Election 2014: Candidates for TCDSB trustee

Welcome to the first of three issues of Toronto municipal election coverage in Beach Metro Community News.

In this issue, we are featuring local school trustee candidates for the Catholic and public school boards.

Ward 11, the local ward of the Toronto Catholic District School Board, includes a dozen elementary and four secondary schools in an area that roughly extends from west of the Don River to Victoria Park Avenue and from Highway 401 south to the lake.

Elsewhere in this issue we feature local candidates for the public school board, as well as city councillor candidates for Ward 31.

Our Oct. 7 issue will cover the 12 council candidates running in Ward 32, our main coverage area. Council candidates for Ward 36, which includes Cliffside and Birch Cliff, will be covered in the Oct. 21 issue, ahead of the general election on Oct. 27.

 

Desmond Alvares

Desmond Alvares is an active member of Annunciation Church working with the eucharistic, marriage preparation and altar server ministries.

Desmond Alvares
Desmond Alvares

He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and assisted disabled attendees at World Youth Day in 2002 when the Pope visited Toronto. He has been an active member of the parents council for Senator O’Connor Catholic School and Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic School, serving as chair, safe school representative and on the fundraising committee. His wife and four children are also active members in the church community. Desmond has an MBA in finance, accounting and strategy and is a chartered professional accountant, certified management accountant and a chartered IT professional.

1. What is the reason you decided to run for Ward 11 trustee?

I want to ensure the interests of kids come first, and that transparency, accountability, and catholic values are encouraged and continue in the board.

2. How would you deal with declining enrolment in some schools and overcrowding in others?

We need to encourage development in our schools so that a consistent education is received regardless of the school selected. This will allow parents to select schools that are closest to them and still be comforted that their child will get the best education that is possible.

3. What is the solution to the leadership and spending issues that have plagued the board in recent years?

The school board needs to have accountability for their actions.  Transparency and accountability are key things I would like to encourage. This may require a change in the leadership and I am pleased to see a number of new candidates put themselves forward for trustee.

4. What do you view as the main issue for Ward 11?

Ward 11 has a mix of schools with a shrinking number of catholic school supporters. We need to ensure that all schools in our ward provide the same education experience for our children and that we ensure that we cater for those in our ward. With reduced enrollment the interest may be to sell existing schools and use funds to develop others.

 

Angela Kennedy www.kennedyfortrustee.com

Angela is a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator at Toronto East General Hospital.

Angela Kennedy
Angela Kennedy

Angela was elected as a trustee in 2000, and re-elected to her fourth term in 2010. She served as chair of the board in 2008 and 2010. Angela attended Corpus Christi Catholic Elementary School, Notre Dame Catholic High School, and St. Joseph’s School of Nursing. She was PTA president of Blessed Kateri School, and founded Kateri Kids Child Care Centre. She was founding chair of Brebeuf PTA and president of Toronto Regional Council of the Federation of Catholic Parent Teacher Associations, the forerunner of the Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education. Angela is married to Alistair, a chartered accountant and volunteer hockey coach. They have seven sons and five grandchildren.

1. What is the main reason you decided to run for Ward 11 trustee?

I have found that through listening to parents and advocating on their behalf I have been able to make a difference for families and students in Ward 11. I bring my parenthood and governance experience to effect positive outcomes for students. Parents know when they call me I get the job done!

2. How would you deal with declining enrolment in some schools and overcrowding in others?

Declining enrolment in elementary schools has been solved to a certain extent because of school consolidations. Two of the secondary schools are over enrolled but St. Patrick has room for more students and it is a wonderful school with programming to suit the needs of all students.

3. What is the solution to the leadership and spending issues that have plagued the board in recent years?

The director of education is working with trustees to ensure that we take whatever action is appropriate based on the auditor’s reports. All of this is done to ensure student success and to provide the best learning and teaching environment for students and staff.

4. What do you view as the main issue for Ward 11?

I would like to focus on school councils – their role, their composition, and their mandate. I would like to support parents who have a voice through their local school council to be able to function effectively in this governance body.

 

Kevin Morrison

This is my second time running for Ward 11 trustee.

Kevin Morrison
Kevin Morrison

I am a tireless advocate for Catholic education, student achievement and parental involvement. Before deciding to run I was an executive member of the Toronto Catholic Parent Involvement Committee. I am also past chair for the CSAC (parent council) and safe schools committees at my children’s school. I am founding chair of the Child Development and Community Conference. I am also a founding member of the Toronto Zoo Biogas project ZooShare. I continue my involvement with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Canada, the Toronto Food Initiative, the Daily Bread Food Bank, Cameron Helps, Rotary, and Toronto Ribfest, an annual charity barbecue event that typically raises $200,000 to $300,000 for child hunger in the GTA.

1. What is the main reason you decided to run for Ward 11 trustee?

I believe it is time for fresh and progressive ideas at the TCDSB. Falling test scores are a big issue and we need innovative ideas and action to reverse the trend. After 10 years on the job, the incumbent trustee for Ward 11 has run out of ideas and has become tainted by numerous scandals.

