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school board

Muzzling elected officials…

… is a worrisome development and one that has been codified by the Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB).

Trustee Blackburn is outspoken, no doubt. And sometimes, like all of us, she likely says things that she wishes she could take back. But Donna alone is responsible for what she says and how she says it and if her bosses (the voters of her zone in Barrhaven) do not agree, they will turf her out in 2018.

She is a fine representative of her constituents and works harder than any other Trustee I have seen. Some may not like her style or her politics, and that is fair, but it does not warrant what is, in essence, the passing of a motion of censure.

Go get ’em, Donna!


Citizen article on OCDSB playstructures

Great piece on the state of playstructures in Ottawa Carleton District School Board schools.

I’m hoping the Board steps up in the fall and ups its funding commitment to playstructure renewal projects. I, as a parent and member of school council, would like our school’s volunteer efforts to focus on other things aside from playstructures. Yes, they are an important part of our children’s physical development, but there is SO much more!

BTW, a h/t to not only Trustee Fisher, who is bringing the issue to the forefront, but to Trustee Blackburn who contacted me to clarify and elaborate on some points. This is how Trustees serve their constituency!

I wonder what my Trustee is doing… Oh. Yeah.

Too bad she doesn’t live in the riding. She might have a chance at increasing the Dipper traditional 13-15 percent vote share!


Whew, I’m glad our OCDSB Trustee is safe and sound…

… because the schools around Alta Vista and its neighbourhoods haven’t seen her since the 2010 election.

But here she is, shilling for the OCDSB Chair running for the NDP nomination in Ottawa Centre.

Whew. Folks have been worried.




The job of a School Board Trustee must be frustrating indeed… what kind of fool would consider taking on such a task!

Oh. Yeah.

Thanks, Cathy. I reckon your experience will be missed – at least by some.

OTTAWA — Kanata public school trustee Cathy Curry says she’s so sick of the board’s dysfunction that she’s calling it quits.

But before she goes, Curry’s also calling on the Ministry of Education to introduce sweeping changes to the way public school trustees conduct business provincewide and to launch an investigation into how Ottawa-Carleton District School Board trustees govern themselves.

In a letter to the board’s senior staff — and circulated to trustees Friday afternoon, Curry quotes one of the board’s former governance coaches, saying, “If you can’t change people, sometimes you have to change people.”


OCDSB Trustee

Pam FitzGerald is stepping aside
Given the current composition of the Board, I worry a bit about who will be selected to replace her and the process that will be used to do so.

Should be interesting, to say the least.

Thanks to the soon-to-be ex-Trustee for her service to her community.


Good on the OCDSB…

for the largely symbolic move to take part in Ottawa’s pride parade later this month.

I say largely symbolic because “inclusive” policies at the Board are already in place and staff and Board members consider intolerance toward any students for whatever reason as inexcusable. Forward thinking stuff.

But symbolic actions are important; especially in these politically and socially polarised times.

One thing that does surprise me though has been the deafening silence from those in the conservative corner of giggling journos and commentators. There are a couple of Tweeps (you know who you are) who I had thought would be all over this like dogs in a butcher shop. Maybe they missed it?


I need some help from the Ottawa Twitter and Facebook communities…

… in trying to track down some scumbags who defiled Pleasant Park School (OCDSB: JK -> 6… yeah, little kids) with some truly disgusting graffiti at some point over the past few days.

As in TRULY disgusting. Swastikas. Racist crap. The works.

The police are not likely to be able do anything other than log it as a report and look for similar incidents in the area. This kind of  crap is fairly rare. We have been pretty lucky in our community until now.

So, please re-post, and re-Tweet.  Maybe someone can come forward to the police with any info that may lead to identifying the worthless pieces of sewage who did this.



When questions were answered…

Before scripted responses in QP. Before “messaging”.  Before every utterance from a Minister’s mouth had to be cleared by the PMO, sitting MP’s actually communicated directly with their constituents and other members of the public. All by themselves.

Yes. They did. I’m not making this up.

