, I don’t support this proposal; and the reason is that, the current system of apportionment of the public’s tax dollars between the public and Catholic school systems in the province, is in itself a tax dedicated for education.  I am certain that the next four-year term of those who will be elected in the October 27, 2014 will reveal a lot more during deliberation on various matters. Depending on the exigencies of the times in the next term, if at all, I would support only an increase in the tax dollar rate going to Catholic education within city of my territorial jurisdiction.  

    5. TCDSB has debated and budgeted for an ombudsman. Do you – and will you support this important initiative?

    An independently-minded advocate is always necessary for a fair assessment and adjudication of any conflict affecting two, or three parties in a case, or situation. I would support such an initiative, subject to limitation to the stages of appeal that a losing party may have in a case, such as those affecting questions of fact and/or law.

    6. Do you believe the culture among TCDSB Trustees has changed after a spending scandal that saw Trustees expense gold jewelry, trips, university tuition, personalized licence plates and lingerie, among other things? If not how will you change this culture?

    People learn from their own mistakes, as well as those committed by others, serving them lessons to reckon with in the future. I believe that the culture has changed. While needless to cite here, the situation described in the question resulted from the wrong people having been elected to the TCDSB Board, hence, this early, Catholic education ratepayers must keep sharp eyes on who they elect to their TCDSB system. They must see to it t hat candidates who have good values must be elected. 

    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?

    During the initial days after I filed my nomination as Trustee for the TCDSB, my attention was drawn into this matter by a parent who has dedicated her life, even resigning from work — and totally abdicated her banking career, her child needing attention, thus, requiring special education. To a certain degree, she has succeeded to include special education among the thrusts that the public school system must pay attention to. Meanwhile, on Friday, August 29, 2014, an advocate of special education phoned me to discuss, among other things, the need for closer attention on special education. At the same time, this advocate – who holds a Ph. D. and specializes in this specific field and diversity, offered his expertise to me on the subject by way of an Adviser. I will utilize his expertise, as well as the mother, whom I cited earlier on, as well interest groups on special education, in tackling this issue at hand.

    8. What are your ideas on how we can reduce the cost of administration and governance at TCDSB?

    Reduction in the cost of administration and governance in any organization needs detailed examination of the expenditures. The same is true when applied to the TCDSB. I am certain that as I look into figures after my hopeful and prayerful election to the office that I seek for, much will be revealed to me. I do not want to say anything here and pointing at specifics in the absence of date before me at the moment. However, this questionnaire – in number 6 on top, already mentioned the luxuries described by some Trustee; and such is one area where it will definitely reduce administrative and governance costs.

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

    In any bargaining, a diplomatic approach is always the best course, explaining and communicating very well with the union the rationality of its demands as against budget vs. allocations, revenue vs. expense and everything. Hostility will not do any party any good for it will only result to disruptions in services – foremost the education of our young children.

    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 will support such initiative, why not? For me, there is no item in such bill of rights more important than the other, or others. We must take note, however, that the Bill of Rights for parents and students will only be an adjunct to those already enshrined in the Bill of Rights under the fundamental law of the land – the Constitution Act, 1982. The Bill of Rights, as outlined in the Constitution Act of 1982, encompasses all civil rights in quasi-judicial (administrative, such as those before the TCDSB) and judicial (civil and criminal courts) of Canada, thus, any bill of rights in other documents is already embraced in such. All that is necessary is the interpretation to the legal provision. For purposes, however, of specific application to the needs of parents and students, there is no harm in duplicating the same, subject to the exception that no provision of the bill of rights being developed by TCDSB runs counter to those provided in the fundamental law.   

  • 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?

    My priority is to protect Catholic schools and Catholic education. I will work to ensure that Catholics schools provide an education that will nurture our Christian Catholic faith, reflect our Catholic teachings while supporting academic achievement of our children and youth. I have nothing against private investments at the TCDSB as long as these organizations’ intent is consistent with the vision, mission and objectives of TCDSB and does NOT compromise it.

