Posts Tagged ‘ocdsb’

Here we are folks. The day before the election.  Tomorrow, we will vote for our Trustees, Mayor and Councillors.

I have received so much encouragement from so many people…. got a call the other night that gave me the impetus to stay the course for a few hours more.

Here are the brass tacks: I will do as I say. I will listen. And I will respond.

The past few months have been really enjoyable. So many great folks in this community. So many great ideas.

I ask for the honour of your vote on Monday and I will put these great ideas into motion.

Thank-you..

And yes, I know I look goofy below… it gets better.

Not going to spend a lot of time on this… more important to get out on the streets as much as possible these last few days.

But there has been much talk about Trustee slates and endorsements by various “community groups” and unions. One of the endorsing groups was Our Ottawa – who came out with their endorsements for Trustee. They are as follows:

Zone 1 (West Carleton–March/Stittsville–Kanata West/Rideau–Goulbourn):  Todd Johnson
Zone 2 (Kanata South / Kanata North): Christine Boothby
Zone 3 (Barrhaven / Knoxdale):  Donna Blackburn
Zone 4 (Bay):  Theresa Kavanagh
Zone 5 (College): Pam Fitzgerald
Zone 6 (Rideau-Rockcliffe / Alta Vista): Bronwyn Funiciello
Zone 8 (Orleans / Cumberland): Lale Eskicioglu
Zone 9 (Rideau-Vanier / Capital): Rob Campbell
Zone 10 (Somerset / Kitchissippi): Jennifer McKenzie
Zone 11 (River): Shirley Seward
Zone 12 (Innes / Beacon Hill-Cyrville): Chris Ellis

Now. This is not a whine. Nor sour grapes. Folks are free to endorse whoever they want.  But…. I was checking out the Our Ottawa Facebook page. And these are the Admins for the page:

  • Phil Robinson
  • Jennifer McKenzie
  • Johanna Hove (Carleton CA)
  • Will Murray
  • Rob Campbell
  • Sabrina Bowman
  • Rick Devereux
  • Patrick Quealey

And they claim there isn’t a slate? I mean, I can understand the whole sign colour thing being a coincidence, but how transparent is it for obviously active members in an organization endorse themselves and those Trustees and candidates who share their views?

Just sayin’…

Oh, and I took a screen shot of the page because I suspect someone will be rushing to remove these names real quick-like…

October 20 2010
*For immediate release*
Trustee Brockington endorses John Marshall for Ottawa Carleton District School Board Zone 6 Trustee.
Public School Board Trustee Riley Brockington offered his endorsement on Wednesday to newcomer John Marshall for Zone 6 Trustee (Alta Vista and Rideau/Rockcliffe).
“Mr. Marshall has consistently shown both through his service to his community and throughout his campaign that he has the skills and enthusiasm necessary to be a strong voice for the Zone 6 community at the Board table. I am confident that his election would mean a truly representative and responsive voice for parents and other constituents in Alta Vista and Rideau/Rockcliffe.” Brockington announced on Wednesday.
Marshall responded that “I am very pleased and honoured to receive this endorsement. Trustee Brockington has a long history of service to the Board and his community and his confidence in me is very encouraging. If the voters of Zone 6 see fit to elect me on October 25th, I look forward to proving myself worthy of his endorsement.”

On the left, Trustee Brockington, on the right, John Marshall

Then click on this link. Go to Zone 6 and you will see the link on my name.

It sends you to the answers to a number of questions posed to me last week by the Ottawa Parents Education Network. They seem like a solid group with admirable goals.

Here is a summary of their mission:

The Ottawa Parents’ Education Network (OPEN) is dedicated to providing information on public school-related issues to people in the Ottawa region. OPEN was created by a group of parents who want to focus attention on what is happening in our schools and promote greater parent and community engagement in public education.  Our goal is to keep parents and community members informed about local issues in education and, in doing so, foster greater collaboration between parents, trustees and board staff to ensure that public schools are meeting the diverse needs of all students and families in Ottawa.

I think that regardless of whether or not I am elected, I will stay in touch with these folks.

After campaigning full tilt for the past month, I have found that among the majority of voters, there is a misperception or no perception of the role of the Trustee.  Young and not so young, high school graduates and PhD alike, there is certainly a disconnect when it comes to understanding the Trustee and their place in our system of local governance.

Yes, School Board Trustees are elected at the same time as are the Mayor and the City Councillors. And it is your democratic duty to vote for them as you would your Mayor or Councillor.

When you arrive at your polling station, you will be given 3 ballots, one (a very long one in Ottawa) ballot for your choice of Mayor, one for your Ward Councillor and one for School Board Trustee. Depending on which system you gave designated as having your support – through your property – taxes you will receive either a ballot for the English Public, French Public, English Catholic, French Catholic. You mark an X beside the Trustee of your choice just like the others.

So why bother? Say you don’t have children and never plan to, why vote for someone who is not going to impact your life?

Well, for starters, the children now are the Doctors, Engineers, Builders, Teachers, Emergency officers, Nurses, etc. of tomorrow. The decisions that the Board makes DIRECTLY impacts on how these children are taught, what they are taught and where they are taught.

So you do have a stake in this.

