2014 TCDSB Election: Ward 7 – Scarborough/North York

The Incumbent:

John Del Grande

The Race

John Del Grande is not running again, so former Trustee Del Grande’s father, Mike, is coming back after a term of excellent work delivering budgets to bring about a new era of fiscal accountability at City Hall. One other Challenger, Emmanuel Yanga, also participated in our survey.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Aldo Calla, Leo Ng

The Breakdown

 

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?

    Yes I do provided that the support is philanthropic and not a commercialization of our schools.

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

    The opportunities for synergy with the other boards and the City can provide an opportunity to improve and increase capital investment. One such opportunity is the section 37 funds that the city collects for high density which the Catholic board does not get a fair share

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

    I have always maintained that I should attend as many parent school meetings as possible. Secondly it’s important to have a clear concise newsletter for current issues as opposed to cheerleading for the school board. Thirdly I need to work with the other elected officials to participate in Townhall meetings so that it is a one stop shop for residents to have their questions answered by all their elected officials.

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

    I will never support extra or special or additional levies on taxpayers.

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

    Yes I support a fixed term limit for a school ombudsman. I think it’s time that we have it as it works well at the city of Toronto and it is a unbiased position that will garner respect from  people that cannot get through the red tape of both bureaucrats and politicians.

    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?

    A sense of entitlement remains with all elected officials. By posting all the expenses online will make it more accountable and visible to the public as to what school trustees are doing with their expense allotments.

    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?

    For a start monies that are budgeted for special ed should be spent on special ed and not transferred to other programs. Secondly assessments are taking far too long to help identify programs and needs of special ed students. Thirdly the board should examine programs like Aerosmith which has in the past demonstrated a significant help to students. The problem is that educators are inclined to go with the status quo approach to special ed programs.

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

    First we don’t need special assistance for trustees, and in my day the trustee had secretarial help but not someone that basically is doing the work of trustees. I also find that we tend to warehouse teachers that are taken out of the classroom because they can’t function as teachers and therefore we find other jobs for them in an administrative role. We cannot be a social agency we need to separate from those employees that can’t do the job.

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

    This is not in our control as the public purse is controlled by the province. The teachers unions are too strong for individual boards and therefore it is up to the province to do the collective-bargaining. After all it is the province that pays the cost of education and it is up to them to determine what the value of a teaching position is.

    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?​

    The most important right is that parents are the first educators of their children. The school system should not usurp this role. The state is there to assist not to take over. I would support a bill of rights for parents and 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 will support good private investments at TCDSB to help achieve the visions that will benefit students and set conditions that will provide high quality achievements in education for every student and help meet high standards to help students succeed in school and in life in general. I will consider other worthy initiatives and pick the ones that produces best results for the good of the school Board and students.

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

    I will conduct proper consultations with authorities and check effective implementation of every program possible. Allocate current resources based on the needs / priorities. Develop solid partnerships with investors and increase contributors vitality by having a responsible and effective vision / direction. Ensure continuous effective stewardship of resources at all times.

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

    Conduct continuous dialogues with constituents and community leaders. Develop strategic plans to ensure effectivity of programs. Dissiminate relevant information and decide which is best to adhere to. Constantly reach out to constituents and decide whic will be the most effective solution to benefit the good of parents and students.

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

    As much as possiblle I won’t vote for a new tax but if necessary but will make a careful scrutiny on it’s pro’s and con’s, do my due diligence to justify a new tax when presented and always put the best interest of my constituents and students in Catholic schools.

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

    Yes, I will support for an Ombudsman. This is surely an important and worthy initiative that will help in the governance of the duties of a Catholic Trustee, This will further the call for the proper expected performance of a Trustee and ensure the well-being of the board and the performance of the title given and be ever mindful of the duties and responsibilities and to be always in a proper perspective.

    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’m not familiar yet with the current culture of some of the school Board Trustees but will definitely check and see what needs to be considered and introduced necessary change in the current system. It’s so frustrating to know that this is even happening in our school Board. This is very disgusting to say the least. I will be all over if proven that wrong practices is happening in our school Board. They should be totally disbard from the Board for conduct unbecoming of a Catholic School Trustee.

    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 help ensure proper and effective immediate solution to issues and help find better steps and make necessary changes and adoption of rules and regulations.

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

    To reduce the cost of administration and governance at TCDSB, I will promote the strict observance of rules in the proper allocation of resources and accountiing by regular audits and review of disbursements and reporting system and procedures.

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

    Promote the practice of due diligence in the scrutiny of applicants, their work reference, educational attainments and include strict adherance to Catholic teachings, culture and traditions of all applicants, staff and teachers and place in top priority faith background, practices, good manners, right conduct and group affiliations.

    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 wothry initiatives that will promote the good and welfare of parents and students and will help in the development of a parent / student bill of rights. I will take a firm stand on the practice of Catholic faith teachings, culture and tradtions and help support in the maintenance and practices of the same.