    2. What ideas do you have to address the budget challenges that the TCDSB faces?

    Public education is a Right. It is the government’s responsibility to support public education. I will support cost efficiency measures that will not compromise the quality of education of children and youth. I will support asking additional support from all levels of government from more funding for special education, daycare services, enhancement programs to youth and family support services.

    3. How will you foster and engage school communities and ratepayers at large?

    Foster engagement through transparency, engagement, accessibility and visibility. As trustee, I will be more accessible and visible to my constituents; to be more open and accountable; to explore all possible and acceptable venues of communication (email, text, calls, and online social media) within the resources provided; and, to provide for more opportunities for parental engagement and maximizing funds offered by the Board and the all levels of government. Work with the Board of Trustees, the City and the Province to overhaul existing parent engagement programs to implement a better way to reach out parents and the community.

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

    Personally, I do not support creating new taxes or adding more taxes to the common citizens of Toronto. I believe that public education is a right and if education of our children is a priority of the government, the government will make it possible to allocate more resources for education. My priority is to ensure that Catholics schools provide an education that will nurture our Christian Catholic faith, reflect our Catholic teachings while supporting academic achievement
    of our children and youth. Good quality education for our children must be the top priority of the government and it should reflect this in the budget allocations.

    5. TCDSB has debated and budgeted for an ombudsman. Do you – and will you support this important initiative?

    I support having an independent and impartial body to help in conflict resolution. I have to be certain that this is for the maximum and optimal benefit of the children and youth; that no other more important priority is compromised; that this is not a Band-Aid solution to a multitude of primary issues; or a pretext to provide an image of accountability and responsiveness for the Board of Trustees. An ombudsman’s office requires resource. Is this resource more importantly spent on another priority like transportation, repair and maintenance or special education?

    6. Do you believe the culture among TCDSB Trustees has changed after a spending scandal that saw Trustees expense gold jewelry, trips, university tuition, personalized licence plates and lingerie, among other things? If not how will you change this culture?

    It seems that a change has happened in how finances were managed after a two year provincial supervision in 2008. I am not sure about the culture. It takes time to determine if the change happened within the organization. Also is the balancing of the budget serving the constituency better or was it balanced for the sake of a balanced budget?”

    The parents’ and the community’s strong involvement in the affairs of the TCDSB would be an effective monitoring mechanism – a check and balance. It will foster accountability and build trust. It is important to engage and empower parents through information, communication and consultation.

    Trustees are elected by the people. A trustee should be the role model of the community and act with the highest integrity and professionalism.

    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?

    Bring all stakeholders to review the current special education program; understand what is working and what is not working; identify the problem(s); and, agree on how best it is will be implemented. I know we can never satisfy 100% all the stakeholders all the time. Special education and special needs are important issues that need attention. The measure of a good organization is reflected on how it takes care of their most vulnerable persons and groups in the
    organization. There is a saying from my culture, “We are in this together, and no one left behind”.

    8. What are your ideas on how we can reduce the cost of administration and governance at TCDSB?

    Find efficiency in the line items of the budget and on business processes and procedures. Budget variances should be properly explained and assessed based on actual results. Advocate for responsible spending and timely reporting of expenses. Engage the parents and community on how to best support TCDSB in these matters.

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

    Collective bargaining is already in place. I value everyone’s contribution in our work to making Catholic education responsive to the needs of the children, youth and the community. I believe that most of the community stakeholders share in the value of Catholic education for our children and youth and I pray that we will come to a common agreement to make it happen.

    A comprehensive plan and program should be developed to achieve balance acceptable to all parties concerned. Keep the lines of communication open to pave way for a meaningful and positive negotiation results.

    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 support the initiative. In addition to the Bill of Rights in our constitution, I believe that parents must have access to information and access to principals, trustees and teachers, at all levels; that parents must be informed on matters relevant to their children’s education; that parents are the first educators of their children and a such must be consulted; and that parents are partners in growing and strengthening the Christian Catholic values of their children. Children have the right to a high quality of Catholic education; to have a safe, secure and healthy learning environment; to have adequate resources and tools to succeed; to have access to after-school services and programs that will complement the formation of their faith and learn about their Catholic teachings and other academic support.

