Freeman Station gets a $4000 cheque from District 15 of the Retired Teachers of Ontario.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

October 31, 2017



Retired teachers

Retired Teachers of Ontario members presented the Friends of Freeman Station with a grant of $4000. Left to Right: Ron Danielsen, FOFS President; Ruth Miller, RTO Project Sponsor; Penny Hambly, RTO Awards Committee; Carolyn Hilton, RTO Awards Committee; and Claudia Stewart, RTO-District 15 President.

Retired Teachers of Ontario (RTO) announced approval of a grant application by Friends of Freeman Station (FOFS) to fund a computer control system for its historic model railway educational exhibit. The money will be used to purchase the central “brains” of a planned interactive, museum-quality model railway diorama depicting life in the village of Freeman (now part of Burlington) in the early 1900’s.

“The diorama, we envision, will eventually be an exciting educational experience for visiting school groups as well as the general public,” said Bob Miller and Ken Taylor, co-leaders of the FOFS Basement Diorama Railway Committee (BDRC). “We were pleased to receive word of the RTO/ETO favourable decision.“

cheque FOFSClaudia Stewart, President of RTO District 15/Halton, said, “We look forward to continuing involvement of our RTO members in the creation and operation of the diorama, and we see it as an important addition to the learning experiences of local youth and the general public – a nostalgic look back at life before airplanes, computers, and smart phones.”

Freeman Model B

One of the pieces of rolling stock that will be part of the diorama when it is completed and located in the basement of the Freeman Station

Brian Aasgaard, President of FOFS, says construction of the Lower Level Railway diorama will begin soon at the Burlington Junction Station, and will proceed in several phases. The computer system will eventually automatically control lights, lighting effects, audio and video playback, and movement of the model trains to create an informative and educational story of life in the village.

Freeman - model A

A larger look at some of the rolling stock that will be part of the diorama to be located in the basement of the Freeman Station. This equipment is on view at the Station until November 4th.

The diorama team includes approximately 35 persons with model railroading, diorama creation, and authoring interactive educational materials. Interested parties are invited to join the team. Skills sought include 1/24 scale modeling, scene painting, computer programming, teaching, writing, carpentry, G scale model railroading, and electrical expertise. More information is on our Web site:

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Resident expresses an opinion that appears to be held by many - when 194 of 213 parents in a school sign a petition - the numbers have to tell you something. Might be something the ward trustee would make a note of.

opinionandcommentBy Tony Brecknock

October 30th, 2017


Resident expresses an opinion that appears to be held by many – when 194 of 213 parents in a school sign a petition – the numbers have to tell you something.  Might be something the ward trustee would make a note of.

In 2009 Lester B. Pearson high school didn’t appear to be targeted – or did it? The sudden rush to build Frank D. Hayden Secondary School, and the need to fill it too, without a doubt led to the sacrifice of Lester B Pearson high school. The following are the actual utilization (UTZ) numbers for 2008/9, along with projections.

In the 2009 Application numbers, Pearson was at 120.2% UTZ and fell to 90.3% UTZ in 18/19 – neither a radical change, nor a tip-off to later. Lester B Pearson enrollment went from 768 to 577. This is more than sustainable.

M.M. Robinson band - both popular and energetic.

M.M. Robinson band – popular and energetic. Their school was spared serious consideration for closure when the data suggests they should have been looked at.

It would appear that MM Robinson high school wasn’t even considered for closure, why? MM Robinson high school (MMR) was at 93.7% and fell to 53.4%. Enrollment went from 1262 to 719. Why was MMR spared?

All the others are as noted in the 2009 records, and Robert Bateman high school is given the lowest UTZ at 43.9%, projected in 18/19. and seems targeted, as it is bolded in red in the application numbers, but still has 588 students, down from 1327. Perhaps with its’ regional programs the Halton District School Board (HDSB) feels it is an easier target with moveable student sections. This would indicate that the HDSB did not look at the school population as a whole, but rather at the school/students as segments to be moved at will.

Note that in the 2009 Application numbers, the UTZ projections are more muted than in the PAR numbers, with Central, MMR, and Bateman all below Board targets of 65%.

