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Dealing with budgets, bullying and overcrowding

By now you have read or heard the Drummond recommendations for the Provincial budget. I expect you are sick to death of listening to kvetching about budgets – provincial, city and now education. As am I. However you need to know that this year, to paraphrase Queen Elizabeth, it is ‘Budget Horribilis’. This will be the first time since amalgamation that teacher layoffs may happen. And support staff will be threatened as well. We will be sending out more information shortly. This is just to give you a little hint that not-good news is coming. No one will be happy.  Stay tuned…

I want to talk briefly about one of my pet peeves – bullying. My opinion may be very different from the usual line on the topic. I am tired of listening to people talking about how we need to stop child bullies. Excuse me!
Look around you. Everywhere people are being bullies, and I am not talking about the children. The children are following the example played out before them daily, especially on TV. Virtually every kind of programming has a bully component - Dinner Wars, Storage Wars, Love It or List It, Battle of the fill in the blank, cartoons, dramas, advertising, everything! It is rare to find a program that does not contain bullying of some sort.
There is a constant barrage of nasty, negative, belittling, contrived, deliberately scripted personal attacks and rudeness between adults.  Usually they are pointless and supposedly amusing put-downs.
So we how have a Provincial policy that tells our rather canny children “to not do as I do but do as I say.” Surely no one believes anything will change with the children when the adults set such terrible examples.
Children are bullied everyday by some adult in their life.
There is a song in the musical South Pacific that sums it up for me: “You have to be carefully taught to hate.” Just change the last word to ‘bully’ and you have the crux of the problem.
Until we adults set a good example nothing will change…no matter how much we punish the children.

During the next four months, due to the over-crowding at Crescent Town School, we will be reviewing the facilities of all of the schools north of the Danforth. We need to accommodate the all-day kindergarten programs and to allow schools who wish to become a K to 8 program the time to consider that choice.
The Crescent Town overcrowding has a domino effect for all the schools west of them. The review will be divided into two sections – those above the Taylor Creek Ravine (Presteign, Selwyn, G.A. Brown, Victoria Park and George Webster) and those below (Secord, D.A. Morrison, Gledhill, Earl Beatty and Parkside).
We will be having public meetings to discuss the possibilities and develop final recommendations.  These meetings will take place between the end of February and the end of May with the final decisions going to the June board meeting for approval.
This is a Herculean task but we feel it is best to do the whole job in one piece. It is important to see the community as a whole and not a lot of unconnected parts. Any decision about a school has an impact on the whole neighbourhood and the schools nearby.
There will be more information coming out to you in the near future. Stay tuned.

Finally, on March 29 our Director of Education will be coming to the Ward 16 Parent Council to discuss parent engagement. We will be meeting at East York Collegiate at 7:00 pm and will have coffee, tea and cookies. Daycare will be provided and parking is not too difficult.  Please come.

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