Saturday, March 28, 2015

Could the TDSB really be broken up into smaller school boards?

Earlier this month, education minister Liz Sandals appointed an expert panel to troubleshoot the notoriously dysfunctional Toronto District School Board, whose many problems range from multi-million-dollar deficits, to rampant political infighting, to harassment and intimidation among trustees and senior staff. One of the options under discussion will be breaking the board into smaller pieces, to make it more agile and manageable. (Currently there are 22 board trustees, each responsible for an individual fiefdom somewhere in the city.) It’s not the first time the possibility has been considered: Kathleen Wynne, during her time as education minister, threatened to split the TDSB in 2008 if it didn’t get its act together.

Multiple school boards in Toronto were once a reality. Prior to 1998, each former municipality had its own. When the city amalgamated, so did the boards, creating the TDSB. “It’s always very disruptive to change something in that way,” says Jane Gaskell, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. “It created a board that is huge, obviously difficult to manage and that has a lot of political differences.”

While there are plenty of examples of school boards amalgamating to become more efficient and less expensive, Gaskell hasn’t heard of a single board that has de-amalgamated. In other words, if the Ontario government decided to go that route with the TDSB, it would be a pioneer.  (more...)

No comments:

Post a Comment