2014 TCDSB Election: Ward 5 – North York

The Incumbent:

Maria Rizzo

The Race

All but one candidate in Ward 5 offered up their views for our Voting Guide. There is support across all candidates that participated for a Parents and Students Bill of Rights.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Larry Colle

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey Will consider
    Da Re, Louise Yes
    Macdonald, Jody No
    Rizzo, Maria Will consider


  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey Examining past budgets to determine results of spending
    Da Re, Louise We need to eliminate wasteful spending and find efficiencies.
    Macdonald, Jody Identify principles to guide decision making
    Rizzo, Maria Cut administration


  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey Transparency
    Da Re, Louise E-newsletter, community events, and school visitations
    Macdonald, Jody Attend parent council members, liturgy celebrations, community events
    Rizzo, Maria Always has


  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey Will consider
    Da Re, Louise No
    Macdonald, Jody Will consider
    Rizzo, Maria Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey Non-committal
    Da Re, Louise Yes
    Macdonald, Jody Yes
    Rizzo, Maria Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey Adherence to guidelines, publishing expenses
    Da Re, Louise Culture has changed
    Macdonald, Jody Culture has changed
    Rizzo, Maria Culture has changed


  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey More resources and more qualified people
    Da Re, Louise Learn from our failures
    Macdonald, Jody Increased funding from province
    Rizzo, Maria Allocate resources


  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey More teachers and less bureaucracy.
    Da Re, Louise Look for further efficiencies, streamlining and automation.
    Macdonald, Jody Set an ideal cost for administration
    Rizzo, Maria Too many to list


  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey Take a realistic and common sense, non adversarial approach
    Da Re, Louise The best approach is a fair and co-operative approach.
    Macdonald, Jody Collaboration, respect, find common ground
    Rizzo, Maria No advice given


  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey Yes
    Da Re, Louise Yes
    Macdonald, Jody Yes
    Rizzo, Maria 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 am open to unsolicited support from private agencies to help TCDSB.  However, their offer of support needs to be examined and assessed very carefully and thoroughly, making sure there are no riders or conditions that will compromise the integrity of TCDSB and the Catholic values that we need to uphold.

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

    We can start with the examination of the historical budget and expenses of the TCDSB, focusing on how TCDSB spent its budget – were the money spent necessary and considered to be wise investment for the TCDSB, were the things the money spent on the best choices (were there any other better options), were there surpluses and how were these surpluses spent, were they spent wisely?

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

    Transparency in what we do at the TCDSB.  Involving the parents and students alike in the debates and discussions on crucial decisions that affect TCDSB, Schools and students.

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

    I cannot comment on the proposals that I don’t know anything about.  I need to know their rationale and basis for advocating new tax for education.  The proposals need to answer the questions: Is there a need for new tax for education and why? Are the present resources for our education not sufficient and why?  We need to engage everyone in answering these questions.  This is not something that we in the School Board can arbitrarily decide on.  After all the burden of additional taxes will be shouldered by the parents.

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

    It has some advantages and benefits.  I am just wondering whether if this will create more bureaucracy and duplication of mandates that already exist – accounting and auditing departments and guidelines by the goverment.

    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 don’t think it has.  By strict adherence to the guidelines prescribed for Trustee expenditures and a quarterly publication of their expenditures for public scrutiny, similar to the web-available expenses of the members of the Parliament of Canada.

    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?

    As an Occupational Therapist who deals children with special needs, this is very sad and frustrating. We need more resources and qualified persons in the Special Education system and a more viable processes that had been fashioned by the Professionals in the field, the Special Education Teachersand input from the parents of Special Education students.  This will be one of my advocacies.

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

    More teachers and less bureaucracy.

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

    Realistic and common sense approach to bargaining with the teachers, the staff, and the Union, as opposed to the adversarial “We must win in this bargaining process” approach.  The bargaining process must be an open, receptive and honest consideration of the concerns and issues from both sides of the table.  The goal is not to win, but to achieve a realistic and productive strategy and mechanism for the School Board, Schools, and the students.