Pearson is again at 90%, and Nelson is at almost 96%.

In the recent 2016/17 PAR data, things change to Pearson parent’s alarm. From the sudden removal of Kilbride students and their redirection to Hayden, to what was just the beginning of the intentional depletion of Pearson’s student body – what happened here between the application projections, and the PAR numbers?

What else except the building of Frank J. Hayden Secondary School and the HDSB planned draining of students to fill it? Choices were made on who got hit, and that changed the numbers. Why then, were school trustee Peggy Russell’s warnings ignored that Hayden’s build would create the exact situation we found ourselves in?

These planning choices were made by the HDSB in advance, and were not really on the agenda for the parents.

This raised the issue that these choices should have been on the table if the PAR for Frank J. Hayden secondary school was done when, and as it should have been, prior to the decision to proceed with the build of Hayden was made, sometime before 2008/09.

Absent the performance of this PAR, it appears to me, that no one wants to be held accountable for this decision, and for erroneous or short-term planning which causes long-term ramifications. So it is reasonable that parents and members of the community are arguing for the need for transparency and accountability for this.

HDSB Parents at PARC 1 Jan 26-17

Parents from Central, Pearson and Bateman high schools were active observers in the PAR process.

Parent engagement on these choices could have been enabled by not structuring the PAR process the way it was by the HDSB. This structure mostly consisted of various closing scenarios and this pitted parents against parents. Only one option was about no closures, but this was overshadowed by 19 plus options in total, mostly about closures.

At outside PAR meetings, consensus said it should have been done differently, to avoid the conflicts that were built in. It was felt that something like opening it up to the PARC and parents, describing the problem as a whole, and asking for options and possible solutions to solve the problem, would make sense and that kind of process would work for parents.

Board school utilization - justificationInstead, the HDSB predetermined ahead of time what the problem was – low utilization and surplus seats – but would never acknowledge that this was caused by them in their deliberate plans and concealing of the facts. In fact, the PARC members were presented with the problem of which school(s) to close as their starting point, not as one of their potential outcomes.


Hayden high school is part of a complex that includes a library and a recreation centre plus a dozen portable classrooms. Many believe that the opening of Hayden resulted in the need to close Pearson.

So, the HDSB’s “solution” was to close schools in the south to eliminate the surplus seats and overcrowding they created by building a new school in the north without a Pupil Accommodation Review (PAR) to analyze and determine current and future needs in an open and transparent way. This did not work for parents, created crisis and conflict, and as such, the evidence of this presented by Lester B. Pearson and Robert Bateman high school parents was successful in convincing the Ontario Ministry of Education to conduct an Administrative Review.

This confirms that the appeal for an Administrative Review has merit, the PAR conducted late was inadequate, and the process followed did not accord with the PAR policies. This was a main effect of not having the PAR before the build of Hayden.

The HDSB made the decisions on allocating the enrollment before the PAR. In these PAR-based numbers, Lester B. Pearson high school goes from 112% UTZ in 2010 (actuals) to 61% in 2016, and to 50% in 2025. Big swing here from 90.3%. MM Robinson goes from 87% to 53% to 46% over the same time. Robert Bateman continues to fare the worst on UTZ – all the numbers are available.

central-stusdents-in-sanata-claus-paradeSo, Robert Bateman high school was chosen as well, and it appears that having had Central high school as the focus early on in the PAR process, was simply in an effort to create a distraction from the real agenda. What were the UTZ numbers, and arguments, that changed the initial closure of Central to Bateman?

I also wish to note, that somewhere between the 2008/09 application, and the PAR data presented in 2016/17 to justify two Burlington high school closures, Lester B. Pearson’s numbers were slashed in UTZ from 90.3% by 18/19 in the 2009 application, to 55% in 2020, then 50% by 2025 in the PAR numbers. Student numbers went from 577 to 319.

pearson-high-school-signIn addition, there is no explanation – it was a subjective HDSB decision. As you know, with the changes made in boundaries, feeders and programs, Lester B. Pearson was chosen to close, with premeditation… was Robert Bateman.

