NEWS

TDSB votes to implement province's 13 directives after scathing report

01/19/2015 09:37 EST | Updated 03/21/2015 05:59 EDT
Trustees of the embattled Toronto District School Board voted Monday evening to implement changes demanded by Ontario's education minister in the wake of a scathing review released last week. 

After about 80 minutes of debate, the trustees voted to accept the 13 changes put forth by Liz Sandals in response to a 34-page report by Margaret Wilson that chronicled in great detail a "culture of fear" and dysfunction that has plagued the nation's biggest school board in recent years. 

Sandals gave the board until Feb. 13 to provide "evidence of compliance."

Among the directives was a requirement for the board to delineate the day to day governance role of trustees from the administrative staff, and to close down trustees' offices. The changes are largely focused on increasing efficiency while establishing more stringent oversight procedures. 

Sandals told CBC News last week that if the board rejected her directives, her ministry would consider breaking it up, noting that many of the problems began in earnest following amalgamation in 1998. 

Board chair Shaun Chen said after the meeting that the trustees "recognize the seriousness" of Sandals's instructions and while there is "very little time to accomplish" the changes she laid out, Monday's meeting set the stage for that work to begin. 

Not all trustees, however, were receptive to the minister's directives.

"I feel like I've been hit in the face with a big fist," said Ward 16 trustee Sheila Cary-Meagher. "I've been doing this for 28 years. This has been my life. I love my job and I've just been told that I'm a pile of garbage and that hurts."

Trustees also discussed a proposal to reduce the salary of the board's director, Donna Quan, which is currently about $289,000. Quan said she is open to changes.

"I think that I'm very privileged. I don't do this job for the money and I've said that from the beginning."

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