I know that on all sides of the House, there are Members who do good riding work…. no doubt. But in these days of über controlled messaging, rare is the MP who will just thrown out an email or letter in response to questions. No way. What if they said something that was counter to party lines? What if they strayed from the key messages that the PMO (or party leadership in the case of Opposition parties) wishes to convey.

The Resident Love Goddess was rummaging through some old boxes in the crawl space yesterday when she came across this letter sent to her by Flora MacDonald who was then the MP for Kingston and the Islands. She asked for some information to help prepare for a school debate.

She wasn’t even the MP for my RLG’s riding!

Imagine. Asking a number of specific question about an MP’s stand on different issues – some quite divisive – and getting a clear and unambiguous response… not a form letter sent by a staffer based on a template approved by the PMO.


And that is how it should be. Any and all elected representatives have as one of their duties, the obligation to answer questions posed to them by the public. MPs, MPPs, City Councillors and even School Board Trustees are obliged to communicate with the folks who elected them. They have a duty to go to community functions like association AGMs and other major functions, openings of businesses, breaking ground for a new arena and even school barbeques. My MP does a lot of this “riding work” and does it well. He was at our Community Association’s AGM last week and, just like I and several of other parents, flipped burgers at our local school’s year-end BBQ. (Oh, and for the record, our School Board Trustee was nowhere to be seen.)

In any case, the days that saw speedy and complete responses from our MPs are largely over. Public Servants like Mrs. MacDonald would have had a difficult time functioning in this climate of muzzles and straight jackets.

And just to note, the Honourable Flora MacDonald just turned 85 and is involved with a number of volunteer organizations.


Ottawa election financial statements – I needed a fundraising coordinator

Gotta love transparency! True to their word, the mandatory financial statements as submitted by the candidates involved in last Fall’s municipal elections were published on the City website yesterday and WOW! Was I ever outspent! It is amazing how much $$$ some of the candidates sunk into their campaigns and how much they raised through contributions! Even the 3rd candidate in my Zone spent about 8 times more than I did (but he got only ¼ of the votes).

Bronwyn (the incumbent) spent $3,500 – which was peanuts when compared to the candidate who went up against John Shea in Orleans – she raised 11K! On the other end of the scale, ex-Chair Cathy Curry claimed only $600 in expenses… she was even more frugal than yours truly!

Note to self – next time, if there is a next time, find a fundraising coordinator!

Of course, as a statistician, I have to look at this using a common denominator – money spent per vote received. And  I guess on a dollar per vote basis, I rocked. Yay me.

  • Me – $0.17/vote
  • The incumbent (Bronwyn) – $0.48/ vote
  • The third candidate (Mohamoud) – $4.23 /vote

Some of the statements really blew me away! Aside from the one candidate who received over $11K in contributions,  Another sunk more than 10K of his own money into it! Another contributed $7,600 out of pocket!

Sigh. And there I am with my big 780 bucks in expenses.

A couple of lessons I’m taking from all of this:

  • Fundraising is a big weakness for me. I have a hard time asking people for money. I’m just not comfortable with it. I had a hard time doing it when I ran in 1993 and always when I volunteered to for one campaign or another.  Again, if I do run again, find someone who can help me with this.
  • Union endorsements = donations.  A quick perusal of the candidates who were endorsed by organized labour reveals that they all received some level of financial support from one of the teacher’s unions. I don’t have an issue with this, but next time, don’t expect me to fill out your long questionnaires if you have already decided on who to endorse beforehand! All I ask is for a level playing field. I don’t know what I did to offend organized labour in this town, but I suspect it may have something to do with a certain failed candidate who tried talking me out of running at the outset of the campaign… Hmmmm….

All in all, I’m glad that these have been made public. The amount of money spent by School Board candidates to win a job that pays a pittance shows a level of commitment to public service that other candidates at other levels of government should regard with envy – and aspire to!