  • 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 partnerships with appropriate external organizations. The TCDSB partnership office is continually looking for suitable opportunities. I want our students to have the best possible educational experience for their own growth and the betterment of our communities. Budget dollars are always limited so partnering with external companies encourages these companies to support the development of their future employees and fortify the future society in Ontario.

    2. What ideas do you have to address the budget challenges that the TCDSB faces?

    Public funds always need to be carefully managed. The TCDSB CFO and the financial services staff along with the Board of Trustees continually look for opportunities to reduce expenses through partnering with other School Boards to make bulk purchases, through consolidating programs where possible and through active review of how we spend the money. I am Vice Chair this year of the Budget committee and we have worked diligently to do this review.

    3. How will you foster and engage school communities and ratepayers at large?

    Engaging our community members is an essential aspect of good governance. I worked initially with two other Trustees and then all Trustees and staff to develop a community engagement policy that respected every person’s contribution and the School Board’s need to hear from our ratepayers. In school communities, I am present as often as possible and work hard to ensure that they have the tools and resources that they need to succeed.

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

    Education and Health Care are Ontario’s two greatest budget allocations. I am open to consider alternatives.

    5. TCDSB has debated and budgeted for an ombudsman. Do you – and will you support this important initiative?

    I have supported this initiative in my recent voting. The Ontario government has expanded the scope of the Ontario ombudsman to include education. It may be prudent for the TCDSB to review the decision to budget for an ombudsman given this new development. What is of great importance is that all stakeholder concerns be heard and responded to and resolved as positively as possible in a fair and equitable manner.

    6. Do you believe the culture among TCDSB Trustees has changed after a spending scandal that saw Trustees expense gold jewelry, trips, university tuition, personalized licence plates and lingerie, among other things? If not how will you change this culture?

    Yes, the financial culture among TCDSB Trustees is now one of fiscal responsibility and accountability.

    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?

    The TCDSB spends more than 19 million on our Special Needs budget than we are given by the Ministry of Education. We provide our special needs students with the best education and supports that we possibly can. We continue to advocate to the Ministry for a review of Special Needs allocations for all Boards.

    8. What are your ideas on how we can reduce the cost of administration and governance at TCDSB?

    The administration allocation has already been reduced by the Ministry. The Trustees reduced the Trustee expenses budget last June.

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

    A positive one. The TCDSB will be working with the other Catholic Boards in Ontario through the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association, our bargaining agent, to negotiate respectful and just agreements with our partner associations and unions.

    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?​

    Yes, I support this bill of rights. Parents are the first educators of their children, they have a right to be an equal partner with the school and the Parish Church in the education of their children. Children have a right to a safe and encouraging learning environment with leading edge educational practices and excellent teachers. Children are full participants in their own learning and development.

  • 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?

    Yes but I need to have more discussion on the details on the type of investment.

    2. What ideas do you have to address the budget challenges that the TCDSB faces?

    I will fight for more grants from the government to the catholic school to the challenges that TCDSB faces

    3. How will you foster and engage school communities and ratepayers at large?

    I will have an open dialogue with the school communities and ratepayers.

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

    I will not support the bill if it will cause additional burden on the taxpayer.

    5. TCDSB has debated and budgeted for an ombudsman. Do you – and will you support this important initiative?

    Yes I will support the TCDSB for an ombudsman.

    6. Do you believe the culture among TCDSB Trustees has changed after a spending scandal that saw Trustees expense gold jewelry, trips, university tuition, personalized licence plates and lingerie, among other things? If not how will you change this culture?

    My vision is to save unnecessary expenditure by the TCDSB Trustees. I will initiate for a ceiling on the expenditure incurred by Trustees and bring about greater accountability to the school system.

    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 will bring about a community participation system through a Parent Teacher’s Association.