Plus, whether or not you realise it, you are paying into the system so why not have a say? Through your property taxes (they are buried in your rent if you are not a homeowner), your provincial taxes and the HST you are paying… and paying big! The OCDSB, for example, has a budget of $700 million! That is not chicken feed.

Finally -and this is a pet reason of my own – by not voting, you are sending the message to Queens Park that local control over education decision making is not important.

Since the Harris days, power has gradually shifted from our local communities to the Province of Ontario. Provincial officials are making decisions that affect Ottawa families and I strongly believe that these decisions are best made by local communities.

The Boards do still have considerable authority. They choose which programs are offered in which schools. ESL, French Immersion, Gifted Programs – all are under the authority of the Board. They choose to open schools or close (gulp!) them. They vote on student transportation, programs with the broader community.

They are responsible for our schools’ infrastructure and the safety of our kids.

Their role – albeit diminished from past years – is vital to our City.

In short, please do vote for your Trustee. Even if you don’t vote for me, at least cast a vote. This is democracy in action!

October 12 Press Release

Posted: October 14, 2010 in Media
Tags: ,

October 12, 2010

*For immediate release*

Public School Board Candidate for Zone 6 outlines Trustee communication strategy

John Marshall, Zone 6 candidate (Alta Vista Rideau-Rockcliffe) announced today his plans for improving communications between the School Board, the Trustee and their communities.

“If we are to preserve local control over local education, we have to build better connections between the Board and their constituents. Just the other day, someone said to me: ‘Really? We vote for our School Board Trustees?’”
“This disconnect has to be addressed”.

Mr. Marshall is proposing a four-pronged approach to improving communications

  • Community response service standards will be set and implemented. If a family or another member of the community has a question or concern, it will be acknowledged within 24 hours
  • Engaging constituents through the Trustee website and social media like Facebook and Twitter. Not all communication problems can be solved digitally – but it does help, especially with younger members of our communities.
  • Marshall will form a Zone-wide Trustee Advisory Group that will meet regularly and will help guide him in over the next 4 years.
  • A motion will be introduced asking staff to look into the feasibility of live-streaming Board meetings as well as other ways to make proceedings more visible and transparent.

“These measures will improve communications between the school communities in Alta Vista and Rideau-Rockcliffe and the OCDSB. And this will make me a more effective Trustee.”

Mr. Marshall notes that through better communication and responsiveness, Ottawa families will learn more and become more engaged in Board activities.  And with the communities better engaged, Trustees will be able to count on support the next time Queen’s Park cuts funding or tries to take education decisions away from local elected representatives.

“We need to raise the bar on engagement with Ottawa families if we are to preserve local control of local education.”

-30-

 

Tomorrow:

Advance poll for Alta Vista: Jim Durrell Complex, 1265 Walkley Road,10 am – 8 pm

Advance poll for Rideau-Rockcliffe:  Rockcliffe Park Community Centre, 380 Springfield Road, 10 am – 8 pm

Remember to bring ID!

Kudos to the Alta Vista Public School Council for inviting all of the Zone 6 candidates to their meeting last night. We were each afforded a few minutes to say a little about ourselves and our plans should we be fortunate to be elected.

Following that, a number of members of the Council asked some very important and probing questions, such as:

  • what did we see as the most important and imminent issues facing AVPS?
  • what plans did we have to allow parents to become more involved in decisions made at the Board
  • how can the Board make School Councils more representative of the school communities that they represent?

Good questions, all.

I have to say that Alta Vista / Rideau-Rockcliffe is fortunate to have three quality candidates from whom to choose. Our platforms may differ. Our personalities are not the same. But it was clear last night that each of us is fervently committed to the future of public education in Ottawa. Thanks to Bronwyn and Mohamoud – you both spoke eloquently and from the heart!

So why don’t we have more of these sessions? I am sure that the other two candidates would agree when I say that it is important for parents to meet us and hear our ideas. They can then form an informed opinion about whose name they will place an “X” beside on election day.  Informed votes matter.

Let me emphasize that this is NOT like the Mayoral and Council elections, folks.

No sniping. No put-downs. None of that. We are civil and respect one another for having taken the decision to put their lives on hold for a while in order to try to win the Zone’s Trustee seat – and if successful, putting our lives on hold for 4 years!

So, how about it, School Councils? We are happy – and eager – for an opportunity to attend one of your meetings sometime before the October 25th election, and to let you know what we are all about.

I love opportunities to do what I am doing this evening: meeting and interacting with a school community.

Like I have said, good communication is key. And good communication begins on the campaign trail but cannot end on voting day.

If you are an Alta Vista PS parent, come on out to the AGM at 7 pm. Trustee candidates will be joining the meeting at 8.

Last night’s airing on Rogers TV of some of the Trustee candidates in Zones 1 through 6 was quite informative. The range of preparation and talent in front of the camera was very wide. Some were very, very comfortable and completely prepared. And of course, others not so much.

I think I fell into the former rather than the latter though there were a few candidates whose experience shone through much brighter than mine.

And that is that as far as television goes in this campaign – as far as we Trustee candidates are concerned. Some candidates may have something planned independently, but unlike the Council and Mayoral candidates, our 90 seconds of fame on Rogers is pretty much it.

Happily, people are taking the initiative and emailing questions about my stance on certain issues… keeps me busy but I’m glad to do my part in keeping our communities informed.