OCDSB Zone 6

Total %
Number of Polls/Nombre de bureaux de scrutin 76
Polls Reporting/Bureaux de scrutin rapportés 76 100.0%
Total Votes/Total des votes 13127
Mohamoud Abdulle 1311 9.99%
Bronwyn Funiciello 7354 56.02%
John Marshall 4462 33.99%


Report cards for OCDSB schools – use with caution…

Here is how the OCDSB schools ranked according to the Fraser Institute school “report card” that was released on Friday.

As a statistician, I do have some serious issues with rankings like these – much like the EQAO testing process itself – there is no context presented in order to interpret these numbers fully. Unknown are factors that can greatly influence a schools performance, like:

  • the percentage of students in ESL programs
  • proportion of special needs students
  • family income and household education
  • and others…

The Fraser Institute says the following on their website:

By combining a variety of relevant, objective indicators of school performance into one easily accessible public web site, the school report cards allow teachers, parents, school administrators, students, and taxpayers to analyze and compare the academic performance of individual schools in an attempt to answer the question, “How are our schools doing?”.

Fine. Take this at face value, but the danger is that some parents will use tools like these as their ONLY basis of judgement about a particlar school. THAT is where I have a problem. Still, this is a tool that might be combined with others to help make decisions about the relative merits of one school over another. In that case, rankings like these can have some limited value.

Anyhow, here is the list. It would be interesting if someone organized these according to zone…

