I served from 2014 - 2018 as a School Trustee on the Toronto District School Board, and I am very proud of my achievements for students.
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
Co-Chair of Chinese, Italian, and Jewish Heritage Month Committees
Fought hard to bring awareness to the TDSB Repair Backlog; achieved $645 million in new funding 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
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. 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 Provincial Government to immediately include the TDSB in discussions on locations for the sale of marijuana when it became legal in 2018.
In August 2017, I fought 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.
I was the Trustee Co-Chair for many heritage month committees. I am proud to have been active on the Chinese Heritage Month Committee, Italian Heritage Month Committee and Jewish Heritage Month Committee.
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 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 my community in 2015 and 2016.
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.
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 and just 647 students. 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 to more than 900 students.
I worked hard to ensure solar panels were installed on the roofs of our schools in my community. This generated revenue for the TDSB which was used to support students.
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 received extra funding for a Theatre Technician, some had a Laboratory Assistant or extra office staff, but most schools did not have any of these. This was inequitable to all students including those in my community and I spoke up and led the fight to eliminate staffing inequities.