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Message from the Director of Education and Board Chair
Message from the Director of Education and Board Chair

August 29, 2019

Secondary Class Sizes

On June 5, 2019, we provided an update regarding provincial funding changes and its impact on class sizes at York Region District School Board.

Given the recent media attention to this issue, it is important that we continue to communicate with our students and families regarding these changes at York Region District School Board (YRDSB). To clarify, YRDSB and all publicly funded school boards across Ontario are required to transition secondary class sizes from an average of 22 to 28 students per teacher over a four year period. 

On August 22, 2019, the Ministry of Education sent a memo to all school boards to confirm and clarify the regulations related to class size and other matters. This memo states that, “Grades 9 to 12 class size requirements have also been updated to reflect a board-wide average of 22 plus attrition.” 

This confirms the information we received earlier this year from the Ministry of Education. At that time, our Board published a list of classes cancelled and sections reduced as a result of these changes. In June we also stated our board would lose over 90 teaching positions through attrition that would not be replaced as a result of these provincial funding changes. Currently, the number of teaching positions lost to attrition at our board is projected at over 110 and class size average at 24.7 students. It’s important to note that these numbers are not final and will continue to be updated as student timetables are completed and teaching staff resign, retire or take unpaid leaves. We have shared concerns publicly and with the Minister of Education that the loss of teaching positions has a direct and detrimental effect on student learning and well-being. 

As stated previously, we remain concerned about the effect these changes will have on the course options available to our students, and of the reduction of caring and supportive adults in our schools. 

We encourage families to continue to discuss their child’s education with their school principal or guidance counsellor.

Report f​rom the Integrity Commissioner regarding Whitchurch-Stouffville/East Gwillimbury Trustee 

On August 27, 2019, the Board of Trustees held a special board meeting to consider a report from the Integrity Commissioner regarding a formal complaint against Trustee Elizabeth Terrell-Tracey. This follows a report regarding the same trustee received at a special board meeting on June 17, 2019. 

The Board of Trustees considered the findings of the Integrity Commissioner and have approved appropriate sanctions in response to Trustee Terrell-Tracey’s breach of the Code of Conduct. 

The motions, approved unanimously by the Board of Trustees, regarding this matter are as follows:

Motion - Breach of the Trustee C​ode of Conduct

In accordance with the Complaint Protocol for the Trustee Code of Conduct and taking into consideration the findings and recommendations of the Integrity Commissioner outlined in Report 3 to the York Region District School Board dated August 16, 2019, regarding the conduct of Trustee Elizabeth Terrell-Tracey, the York Region District School Board finds that East Gwillimbury/Whitchurch-Stouffville Trustee Elizabeth Terrell-Tracey has breached the following sections of the Trustee Code of Conduct for the reasons outlined in the foregoing report;

  • ​Section 13: Discreditable Conduct

  • Section 14: Failure to Adhere to Board Policies, Procedures and Supporting Documents

  • Section 15: Reprisal and Obstruction

Motion(s) - Sanctions 

Taking into consideration;

  • ​​Section 218.3(2), Enforcement of Code of Conduct, of the Education Act, and the York Region District School Board Complaint Protocol for the Trustee Code of Conduct,

  • the extensive evidence, findings and recommendations of the Integrity Commissioner outlined in Report 3 to the York Region District School Board regarding the conduct of Trustee Terrell-Tracey, dated August 16, 2019, specifically a pattern of:

“behaviour contrary to the underlying principles set out in the Application of the Code, chipping away at its principles [through] repeated failure to adhere to Board policies, procedures and supporting documents, and engaging in discreditable conduct, and obstructive behaviour.”

  • the fact that the Board has found East Gwillimbury/Whitchurch-Stouffville Trustee Elizabeth Terrell-Tracey to have breached Sections 13, 14 and 15 of the Trustee Code of Conduct, and

  • the Board’s obligation to act in a way that is procedurally fair while upholding confidence in public education,

  • that, the York Region District School Board immediately impose the following sanctions, subject to Sections 218.3(6)(7)(8)(9), Enforcement of code of conduct, of the Education Act.

1. That the Chair of the York Region District School Board immediately make a formal, public statement censuring East Gwillimbury/Whitchurch-Stouffville Trustee Elizabeth Terrell-Tracey for violating Sections 13, 14 and 15 of the Trustee Code of Conduct by;

  • engaging in a pattern of discreditable conduct, a pattern that diminishes the professional reputation that the York Region District School Board as whole is trying to achieve and maintain,

  • not adhering to the Trustee Services, Governance and Standards of Conduct policies and procedures despite having received extensive training and opportunities for clarity from the Chair, Director and staff,

  • failing to put the public interest ahead of herself, thereby impairing her duty to act as a fiduciary, and

  • obstructing an investigation of the Integrity Commissioner.

2. That the sanction imposed by the Board of Trustees at the Special Public Board Meeting on Monday, June 17, 2019 barring Trustee Elizabeth Terrell-Tracey from attending private and/or public Board, Advisory and Board Committee meetings be extended for an additional 12 months until the end of June 2021.

3. That the sanction imposed by the Board of Trustees at the Special  Board Meeting on Monday, June 17, 2019 indicating that, “East Gwillimbury/Whitchurch-Stouffville Trustee Elizabeth Terrell-Tracey not attend any elementary and/or secondary graduations in her capacity as trustee until June 2020,” be extended for an additional 12 months until the end of June 2021. 

 

Sincerely,

Louise Sirisko                      Corrie McBain  
Director of Education           Board Chair​
​​​​​​​​​

About Loui​se Sirisko

 
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