2009-10 Rank
Rank in the most recent five years School Name City 2009-10 Rating Rating in the most recent five years
1 44/2733 25/2327 Katimavik Elementary School Kanata 9.4 9.4
2 70/2733 107/2327 Knoxdale Public School Nepean 9.1 8.4
3 82/2733 514/2327
Hopewell Avenue Public School
Ottawa 9 7.2
4 99/2733 107/2327 Devonshire Community Public School Ottawa 8.9 8.4
5 122/2733 48/2327 Woodroffe Avenue Public School Ottawa 8.8 8.8
6 139/2733 171/2327 Briargreen Public School Nepean 8.7 8.1
7 229/2733 n/a Hilson Avenue Public School Ottawa 8.3 n/a
8 262/2733 n/a Osgoode Public School Osgoode 8.2 n/a
9 288/2733 292/2327 Elmdale Public School Ottawa 8.1 7.7
10 316/2733 142/2327 Stephen Leacock Public School Kanata 8 8.2
11 355/2733 n/a Steve MacLean Public School Gloucester 7.9 n/a
12 396/2733 259/2327 W.O. Mitchell Elementary School Kanata 7.8 7.8
13 423/2733 331/2327 Broadview Public School Ottawa 7.7 7.6
14 423/2733 411/2327 Adrienne Clarkson Elementary School Ottawa 7.7 7.4
15 423/2733 n/a Roch Carrier ES Kanata 7.7 n/a
16 459/2733 221/2327 Rockcliffe Park Public School Ottawa 7.6 7.9
17 459/2733 812/2327 Blossom Park Public School Gloucester 7.6 6.7
18 508/2733 1076/2327
Lady Evelyn Alternative School
Ottawa 7.5 6.3
19 552/2733 331/2327 Mutchmor Public School Ottawa 7.4 7.6
20 552/2733 331/2327 W. Erskine Johnston Public School Kanata 7.4 7.6
21 601/2733 142/2327
First Avenue Public School
Ottawa 7.3 8.2
22 601/2733 292/2327 Jack Donohue Public School Kanata 7.3 7.7
23 601/2733 567/2327 Castor Valley Elementary School Greely 7.3 7.1
24 601/2733 1137/2327 D. Roy Kennedy Public School Ottawa 7.3 6.2
25 601/2733 1208/2327
Terry Fox Elementary School
Orléans 7.3 6.1
26 767/2733 936/2327 Berrigan Elementary School Nepean 7 6.5
27 767/2733 1262/2327 Huntley Centennial Public School Carpion 7 6
28 767/2733 n/a Farley Mowat Public School Ottawa 7 n/a
29 828/2733 936/2327 John Young Elementary School Kanata 6.9 6.5
30 964/2733 567/2327 Fallingbrook Community Elementary School Ottawa 6.7 7.1
31 964/2733 1137/2327 Churchill Alternative School Ottawa 6.7 6.2
32 964/2733 1498/2327 Meadowlands Public School Nepean 6.7 5.6
33 1025/2733 873/2327 Castlefrank Elementary School Kanata 6.6 6.6
34 1025/2733 936/2327 Henry Larsen Elementary School Gloucester 6.6 6.5
35 1025/2733 936/2327 Roland Michener Public School Kanata 6.6 6.5
36 1025/2733 1324/2327 Vincent Massey Public School Ottawa 6.6 5.9
37 1114/2733 465/2327 Parkwood Hills Public School Nepean 6.5 7.3
38 1114/2733 1137/2327 Trillium Elementary School Orléans 6.5 6.2
39 1114/2733 1208/2327 Pleasant Park Public School Ottawa 6.5 6.1
40 1185/2733 1208/2327 A. Lorne Cassidy Elementary School Stittsville 6.4 6.1
41 1185/2733 2009/2327
Severn Avenue Public School
Ottawa 6.4 4.3
42 1244/2733 1983/2327
Manor Park Public School
Ottawa 6.3 4.4
43 1244/2733 n/a South March Public School Kanata 6.3 n/a
44 1358/2733 873/2327 Stonecrest Elementary School Woodlawn 6.1 6.6
45 1358/2733 1208/2327 Maple Ridge Elementary School Orléans 6.1 6.1
46 1476/2733 1262/2327 Leslie Park Public School Nepean 5.9 6
47 1476/2733 1498/2327 Bridlewood Community Elementary School Kanata 5.9 5.6
48 1601/2733 567/2327 Orleans Wood Elementary School Gloucester 5.7 7.1
49 1601/2733 1389/2327 Sawmill Creek Elementary School Gloucester 5.7 5.8
50 1601/2733 1607/2327 Alta Vista Public School Ottawa 5.7 5.4
51 1674/2733 1549/2327 Elgin Street Public School Ottawa 5.6 5.5
52 1674/2733 n/a Avalon Public School Orléans 5.6 n/a
53 1794/2733 936/2327 Century Public School Nepean 5.4 6.5
54 1846/2733 1549/2327 Greely Elementary School Greely 5.3 5.5
55 1889/2733 1652/2327 Robert Bateman Public School Ottawa 5.2 5.3
56 1889/2733 n/a Centennial Public School Ottawa 5.2 n/a
57 1944/2733 1778/2327 Roberta Bondar Public School Ottawa 5.1 5
58 1944/2733 n/a Dunning-Foubert Elementary School Orléans 5.1 n/a
59 1987/2733 567/2327 Dunlop Public School Ottawa 5 7.1
60 1987/2733 n/a York Street Public School Ottawa 5 n/a
61 2098/2733 1778/2327 Riverview Alternative School Ottawa 4.7 5
62 2098/2733 n/a Cambridge Street Community Public School Ottawa 4.7 n/a
63 2316/2733 1607/2327
Manordale Public School
Nepean 4.1 5.4
64 2356/2733 2009/2327 Hawthorne Public School Ottawa 4 4.3
65 2414/2733 2113/2327 Charles H. Hulse Public School Ottawa 3.8 3.9
66 2434/2733 1954/2327 Elizabeth Park Public School Gloucester 3.7 4.5
67 2477/2733 1778/2327 Heritage Public School Navan 3.5 5
68 2492/2733 2191/2327 W.E. Gowling Public School Ottawa 3.4 3.5
69 2509/2733 n/a Queen Elizabeth Public School Ottawa 3.3 n/a
70 2618/2733 2223/2327 Connaught Public School Ottawa 2.5 3.2
71 2618/2733 2305/2327
Robert E. Wilson Public School
Vanier 2.5 2.1
72 2633/2733 2147/2327 Arch Street Public School Ottawa 2.4 3.8
73 2639/2733 2320/2327 Queen Mary Street Public School Ottawa 2.3 1.4
74 2720/2733 2307/2327 Pinecrest Public School Ottawa 0.4 2