    8. What are your ideas on how we can reduce the cost of administration and governance at TCDSB?

    I will analyze all expenses made by the TCDSB administration and eliminate unnecessary expenses.

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

    I will advocate the creation of Parent teachers Association to discuss the upcoming contract negotiations to arrive at a solution to settle their demands.

    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 will champion for the creation of parent/student bill of rights. I will also fight for the children with special needs by ensuring they receive the resources they need to succeed for their education

  • 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?

    Co-curricular activities are an important element that adds to the richness of the school experience for all students. Any organization that is willing to provide fiduciary support to schools should be welcome as long as their motives do not clash with or compromise the values of the school.

    2. What ideas do you have to address the budget challenges that the TCDSB faces?

    There are two major steps I would take to address the budget challenges that the TCDSB faces. Firstly, I would look at the non-education revenue to determine where inefficiencies can be found and eliminated. Secondly, I would maximize external grant and partnership opportunities, while also ensuring that programs and department activities are evaluated not on philosophical lines or by repeating what we have always done, but instead by determining what drives value and ultimately has the most impact.

    3. How will you foster and engage school communities and ratepayers at large?

    It is 2014 and we now have technology that makes it easy for anyone in the public to engage in the important discourse of education. I plan to use social media as well as other traditional means of communication to keep all ratepayers involved. It is also important to communicate in the predominant languages of the schools and to list ways, small and large, that ratepayers can become actively involved in their school communities.

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

    In short, no, I don’t believe that we need a special tax for education because the current funding model that is in place is sufficient. Our main priority should be to ensure that we spend those dollars in a responsible manner. Being responsible with taxpayer’s money also means that we must explore every possible funding resource that is currently available to us. For example, since Toronto is a growing city, the TCDSB is entitled to Education Development Charges (EDCs). EDCs are a funding model that provide grants to eligible school boards to cover the costs of constructing and furnishing new schools but these are limited to land purchases only. Through a change in legislation, we could expand the current EDC guidelines to be used for capital projects as well, which would make a significant contribution to ensuring that we have adequate and up-to-date facilities, thus eliminating the need for a special tax

    5. TCDSB has debated and budgeted for an ombudsman. Do you – and will you support this important initiative?

    Yes! One of my campaign promises is to support this initiative. I believe that ratepayers deserve transparency and access to an impartial, objective and independent third party in the form of an ombudsman.

    6. Do you believe the culture among TCDSB Trustees has changed after a spending scandal that saw Trustees expense gold jewelry, trips, university tuition, personalized licence plates and lingerie, among other things? If not how will you change this culture?

    A lot has happened since the 2008 forensic audit that revealed trustee misspending at the TCDSB. Today however, I would argue that the TCDSB is now one of the most transparent boards in Ontario with respect to trustee expenses. I will continue the trend of posting all of my expenses online as well as regular disclosure to constituents. This shift in transparency and culture needs to be extended throughout the entire organization, especially with respect to tax dollars as a whole.

    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 have a three point plan to address the failures in special education. They include:

    1. Early identification and intervention for struggling students.
    2. Increased access to assistive technology.
    3. Centralise, better coordination and communication amongst support staff, as the current fragmented system is only exacerbating the problem.

    8. What are your ideas on how we can reduce the cost of administration and governance at TCDSB?

    When looking at the question of how to reduce the cost of administration and governance at the TCDSB, I would encourage the board to look into shared back-office space with the City of Toronto or to create a sharing partnership with other boards. I would also advocate for shared purchasing and projects as the boards are already doing – these shared projects can relate to anything from IT to payroll.

    Further to that point, I wholeheartedly believe that audits should periodically be used to ensure value for money and operational efficiency.

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

    The government of Ontario has taken over much of the contract negotiations, however I believe that the TCDSB has a responsibility to emphasize in all of its negotiations with teachers, that children are the most important consideration when decisions need to be made.

    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?​

    Not only will I enthusiastically support such an important initiative, I would like to be directly involved in its creation. Such a bill of rights has the potential to provide a common framework and reference point that will clearly define school culture.