    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 this initiative.  The essence of this Bill of Rights must be that the parents and the students are major and equal partners in the present and the future not only of the TCDSB but also of the schools and the students.

  • 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 I support seeking private investment. However any proposed investment must first pass a careful review, the primary concern being how it will affect students.

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

    We need to eliminate wasteful spending and find efficiencies. This must be a goal of every individual within the organization, and ideas should be solicited from all levels. Capital and maintenance projects must be carefully planned, with prudent oversight and consequences for overruns.

    Making a case to the province for additional funding and seeking private investment are ways to increase the monies available.

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

    I intend to regularly send out an e-newsletter, so constituents can read about education issues, community events, and any other relevant news (i.e. from schools,  the school board, the province).  I will hold regular ward meetings where we can discuss the latest issues and hear from speakers on topics of interest. I intend to visit schools as often as possible and look for opportunities to bring people together.

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

    No. I do not support a new tax.

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

    Yes. I think an ombudsman plays an important role. I would support this initiative.

    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 it has. Expenses are posted, making the process transparent. However, we must remain diligent.  After every election, trustees should be educated about expense guidelines and consequences if they are not followed. If they have questions about allowable expenses, they should know where they can be answered. Trustee expenses should also continue to be audited regularly.

    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?

    Special Education is important. These children are the most vulnerable in the school system. We must learn from any failures and see that special education has the resources it needs by training teachers with the most innovative and current strategies. We must foster understanding, acceptance and where possible, integration.

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

    Look for further efficiencies, streamlining and automation. This must be a goal of each individual within the organization, and ideas should be solicited from all levels.

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

    The best approach is a fair and co-operative approach. We recognize that teachers and staff are critical to maintaining a superior education system, while they need to recognize our budget constraints. Together we can look for efficiencies and consider non-financial incentives as well as financial.

    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?​

    One of the most important rights is a safe and caring environment that promotes responsibility, mutual respect, and academic success. I support the development initiative.

  • 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?

    If by seeking ‘private investment’ you mean engaging in private corporate fund raising, this would not fit with my vision for the TCDSB.  I would focus on minimizing waste, identifying  priorities to guide budget decisions, and ensuring a balanced budget.

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

    As well as board priorities, I would encourage the board to identify principles to guide decision making when the budget is being prepared.

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

    Great question!  My first step would be to attend parent council members, liturgy celebrations, sporting and arts events, and get to know the Ward 5 community members.  Working collaboratively, we might be able to identify some areas of common concern and an action plan to respond to the concern.

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

    The future depends on our children, and our children depend on their education to prepare for their future. I believe each citizen has a responsibility to contribute to the education of future generations.  Paying taxes is a way for citizens to fulfill this social commitment.  Not sure about a specific tax for education. It might be better to suggest a tax to support the future of society.

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

    Yes, I would an ombudsperson, but the board would need to think about how this fits with our priorities. And how to fund the position.

    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 think the board members have responded to concerns raised by the media, the education ministry, and the voters.  My suggestion to continue to improve accountability is simple.  Announce the total expenses submitted by trustees at the beginning of each meeting, thus creating a little peer pressure to ensure that expenses remain reasonable.

    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 would advocate for the Ministry of Education to increase its funding for special education programs. TCDSB has made special education a priority…

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

    I would ensure that the board carefully reviews and then sets an ideal percentage of the budget for administrators.

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

    Prepare to listen to each side carefully, be respectful of each other and find the common ground and collaborate.

    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 will support it, but would encourage including responsibilities as well.

    Parent rights – freedom of religion .. being about to educate our children holistically, so they are supported to grow spiritually, physically, cognitively, and emotionally.

  • 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?

    Where appropriate. 

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

    Cur administration (conferences, new furniture for offices, etc.  Not programs for kids.

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

    I always have.

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

    Anything that would help the funding issues faced today.  We did fund off the property tax base in the past. 

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

    Absolutely

    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?

    Much has changed since the scandal/

    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?

    Allocate resources to assist this vulnerable group of students and perhaps reorganize the department.  

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

    Where doo I start?  Too many to list

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

    Unfortunately that has been taken over by the provinial government.

    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?​

    Of course.