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TDSB trustees hold emergency meeting over scathing provincial report

Toronto District School Board building. (CITYNEWS/FILE)

Toronto District School Board trustees are holding an emergency, closed door meeting after the province released a scathing report last week.

The 34-page report released on Thursday by independent education consultant Margaret Wilson on behalf of the education ministry accused the TDSB of fostering a culture of fear and included 13 recommendations that the board must make by Feb. 13.

Education Minister Liz Sandals says changes must be made at the TDSB by that date or the province can take legal action. Sandals has directed the board to accept all of the recommendations contained in the report.

Trustees met on Monday to figure out how to implement those recommendations.

However, TDSB chair Shaun Chen says it could take time to come up with a plan.

“I’m confident that we will get through looking at (the recommendations) in a way that allows us to move forward,” Chen explained. “We might not have the final answer tonight with respect to each and every one of those. Some of them do require some work and I suspect undertaking, such as developing a three-year capital plan will need to come back to the board at a later date before the minister’s deadline.”

One trustee expressed her concerns over a report recommendation that could see certain schools closed.

“A big chunk of the minister’s directives here involve actually reporting back on how we’re going to, basically, dispense of schools that are underutilized,” trustee Marit Stiles said. “Some of us have different definitions of what an underutilized school is. That might become slightly contentious.”

When it comes to the way the board operates, many trustees say they are ready for a change.

“We’ve talked about having to change the culture of this board,” trustee Jerry Chadwick said. “A lot of us campaigned on that, even some of the returning trustees.”

Read Sandals’ instructions to the TDSB below, or click here for a mobile-friendly version.

Liz Sandal’s instructions to the TDSB

Read Margaret Wilson’s entire report below, or click here for a mobile-friendly version.

Margaret Wilson review of TDSB