I served from 2014 - 2018 as TDSB School Trustee for Don Valley East,
and I am very proud of my achievements for our community.
As Trustee, my top accomplishments in 4 years were:
97% attendance record
Elected Chair of the Budget Committee
Eliminated the structural deficit on a $3 Billion budget without making any cuts inside the classroom
Fought to keep marijuana stores away from our schools
Stood up to keep hate groups away from our schools
Created Chinese Heritage Month
Fought to bring awareness to the TDSB Repair Backlog and succeeded in achieving $645 million increase over three years for the TDSB
Was easily accessible to constituents because I held 32 townhalls in 4 years, with open Q&A sessions at the end
Added 4 new French programs, 2 new gifted programs, 1 new STEM+ program, 1 new autism program, and 2 new Specialist High Skills Major programs.
Attended 120 graduations in four years
Installing wifi in every school
Reducing portables from 24 to just 9*
Reducing Trustee Discretionary Budgets from $27,000/year to $11,780/year
Improving accountability by posting all expenses online
Fighting to eliminate staffing inequities
As the Chair of the TDSB Budget Committee in 2016, I worked with staff to eliminate the structural deficit the board had faced each year by reducing central discretionary budgets for all Superintendents. I also found savings in IT and transportation. In 2018, the budget was already balanced and no cuts were required.
In October 2017 and November 2018, I fought to keep marijuana away from our schools by creating motions which requested the City of Toronto and Province to immediately include the TDSB in discussions on locations for the sale of marijuana when it becomes legal in 2018.
In August 2017, I stood up against hatred by creating a motion to ensure our schools are not used for events promoting hatred. My courage was applauded by the Friends of Simon Weisenthal Centre.
In 2015, I made a motion to establish February as Chinese Heritage Month at the TDSB. Every February, students now learn about the history and contributions of Chinese Canadians in the past and today.
When I began the role of School Trustee, the TDSB had a backlog of repairs urgently needed of $3.3 Billion. Through holding ward forums, working with stakeholders like Fix Our Schools, getting media coverage from CTV, and working behind the scenes lobbying the provincial government, new funding was provided for the 15/16 to 17/18 school years allowing the board to complete many repairs such as repairing the roofs at each school in our community in 2015 and 2016, to replacing the windows and parking lots at Shaughnessy, the boiler at Kingslake and many many more.
In 2014 while campaigning for election, I heard of the need for better access to French programs. I promised to improve access to French programming and increased the number of programs in our community from 7 schools to 11. There are new programs at Cherokee, Ernest, O'Connor and Pleasant View.
Since 2014, I held thirty-two Ward Forums - more than any other Trustee. I gave each elementary school the opportunity to host at least one Ward Forum and always allowed any question on any topic.
In 2014 Georges Vanier was struggling with low enrolment. I began a new STEM+ program at Georges Vanier in 2017. It offers enriched math, enriched science, and enriched technology. The enrolment at Georges Vanier has increased from just 647 when I began in 2014 to more than 900.
I worked hard to ensure solar panels were installed on the roofs of our schools in Don Valley East. This generated revenue for the TDSB which was used to support students. Solar Panels remain on the roofs of Brian, Cherokee, Crestview, Dallington, Don Valley, Ernest, Forest Manor, Georges Vanier, Kingslake, Lescon, Seneca Hill, and Shaughnessy.
In October 2014, there were 11 portables in our area, and a twelfth was planned to be added in 2015. Through extensive changes, I worked with staff to create a plan to reduce portables by 67% from 24 to 9.* Portables are expensive, cold in the winter, and hot in the summer. Brian PS had 5 portables but will soon have just 1; Dallington had 1 portable but no longer requires any; Seneca Hill had 1 portable but no longer requires any; Forest Manor had 5 but will soon have 3; Broadlands had 5 portables but no longer requires any.
I voted for Trustee Discretionary Budgets to be reduced by 56% from $27,000 to $11,780. I published my expenses online for all to see
and I worked hard to improve transparency at the board.
In March of 2017, I revealed many staffing inequities that were not fair to our students. Some TDSB schools in Etobicoke and Scarborough received extra funding for a Theatre Technician, some had a Labratory Assistant or extra office staff, but Don Valley East schools did not have any of these. This was inequitable to all students including those in our community and I spoke up at TDSB meetings and led the fight to eliminate staffing inequities.