My April, 2016, Community Update

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Below are highlights – the full Community Update:  Jo-Ann Davis April 2016 Community Update

Dr Jim Saraco in Memoriam

As many of you may know, Dr. Jm Saraco, Superintendent of Schools, died on April 4th. Dr Saraco worked most of his life at the TCDSB as a teacher, principal, Superintendent of Special Education, and finally as Superintendent of Schools, including most of those located on the west side of our ward – a part of the city he knew well, growing up near Dupont and Ossington.  A husband, proud father of two children, and a brilliant and compassionate educator who gave generously of his time and knowledge, Jim was always seeking new approaches to education – always wanting more for our students.  I will miss him – and his great sense of humour – greatly.  As those who worked with him know, his focus was always on our students – their well-being and success. As the Director of Education, Angela Gauthier, wrote when she announced the sad news, “his passing has left an incredible void at the TCDSB.”

Jim 2

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.  May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

January’s 5th Annual Ward-Wide Catholic Leadership Meeting

Thank you to all those pastors, principals and parent council Chairs from across our downtown ward who attended this year’s 5th annual ward-wide Catholic Leadership meeting at Holy Rosary Catholic School (photos below).   Thank you to Msgr. Nusca for beginning our evening with the celebration of  Mass at Holy Rosary parish.

Discussion this year centred on:  ways to bring our parish and school communities together in this year of The Family, and the Multi-Year Recovery Plan and coming Budget planning for 2016 – 2017.  This year’s guest speaker was Luke Stocking from Development & Peace who gave us great insights into the work of D&P with our students, as well as sharing free Lenten resources available to all TCDSB students.

Fro Jan 2016 x2 small

My Initiatives Since My December, 2015 Community Update

Making TCDSB a “Net Zero” Energy School Board:  I am very pleased to announce that at the March Corporate Affairs meeting, trustees approved my motion to make TCDSB a ‘net zero’ energy school board – with the aim of producing the same amount of energy that we consume.  We have reached out to the Ministry of Education, as well as both the provincial and federal Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to help us meet this objective which supports our goals of both environmental and financial sustainability.

Creating Community Hubs:  The Town Crier recently published my Op-Ed, “Saving our Community Spaces” which highlights Senhor Santo Cristo and St Bruno schools as prime opportunities for Community Hubs. Safeguarding public spaces for the common good is not something that school boards, the City, the Province or Ottawa, can do alone. It can only be done by viewing communities holistically, and by creating public mechanisms which bring elected representatives together with those we serve. Read the full article:  

Working Better Together – City & School Boards:  At the 11 February, 2016, meeting of the City of Toronto – Toronto School Boards Committee approved my motion for the following to be added to the City and Board staff work plan.  City and school board staff are to report back on ways to:

  1. shorten and streamline City approval processes for board-related projects
  2. remove barriers for students to access City assets (e.g. pool time, field time) during school hours, and ???
  3. reduce the unfunded municipal infrastructure costs being downloaded to school boards.

School Consolidation Updates – Provincial Funding Requests Submitted by TCDSB

Since my December community update, business cases have been submitted to the Ministry of Education for the funding of two consolidation projects in our community of schools.   We expect to have a decision on both by the end of May.

The first was for funding for a new school at the St. Raymond Catholic School site.  The second was for funding of renovations to the St. Luke Catholic School site – the major work being related to accessibility (elevator and universal washrooms) and a new expanded school entrance.  Given the expected timing of approval, planning for all approved work would begin in the fall.

A public meeting took place on March 29th (photo below) with parents from Senhor Santo Cristo and St Luke to discuss preparations for the bringing together of the two communities at the St Luke site this September, 2016.

Further communications will be provided to parents through the school newsletter or letters home as information is made available.  A joint local consultation process will take place for the naming of the new consolidated St Luke / Senhor Santo Cristo School.  Please feel free to contact your school principal or myself with any questions.

Transition meeting photo


Multi-Year Recovery Plan / 2016 – 2017 Budget Consultation

At our February Board meeting, trustees approved a 3-year budget recovery plan to eliminate the accumulated $15.3M deficit and respond to known Ministry funding reductions over the next 3 years.  The approved plan requires $7.3M in cuts in 2016 – 2017, $8.5M in cuts in 2017 – 2018 and $12.6M in cuts in 2018 – 2019.

At our March Board meeting, trustees approved a list of potential budget cuts and revenue generating opportunities for community consultation as part of the 2016-2017 budget process.

Trustees will vote on the budget at the May 19th Board meeting.  Before then trustees are seeking guidance on:

  • where cuts should be made or revenues generated
  • where risks to the system are perceived based on potential cuts identified by staff and
  • how those risks could be mitigated.

 As context for your budget input please note that:

  1. Trustees approved $7.3 million in cuts for 2016-2017 coming out of our approved multi-year recovery plan. Staff has brought forward $8.693M in classroom and $5M in non-classroom cuts for consideration.
  2. There is a required increase in cuts to Student Transportation from what was presented in the multi-year recovery plan as the result of $4.4 million in increased contract costs to the Board.

Please take a few minutes to complete the on-line survey – for more information:

Feel free to write or call me directly with your input prior to the May Board meeting.

Student Mental Health & Well Being

Take a few minutes to read the latest monthly Student Mental Health & Well- Being Newsletter on-line which can be found on our board’s website at For more information on how the TCDSB is supporting student well-being – body, soul and mind – contact Patricia Marra-Stapleton, TCDSB’s Mental Health Lead (patricia.marra-stapleton(@)

Multi-Year Strategic Plan (MYSP) 2016 – 2021 is Approved

The MYSP which was sent out for public consultation was overwhelmingly supported by those who provided feedback.  The plan was subsequently approved by the board of trustees.  The 2016 – 2021 MYSP keeps the 6 major strategic objectives (see left) from our first MYSP for 2012 – 2015; however, new goals have been created for several board-wide priorities.

The motion I submitted which was approved by trustees includes an outstanding action for staff to report back on the measurable goals for each priority. It is against these goals that staff will provide public annual reports of progress.

Annual International Women’s Day event jointly organized by Trustee Jo-Ann Davis, TCDSB, Shelley Laskin, TDSB and Carolyn Bennett, MP, took place on March 4th.  Girls from St Joseph College School and Loretto College participated in the morning event which included celebrated journalist Sally Armstrong and former Toronto Mayor Barbara Hall.

Int Womens Day event 2016

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