2. How would you deal with declining enrolment in some schools and overcrowding in others?

Overcrowding is not a big issue in Ward 11 schools. School boards are required to close schools with low enrolment. Due to budget shortfalls boards are increasingly under pressure to sell unused schools to developers. This trend is undermining accessibility to education and eroding the central role that schools play as a community hub.

3. What is the solution to the leadership and spending issues that have plagued the board in recent years?

The spending and expense issues are unforgivable. Many incumbent trustees have tried to justify expense claims that are quite simply unjustifiable. You can’t blame a lack of rules or clarity for engaging in behaviour you know is unethical.

4. What do you view as the main issue for Ward 11?

Student achievement is the most pressing concern. Recent test scores show only 53 per cent of Grade six students meeting minimum provincial standards in math. One thing that needs to be tackled to improve scores is recovering tuition time lost during school days.

 

Christmas Sy

My name is Christmas Sy. I am blessed with my wife Jemma and my two lovely daughters Nicole and Belle. Both my wife and I were born and raised as Roman catholics, even before migrating from the Philippines. I have been a Catholic School Advisory Council chairman at St. Catherine Catholic School for the last four years.

Christmas Sy
Christmas Sy

1. What is the main reason you decided to run for Ward 11 trustee?

Nearly six years ago, as you may recall, the TCDSB decided to close our school and as CSAC chair, I became the voice of the students, parents, teachers, and community. With support from volunteer parents we were able to reverse the decision and was able to keep our school open. This is the reason why I have decided to run as a trustee for TCDSB ward 11 – to accommodate the needs of families, students, and the community, and become their voice within the TCDSB. I feel that there is a need for change, and now is the right time.

2. How would you deal with declining enrolment in some schools and overcrowding in others?

There are a few options in resolving this issue. One is looking at the catchment process, where the geographic area from which students are eligible to attend a local school. Changing the school board funding formula will ensure that school funding can be used to support other programs. Creating awareness and strengthening e-learning and other programs is another option.

3. What is the solution to the leadership and spending issues that have plagued the board in recent years?

We are now in the age of technology, and I feel that new stringent trustee expense policies in combination with technology and continued auditing will save tons of funding, which will then ensure all of the double billing, unrelated expenditure etc. will be avoided.

4. What do you view as the main issue for Ward 11?

Funding mismanagement of budget money. The best resolution is to look all the data/facts and identify the main root cause and make the necessary changes, whether it’s a process gap or systemic problem.


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4 comments

MONDAY OCTOBER 20, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Catholic School TRUSTEE CANDIDATES
“MEET AND GREET”

WHAT?
OAPCE TORONTO (Ontario Association of Parents for Catholic Education) would like to provide candidates and parents who have their children enrolled in Catholic Education an opportunity to “meet and greet” candidates to understand their views and priorities should they be elected (re-elected).

WHY?
How many times have you gone to the ballot box and been surprised at the number of names listed for Catholic Trustee that you have never heard of before! This is your opportunity to meet them.

WHO will be in attendance?
Engaged Catholic parents like you, ward candidates for Catholic Trustee, OAPCE Toronto Representatives and Executive.

HOW will this evening roll out?
The format will be “SET TIME” presentations. There will be 12 ‘stations’ with chairs set up, one for each ward. This will allow for meaningful discussion that is ward specific to ensure the discussion is relevant to those around the table. Each candidate will first be given a few minutes to introduce him or herself, and then answer questions that OAPCE Toronto will provide several days in advance. This allows candidates time to prepare and showcase their best.

WHEN and WHERE?
MONDAY OCTOBER 20, 2014 at 7:00 pm
Catholic Education Centre (CEC)–
80 Sheppard Ave. East. Board Room/Atrium
Free Underground Parking Available.

Please pre-register by October 15, 2014 via email at oapce.toronto@gmail.com

I would like to see the OAPCE all candidates meeting recorded and the webcast posted on the TCDSB web site. Minimally, a transcript of the various ward candidate responses should be available.

Unfortunately, most parents work 2 jobs, look after kids, and have numerous other responsibilities which sometimes preclude attendance at such meetings. I think it is imperative, however, that information is available for parents to make an informed choice at the ballot box.

Thank You.

Agnes Mader

My name is Troy C. I am a student at the University of Toronto – St.Augustine’s Seminary, pursuing a Master’s Degree in Theology (MTS), and thus have many assignments based on research work. At present, I am enrolled in a Papal Social Justice course, with a research topic on Catholic School Trustee. Therefore I would like to have an interview or few questions answered by Mr. Kevin Morrison, Ward 11 on the topic. I heard he may be coming to St. Basil (my adopted Parish) on October 18th at 7:30 p.m. How could I get to speak to him about my issue? Could I see him before, or after the meeting, or at his convenience? My paper is due in early November, but I have to begin as early as possible, because for me, a research piece can be very time consuming. I would appreciate an early reply. Troy C. (Student)

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