Two experienced senior educators have been appointed as the independent investigators to review the finances and management practices of Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board,
Education Minister Gerard Kennedy announced today.
“The education background of the investigators is consistent with the ministry’s overall approach to ensure the best interests of students are met first,” said Kennedy. “At the same time, it is vital that the public be constantly assured that every dollar of the very significant investment we are making on their behalf in education meets the highest standards of both
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educational and financial management.”
“We remain open-minded and optimistic that this step will help the board and the ministry to resolve the issues concerning the board’s financial status,” Kennedy added.
The investigation was triggered by the ministry’s concerns about the board’s ability to balance its books in accordance with the Education Act – despite a 19 per cent increase in funding in three years compared to an increase in student enrollment of only 3 per cent. Following the initial filing of a balanced budget plan, the board declared in December that it was planning
for a $15 million deficit. The board, its trustees and administration, and its schools will function normally during the investigation.
Bill McLean, former director of education at the District School Board of Niagara and the former Lincoln County Board of Education, will serve as the lead investigator. Mr. McLean has an extensive 43-year career in education, and holds a BA from McMaster University and a master’s degree in education from the University of Toronto.
Pierre Filiatrault, currently working as a resource with all 12 French-language school boards, will serve as a supporting investigator. He has been a superintendent of business since 1991, and has worked with le Conseil des Ã©coles catholiques de langue franÃ§aise du Centre-Est in Ottawa and with the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board.
The investigation will commence immediately and, while its length will be determined by the nature of the issues that arise, is expected to take approximately three weeks.
The investigators will submit a report to the minister that determines whether actions can be taken that would result in a balanced financial position for 2005-06. They will also provide recommendations for future action.
“We are in the second year of an $8.4 billion four-year plan to improve and build confidence in Ontario’s publicly funded education system,” said Kennedy.
“While we agree that more still needs to be done, we strongly believe that all boards can safely balance their books while providing a high-quality education for our students.”