These policy changes were recognized as a key finding of our meeting as possible solutions that existed if partial reversals were undertaken. However, these changes were never seriously considered, as the HDSB was fixated on the empty seats and low utilization that they had themselves created. The HDSB never considered the actual board’s own data put forward by a community and the PARC members, looking at enrollment, and how the student experience and program offerings, depended on optimal allocation of enrollment, not maximizing utilization.

This fixation was apparent right to the final discussion and debate by Trustees at a Board meeting near the end. Options put forward, or questioned about, were dismissed by HDSB staff as not getting rid of all the surplus seats.

Incidentally, this dismissal was made by the same staff member that had supported, back in 2009, the building of these very same surplus seats through the build of Frank J. Hayden secondary school without a PAR analysis. It was suggested that since this enrollment focused option was factual, and based on the actual data from the Halton District School Board, it thus needed to be explored before a decision was made. But written delegations to support this analysis were ignored.

Remarkably, some Trustees had already written a school closing speech, and read it aloud, expressing their support of the decision to close our schools, prior to the final decision vote.

Voting by hand

The night the school board voted to close two of its seven Burlington high schools the meeting went so late that the vote recording software had gone off line and the votes were done by the raising of hands.

The final deciding vote was was made on the same night as more delegations were presented (against HDSB’s own 10 day procedural rule). Written delegation statements read that night had been prepared, submitted, and approved to present by Chairman Amos. So how much input did the final delegates even have?

This violation of HDSB policy, should without a doubt negate the final vote as they did not comply with their own rules.

The Pupil Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) really didn’t have much say in solving the real problem, as a member of the community put it, of optimally allocating the enrollment, and having that as a key discussion option on the PAR table. They did not get to communicate directly with the school trustees or vice-versa. All conversations or information was filtered through the board. Some PARC members certainly were hindered in sharing information with the community, all of which were PAR requirements.

It seems that the chief characteristic of this 2016/17 PAR is the planned sacrifice of two Burlington high schools, for a school planned and built without any PAR, in the north.

This was guaranteed to breed crisis and conflict, as it did.

So you see…..“There Is Merit To The Administrative Review”

Brecknock TonyTony Brecknock is a Burlington resident who is passionate about the school in his neighborhood that his School Board has decided to close. Mr Brecknock believes the Board is being less than candid with the people it is in place to serve and has set out his opinion on the Administrative Review that is now taking place.

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The natives are restless - Pearson high school parents think they have figured out what the school board is up to in closing their school.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 30th, 2017



There is no better news source than a citizen who has a vested interest in an issue – they are like a dog with a bone – they don’t stop chewing.

Parents from the Lester B. Pearson high school have been following events at the Halton District School Board very carefully – they think they have figured out what the Board is up to with the decision to close their community school.

On Wednesday October 18th, Stuart Miller, Director of Education was asked by Ward 4 trustee Amy Collard if he would expand on an article published by the Gazette in which we said the school board was well along with its thinking about how they would build a new administrative Centre.

A resident wrote us saying: “I watched with interest the Halton District School Board (HDSB) Trustee meeting of Wednesday Oct. 18, 2017 and in particular the question asked by Trustee Amy Collard to the HDSB Director of Education. Below are the question by trustee Collard and edited responses by Director Miller, Superintendent Veerman and Superintendent Cullen.

Collard and Miller

Ward 5 trustee Amy Collard glares at the Director of Education Stuart Miller during a very contentious debate.

Trustee Amy Collard questions: “… there was an article published two weeks ago, perhaps a little more than that, about the new administration building. And I was wondering if I could get some more information about how far we are along with this process and where the funding for that building comes from. Because there seems to be some concern that the funding comes from areas where the students might benefit from and if there will be any type of community consultation … and just what the steps are going forward and when we anticipate seeing the next report on this?”

In several of the paragraphs that follow the writer has kept the pauses that were part of the answer.

miller-stuart-onlineDirector of Education Miller responds: “… I read the article as well … and there is … ah … it is not … there are inaccuracies in it. Ah … we are prohibited from taking money that would be for student use …ah … prohibited from using proceeds of disposition … all those things to use for an admin. Centre. We can’t use any of these funds to build an education admin center.”


