Thursday, January 12, 2017

Draft plan to tackle York school board woes called ‘disappointing’

Charline Grant says "no amount of audit, meetings and training is going to fix
the trust that has been lost"
Parents say a draft action plan to tackle racism, Islamophobia and concerns over foreign travel by trustees at the York Region District School Board is “insulting” and “ineffective” and unlikely to restore confidence in the troubled board.

Last November, the Minister of Education sent the board a strongly worded letter demanding concrete steps to address community concerns, particularly around the board’s handling of issues of equity and discrimination. The board’s response is due by Friday.

In a draft letter to be discussed at a special board meeting Wednesday evening, the board says it is hoping mandatory trustee sensitivity training, an equity audit of the organization and a commitment to being more transparent will restore faith in the board.

“It is clear that better communication and understanding is key to resolving many of these issues — both with our communities and between staff and trustees,” says the letter, written by the new trustee chair Loralea Carruthers, with the input of other trustees. “It is also essential that we provide professional development for trustees and staff in areas that need addressing such as equity and the role of trustees in school board oversight.

“Furthermore, examining our policies to ensure that they are clear, fair and being followed in the spirit they were intended, is important for transparency and accountability,” the letter says.

But parents and observers say the letter is “insulting” and offers few real solutions or specifics about how future problems will be addressed — or clarity on how they have been handled in the past.  (more...)

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