Archives for: September 2008

09/26/08

Permalink 04:38:16 pm, by mleslie Email , 29 words, 183 views   English (US)
Categories: Individual school case studies

Presentations from Greentools For Healthy Schools 2008

If you would like to view and download eight of the presentations made at the 2008 "Greentools for Healthy Schools" conference held in September, then please click on the headline.

Permalink 04:33:03 pm, by mleslie Email , 52 words, 220 views   English (US)
Categories: News Updates

Report on "Greentools for Healthy Schools 2008" Conference

The west coast's biggest conference on high performance schools was held earlier this month in Sacramento, California. "Greentools for Healthy Schools 2008" attracted participants from all over the US (and Ontario) including 50 school districts, over 40 design and engineering firms and 15 government agencies. Click on the headline to view a report from the conference.

09/25/08

Permalink 08:28:07 am, by mleslie Email , 102 words, 214 views   English (US)
Categories: News Updates

College & University Sustainability Report Card Released

The "College Sustainability Report Card 2009" has just been released by the Sustainable Endowments Institute (based in Cambridge, MA). This interactive report card examines sustainability trends at 300 North American post-secondary institutions - 17 of them in Canada. Fifteen schools received top marks (but the average grade is a C+) and the University of British Columbia (A-) was the ranking Canadian university. Please click on the headline to view the report; and go to http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=111912161011773533858.000457551146072a8b982&ll=43.197167,-94.746094&spn=59.882772,113.203125&t=p&z=3 to tour the Canadian campus ranking.

09/08/08

Permalink 10:27:36 am, by mleslie Email , 39 words, 233 views   English (US)
Categories: Individual school case studies

Sustainable School Yard Exhibit on Display in Washington

The US Botanic Garden in Washington, DC has a "Sustainable School Yard" exhibit on display until October 13th. You can visit their web site by clicking on the headline and download information on its design, specifications and communications plan.

09/07/08

Permalink 09:02:15 pm, by mleslie Email , 64 words, 208 views   English (US)
Categories: News Updates

US Green Building Council Launches Initiative to Develop Green School Caucuses in Every State

Washington, DC - September 4, 2008 - Today, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) kicked off its "Fifty for Fifty" initiative working with state lawmakers in all 50 states to promote green school buildings. The Council's goal is for every state legislature in the nation to have its own caucus or working group of lawmakers advancing green schools for kids.

Click on the headline for the full text ....

09/04/08

Permalink 11:35:56 am, by mleslie Email , 144 words, 225 views   English (US)
Categories: News Updates

Green Back to School Tips from the Green Schools Initiative

This press release from the California-based Green Schools Initiative outlines several steps that can be taken upon your return to school. Click on the headline for the full release ....

Berkeley, CA - Back to School time! Follow some of the ideas here to make sure your child’s school is healthy, safe, and sustainable. Learn how to buy recycled- and environmentally-friendly school supplies, pack a waste-free lunch, check out the health and safety of your school facilities, inquire about your school’s Wellness Policy, and more… Our children spend a large part of their days inside a school, so it is critical that the school environment not expose our children to toxic chemicals, have good indoor air quality, serve healthy food, allow for recess and physical education, and generally promote health and well-being. You can be part of the solution – take action this school year!

09/03/08

Permalink 09:16:29 am, by mleslie Email , 656 words, 230 views   English (CA)
Categories: Toronto updates

School board's murky waters: Why is the Toronto Lands Corp., an arm of the TDSB, allowed to operate so secretly?

By Moira MacDonald, Toronto Sun Columnist

I hate to rain on the swimming pool parade, but what happened at the Toronto District School Board to "save" Toronto's school pools last week should raise alarm bells for anyone who cares about public accountability.
Sure trustees approved a pool rescue plan by David Crombie. It will buy time -- and jobs for consultants, who are supposed to update the pool operating costs -- so the financially threatened facilities can carry on another year.
However, as last week's trustee debate revealed, the pools will not be ready for students to use during school hours until the necessary swimming instructors are notified and hired or rehired. October was the month mentioned.
But that's a minor issue. The major issue is that control of the 39 pools, the $4.1 million in provincial government rescue money, and how it will be spent, will rest with an organization that so far has operated out of the public eye for the last eight months with no promises about when the secrecy will end.
That organization is the Toronto Lands Corporation, wholly owned by the Toronto District School Board to sell off and lease its many surplus properties. The TLC also happens to be chaired by Crombie, the same person who crafted the pool rescue plan.
Since its inception last year (the TLC's board was finalized in January), the TLC has held no public meetings, has not published any documents that are publicly available, has no official budget, and any member of the public looking to find out more about TLC will find that impossible. It has no phone number, no website or presence on the TDSB's website listing what it is, who sits on its board of directors, when its meetings are held or where.
What's more, a draft "annual report" the TLC gave to the TDSB in the spring continues to be kept secret.
Now the TLC gets to handle $4 million in government (your) money.
Concerned? You should be.

