OPSBA Clarifies the Association's Position on BILL 177

 
Toronto, October 1, 2009- The Ontario Public School Boards' Association has been monitoring reactions to Bill 177 (An Act to amend the Education Act with respect to student achievement, school board governance and certain other matters) which is currently at the Second Reading stage in the Ontario Legislature. During the debates a number of views have incorrectly been attributed to the Association.

This communication will clarify OPSBA's position and firmly state our united opposition to proposed changes.

OPSBA supports:

  • The statements about the purpose of a strong public education system that introduces Bill 177
  • Establishment of Parent Involvement Committees as advisory bodies
  • Improvements in clarity with regard to roles and duties of Board Members, Chairs and Directors
  • Efforts to provide consistency across the province with regard to Codes of Conduct.
OPSBA takes issue with:

  • Assignment of accountability to Boards for student achievement and student well-being without reference to the role of the Ministry of Education, other levels of government and relevant conditions that are outside the control of school boards.
  • The potential, through regulations flowing from Bill 177, for school boards to be taken over and placed under supervision for reasons other than failure to bring in a balanced budget - a significant departure from current provisions.
  • Provisions that undermine the role of trustees in engaging with Board administration to address parental and student concerns.
  • Provisions in the Code of conduct section that would impose sanctions on elected trustees that have no parallel in the Standing Orders of Parliament and do not apply to any other elected official.
  • A pervasive theme in many of the provisions that diminishes the role of trustees and erodes their status as individuals democratically elected to office and as a board of trustees.
  • The repeated implication that trustees need to be told to maintain a focus on student achievement when this is the primary reason that trustees run for office.
  • The need to clarify that Audit Committees are an internal Board committee with external representation, rather than regional committees that impose yet another layer of oversight, and that funding is provided to support their operation.
OPSBA will make a detailed submission to the Standing Committee of the Legislature on Bill 177 and the anticipated regulations flowing from it. We look forward to speaking to the Standing Committee on the issues we have raised.

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For more information, please contact:

Colleen Schenk
OPSBA President
(416) 340-2540
10/1/2009