On his first official day as Toronto’s Mayor, John Tory met with Premier Kathleen Wynne to discuss priorities and how the two levels of government can work together towards the best possible decisions for constituents. Wynne said the two have committed to meeting regularly.
The agenda included transit, housing and investment opportunities. While public education is arguably as important to Toronto’s future success as transit, it is notably absent from this morning’s meeting agenda.
With 246,000 students attending almost 600 schools, the TDSB is a $3 Billion bureaucracy that requires attention not only from the TDSB Trustees who govern the board but also from our new Mayor and City Council. Last week, the TDSB finally got the attention of the Province with Liz Sandals announcing that outside expert Margaret Wilson will be conducting a review of the TDSB. What is required next is for the TDSB to get the attention of the City too.
John Tory and the TDSB arguably have similar visions – a vibrant city filled with educated, healthy citizens. So let’s hope that our new Mayor will also forge new relations with our local school board. With regular meetings between our City Council and the TDSB, we could see a stronger Toronto.
The Ministry of Education’s mandate letter for the next four years includes developing a community hubs policy – a noble concept that would see empty public schools used creatively to benefit a community in alternate ways.
Mandate Letter from Premier Kathleen Wynne to Minister of Education Liz Sandals
However, in pursuit of short-term efficiencies, schools in rural areas of Ontario and urban centres are being forced to close. 50 mayors across Ontario have banded together to lobby the Provincial government to reconsider school closures in favour of transforming school buildings into true community hubs.
Ontario Mayors Fight to Keep Schools Open
A transformation of this kind will require both patience and co-operation between the Provincial Government, School Boards, and Municipalities. Not an easy task but one that seems worth pursuing.
As a starting point to this blog, we want to bring you up to speed on what Fix Our Schools has been doing. So far, a lot of our campaign has been informed by our experience with local schools here in Ward 7 (near High Park). We hope that this will change as we connect with other TDSB parents from across the city!
1) We’ve been writing letters to both the TDSB and the Ministry of Education. Here are the latest letters sent to each:
Letter_to the Ministry of Education
Letter to the TDSB
2) We’ve contacted media, that has resulted in the following media exposure:
TDSB wants development funding for overcapacity schools and $3.5 Billion in outstanding repairs
Fix Our Schools calls upon mayoral candidates to work with TDSB
Fix Our Schools echo TDSB Trustees’ plea to Province to reconsider how development money is accessed and used by school boards
3) We’ve worked hard to get education issues on the agenda during the municipal election by hosting a local Ward 7 Trustee debate; answering media questions about the Trustee races across the city; and sending the following letters to Mayoral candidates and City Councillor candidates:
Letter to Mayoral Candidates
Letter to City Councillor Candidates