Superintendent Lucy Veerman

Superintendent Veerman states: “… any funding for new buildings would have to come from the sale of existing higher administrative buildings or anything that is not school related.”

Superintendent Cullen states: “… the … ah … status of that … as you recall we have been working on the original outline scope plan … in … in … broad-brush strokes around me. Some of the comments in the article … ah … again were inaccurate around the need for a … ah … new building in terms of the population of the staff currently and in the future. And that again was all outlined in the staff report not the article referred to.”

Trustee Collard asks a follow up question: “Is it perhaps … um … prudent to communicate as to the community that how such a building would be funded and perhaps engage the community a little bit on this?”

Director Miller replies: “… we discussed that and we suggested it is probably not prudent … um … at this point, … because I think it just … it stays out there for a longer period of time and I think … ah … we end up in debates about it … and so …”.

“I have attached a link – you can follow the conversation. might see the responses.”

Our writer adds: “Here is an interesting inaccuracy that ought to be pointed out:

“The questions by Trustee Collard to Director Miller and responses shown above are not reported, summarized or mentioned in the Trustee Questions and Comments 5.8 section of the Oct. 18th , 2017 Minutes of the Halton School Board Trustees meeting.

“Was the article Trustee Collard refers to “being published 2 weeks ago or perhaps before that” from the Burlington Gazette published on October 7th, 2017 and titled “Is there a link between the closing of two Burlington high schools and the plans for a new administration office?”

“The Oct. 7th article for the most part quotes the Halton District School Board: Accommodation Study for Long Term Administrative Office Needs which can be found appended to Feb. 17, 2016, Board Agenda and Minutes on Pages 61 through 91 (assigned HDSB Report 16038 dated January 29, 2016).

“I believe the only inaccuracy was the typographical error of the date of the HDSB meeting minutes of February 2017 instead of February 2016.

“I am surprised, that Director Miller mentioned “… I read the article as well … and there is … ah … it is not … there are inaccuracies in it.” Typically when inaccuracies are mentioned the inaccuracy is identified. However, it makes me wonder due to the speech pattern and stumbling of Director Miller whether the inaccuracies occurred at all or if this was an attempt to discredit without evidence the article? The same applies to Superintendent Cullen … “Some of the comments in the article … ah … again were inaccurate around the need for a … ah … new building …”.

“The article to which Trustee Collard referred did not state where the money was coming from so again, I wonder why amount of concern by the Director and staff other than answering Trustee Collard’s question?

“Remember: all the HDSB money comes originally from the taxpayer and therefore all assets belong to the taxpayer.

“Is this an attempt to deflect from the chutzpah (unmitigated gall or audacity are other terms that could be used to describe the spin the Director tried to put on this matter) of closing two Burlington high schools, then building a $29.6 Million administrative facility and stating “This is not a question of quantity of space, but rather of quality of space.” and “… and in turn, create a facility that reflects the Board’s values, resulting in the delivery of the highest quality education for the Board’s students.”

Those Pearson parents are like a dog with a bone – they don’t stop chewing.

Article on the Board of Education thinking about a new administrative building.


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Ministry of Education sets out where it wants to go with a review of how the decision to close a school is made by a school board.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 30th, 2017



It is a little like closing the barn door with the horses already out and on the run but “better late than never” is perhaps an appropriate phrase to describe the provincial government decision to take another look at the way the decision to close schools are made.

In a media release the Ministry of Education said it was committed to revising its Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline (PARG) and Community Planning and Partnerships Guideline (CPPG).

“We heard that there is a need to strengthen the pupil accommodation review process for all school boards and to better encourage joint responsibility for integrated community planning across Ontario” said Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education..

“Through this process, we will make certain that:

Utilization levels high schools

The Halton District School Board set out utilization numbers in their initial report that many parents looked questioned. The Ministry wants to see better information made available to the public.

“We are placing an emphasis on open and effective communication and partnership between school boards and communities;

“Decisions about the future of our schools consider a range of community and student impacts; and that Boards work collaboratively to consider joint-use solutions where possible.”

