In a perfect world, the Toronto District School Board would receive zero attention. Its trustees and bureaucrats would hum away quietly in the background, dutifully ensuring the safety and functionality of the city’s 589 public schools. Instead, it’s a perpetual headline generator, churning out sordid tales of dysfunction, infighting and impropriety with such regularity that it’s hard to keep up. Here’s what’s wrong, and who’s to blame.
DONNA QUAN NEARLY SPARKED WWIII OVER $17,000
The evening of Wednesday October 29 was possibly the most absurd in the history of the Toronto District School Board. The board of trustees met in camera to discuss the contract of their sole employee, Donna Quan, the director of education. Quan is the most powerful school bureaucrat in the city, responsible for educating the TDSB’s 250,000 elementary and secondary students and managing its 38,000 employees. She first took on the position in January 2013 and initially had the board’s confidence. She and Mari Rutka, the diminutive, mild-mannered, consensus-driven trustee and wife of Toronto pediatric neurosurgeon Jim Rutka, sometimes met for tea on weekends. But after Quan’s first two years on the job—a scandal-plagued stretch punctuated by allegations of fiscal mismanagement, a forensic audit, police presence at board meetings, harassment allegations against a trustee, revelations of a shady deal with a Chinese government agency—let’s just say that confidence had eroded. Read the rest of this entry »
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