The Upper Canada District School Board
Future Success or Failure?
Is there any organization today that can operate with lies, dishonesty and unprofessionalism? Long lists of dishonesty in business include Enron, Worldcom, Nortel, many Banks and others. When out of touch executives fail to have values of honesty and professionalism, failure is likely to result unless someone holds these executives accountable.
During the Upper Canada District School Board inaugural meeting on December 1, 2010 in Brockville, ON, the School Trustee meeting was webcasted live and is found at www.ucdsb.on.ca (Starts at 9:45)and click on Monthly Board Meeting Webcast. The School Trustees produced another disgraceful example of unprofessionalism which rival the discredited executives. Demonstrated in the webcast, are examples of dishonesty and unprofessionalism that appears to be systemic. It appears to be so systemic, School Board Trustees, they are unable tell each other the truth, never mind their constituents.
According to Director of Education David Thomas, one School Trustee was absent because of family illness and was needed at home to provide care. Of course, family is important and to ensure the School Trustee could participate in the meeting, a telephone call was made.
Unfortunately, the telephone call interrupted a party and celebration at the School Trustees house. Sounding intoxicated and annoyed for being disturbed during the party and celebration, the School Trustee displayed great skills and delivered a toast to his party guests. All recorded live on the internet and the only thing that drowned out the party was the continuous thumping sounds of individual Trustee jaws striking the table.
The School Board Values which include Responsibility, Honesty, Respect and the opposite was demonstrated by this School Trustee. Trust and professionalism is needed for a position of such importance and responsibility. To demonstrate honesty, respect and transparency, the School Board Trustees need to implement a rapid change of culture. They need to demonstrate this new direction by treating dishonesty like the courts have treated dishonest executives of failed organizations.
The Upper Canada District School Board is one of the largest businesses in Eastern Ontario that is overseen by the School Trustees. The School Board operates an annual budget of $335 million, has approximately 28,000 students and 5,000 employees in over 100 facilities. For many years, the School Board has made decisions that have had significant effects. Many individuals feel the School Board fails to listen to concerns and is at times dishonest and misleading. The recent example of dishonesty, unprofessionalism and sense of entitlement demonstrated by a School Trustee has to end immediately. The issues facing the School Boards today include school closures, staff reductions, service reductions, declining enrolment and budget pressures. These issues require complete trust by the public which has been eroded.
Using the examples of Enron, Worldcom, Nortel and other failed business due to dishonest executives, will the Upper Canada District School Board travel down the same road of failure; or will they immediately forge a culture of honesty and respect and travel down the road for success?
For the sake of our youth and future society, the School Board needs to learn from their mistakes of the past to chart a future of honesty, respect and transparency while delivering an effective education program at the lowest possible cost. Success must be the answer and waiting four years is a failure no one can afford.
Concerned parent/taxpayer of 2 children enrolled with the Upper Canada District School Board.
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