Property values
Talk to folks related to TLC and they'll tell you they'd like nothing better than to make things public, it's just that because they are in the early stages and most of their business has been about property values (which legally can be discussed in private), they haven't been able to do so.
"Rest assured," Crombie told me last month. "We have an interest in making [the TLC] public."
TDSB chair John Campbell, who sits on the TLC board said , "as soon as I can, I want to have the whole thing public."
But what is also worrying is how most of the folks representing you at both the school board and the provincial government don't seem to be particularly worried about this. The only concerns I heard raised at last week's TDSB meeting -- apart from questions raised by trustee John Hastings about the lack of a TLC business plan for the provincial money -- came outside the boardroom, from a TDSB swimming instructor.
"This TLC -- where does it exist?" instructor Nancy Campbell asked trustee Howard Goodman, who was trying to answer instructors' questions outside. "There's no contact information for them ... it seems like they are a ghost organization. That's a huge red flag."
Not a big enough red flag for the provincial government, which seems to have given the green light to send its $4 million to the TLC -- not the TDSB -- as the pool bills and consultant costs come in.
And not enough of a flag for the TDSB which, until it insists the TLC's business be open not only to trustees, but to the people who elected them, can use the TLC as a convenient place to shuffle money in and out of without the public being able to scrutinize how it's being done or what it's being used for.
It's not that kids getting back into their school pools is a bad thing. But let's make the water less murky.

moira.macdonald@sunmedia.ca

Permalink 09:11:22 am, by mleslie Email , 85 words, 208 views   English (CA)
Categories: Toronto updates

Toronto Star Editorial: "Seek alternatives to school closings"

"As Ontario schoolchildren return to class this week, some are facing more than just back-to-school jitters. Labour troubles loom over the new school year after collective bargaining agreements for the province's teachers expired on Sunday. The Catholic teachers' union has already settled with the province, but unions representing public elementary and high school teachers have yet to strike a deal. Some students are confronting an even more upsetting prospect: the closing of their schools."

Read the Star's call for "unconventional solutions" to potential school closings .....

Permalink 09:01:46 am, by mleslie Email , 209 words, 267 views   English (CA)
Categories: News Updates

Toronto Pools Remain Open

At its August 27th regular meeting, following an announcement of one year temporary "transition" funding by the Province of Ontario, the TDSB decided:
"(a) That the Board thank David Crombie for his work on finding possible funding sources to operate school swimming pools;
(b) That, based on the Provincial transition funding for pools announced on August 7, 2008:
(i) that the pools slated for decommissioning this fall remain open for the 2008-09 school year and that aquatics instructors and caretaking staff be hired as soon as possible, subject to confirmation that Provincial funding has been received by the TLC;
(ii) that the Board participate fully in the Toronto aquatic workgroup proposed by Mr. Crombie;
(iii) that the Toronto Lands Corporation be given responsibility for providing operational oversight and licensing/permitting services for the 39 pools that are currently unfunded;
(iv) that the Director instruct staff to assist the Toronto Lands Corporation in collecting more precise data on the operating costs of individual pools.
(c) That the Chair of the Board forward a copy of the Board’s decision and a copy of the letter from Mr. Crombie to the City of Toronto’s Community and Social Services Committee for their possible review and comment".

Follow the link to page 3 of the meeting minutes.

Build Green Schools.ca

These pages are a resource for students, parents, staff and neighbours who wish to make the buildings and yards in their school community sustainable, high-performance and "green". The site was originally created for members of the Runnymede Public School community in the west-end of Toronto, but has expanded. This blog is owned and maintained by Marshall Leslie (see www.mleslie.com). You can also follow us on Twitter @greenschools_ca

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