Archives for: July 2012


Permalink 09:01:06 am, by mleslie Email , 89 words, 289 views   English (CA)
Categories: Toronto updates

TDSB was warned in 2006 about spending problems

by Kevin Donovan and Moira Welsh - A review by consultants six years ago of the Toronto District School Board’s maintenance and construction division found many of the same problems facing the school board today.

Blackstone Partners carried out its review in 2006 and then submitted a 113-page report to the TDSB in January 2007 detailing a litany of issues: high costs of repairs, lots of workers and spotty results, and managerial “silos” that made it hard for principals to figure out whom to approach to get a job done.


Permalink 09:08:02 am, by mleslie Email , 45 words, 242 views   English (CA)
Categories: Toronto updates

Verbatim: The TDSB's letter to principals

Full text of a letter addressed to Toronto District School Board's principals and vice-principals from Chris Bolton, Chair of the Board; Chris Spence, Director of Education; and Simon Storey, Chair of the Toronto School Administrators' Association; on oversight and accountability within the Facilities Services department.

Permalink 08:59:56 am, by mleslie Email , 93 words, 238 views   English (CA)
Categories: Toronto updates

Pricey repair bills on the chopping block at TDSB

by Tamara Baluja and Kate Hammer - Admitting to an entrenched culture of overspending on routine repair jobs at the Toronto District School Board, director of education Chris Spence has promised to clamp down on maintenance and construction at Canada’s largest school board.

In an interview Tuesday, Dr. Spence said he has experienced the board’s long history of paying big money for basic work. When he was an administrator at Lawrence Heights Middle School, nearly 15 years ago, “We wanted to get some painting done,” he said, “and the cost was extraordinary.”

Permalink 08:57:56 am, by mleslie Email , 238 words, 292 views   English (CA)
Categories: Toronto updates

TDSB needs a minor revolution

by Moira MacDonald - There’s little point in another investigation into the workings at the Toronto District School Board if trustees and administrators still haven’t adequately dealt with findings from past reports.

The board’s 2007/08 school safety report by lawyer Julian Falconer found the TDSB suffered from a “culture of silence borne of fear of political or bureaucratic reprisal or both.” In a section called “barriers to reporting,” Falconer detailed how TDSB staff commonly declined to go “on the record” about problems with safety at their schools.

“The Panel experienced on almost a daily basis a palpable defensiveness and fear about anything that could reflect negatively on the board,” he wrote. It got worse the higher up the chain of command the panel got.

It was quite telling at the time when veteran trustee Sheila Ward told me she did not agree with Falconer’s conclusion. She chalked the problem up to the fact the board was a big organization and that made it harder for people to communicate with each other.

The board’s latest scandal — allegations in the Toronto Star of gross overcharging by the board’s skilled trades union for small-scale repair and installation jobs, as well as intimidation of those who would speak out — suggests the TDSB still has not gotten over the “culture of silence.” The Star stories also referred to complaints of a “culture of fear” created by the union.

Build Green

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 You can also follow us on Twitter @greenschools_ca

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