The Ministry statement pertained to both Pupil Accommodation Review and Guideline Community Planning and Partnerships Guidelines; this report will focus on just the Pupil Accommodation Review and the decision-making around school closures.

The ministry’s proposed revisions to the PAR aim to create a stronger, more collaborative process that better promotes student achievement and well-being and better recognizes the impact of school closures. The ministry proposes to achieve this by considering the elements.

PARC public - Dec 8 - 16

Public meeting participants responding to questions that we put on on a screen – Many felt that the questions were skewed from the get go and they began to mistrust the Board from the very first meting.

Revising Pupil Accommodation Review (PAR) timeframes:

Extending the current minimum PAR timeframe beyond five months;

Eliminating the minimum modified PAR timeframe of three months; and/or

Further extending time-frames under specific circumstances, such as if new closure recommendations are added mid-way through the accommodation review process.

Gerry Cullen

Superintendent of Facilities Gerry Cullen provided data that he admittedly found confusing – it was the best they could do at the time – the Ministry appears to be suggesting that school boards will have to do better.

Introducing minimum requirements for the initial staff report by requiring school boards to include:

At least three accommodation options (a recommended option, an alternative option and a status quo option).

Information on how accommodation options will impact:

School board budget;
Student programming /achievement;
Student well-being; and
Community and/or economic impact.

Promoting community input in the PAR processes by requiring:

School boards to invite elected municipal representatives and municipal staff to a meeting to discuss the initial staff report;

School boards to disclose municipal participation / non-participation in PAR and Community Planning and Partnership (CPP) processes;

A broader role for trustees throughout the PAR process, beyond ad hoc membership of Accommodation Review Committees, hearing public delegations and making the final decision; and

A participatory role for secondary student representatives in PARs involving secondary schools.

Reforming the PAR administrative review process by:

Extending the time frame to submit an administrative review petition from 30 to 60 calendar days; and
Reviewing the signature thresholds and requirements for launching an administrative review request.

Developing ministry supports, such as:

A PAR toolkit to standardize type and format of initial staff report information;

A template for use by community partners to engage boards with proposed alternatives to school closures or other proposals for community use of schools; and

New support for the review and validation of initial staff report information and community proposals by independent third parties.

The public consultation on revising the Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline will be conducted in two phases:

Phase 1: Discussion Questions

The first phase of the consultation will focus on collecting feedback on the areas of change listed above, as well as other proposed changes to the PARG.  This phase will run from October 12, to December 6, 2017.

Phase 2: Revisions and Editing

In January 2018, the ministry will post a draft of the revised pupil accommodation review guideline and community planning and partnerships guideline for further public feedback.

This draft will be informed by what we heard during Phase 1. The ministry will also post a summary of all Phase 1 feedback.

The Ministry is asking the public for input:

Do you think the ministry’s proposed revisions to the PARG will create a stronger, more collaborative process?

If not, why? Are there other elements the ministry should consider?

If yes, do you have suggested improvements or comments on the elements being proposed?

Do you think the above measures to support improved coordination of community infrastructure planning will work to promote sustainable use of school space in communities?

If not, why? Are there other elements the ministry should consider?

If yes, do you have suggested improvements or comments on the elements being proposed?

When making decisions about school infrastructure within communities, what measures could be conducive to fostering collaboration and cooperation between municipalities and school boards?

Pubmeet politicians BL-JT-PS

Several of the public meetings were packed – there were city council members at the meetings – there was a public that wanted information. They don’t feel they got what they were entitled to.

To submit your thoughts and ideas on revising the PARG please send your feedback with the subject line “Revising the PARG and CPPG” to

These are very wide ranging proposed changes.  Had they been place in October of 2016 when the Halton District School Board announced it was going to hold a PAR would the outcome have been  any different?

The public would certainly have had much better information.  The Gazette works from the assumption that an informed public can make informed decisions.

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DeGroote School of Business putting on a luncheon focused on digital marketing - December 1st

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

October 30, 2017



Digital marketing is more than a buzzword, but it’s also not a replacement for your traditional marketing efforts.

It’s a new approach that’s disrupting the industry by changing how you connect with your customers.

Something is brewing between the city and the University campus on the South Service Road. Mayor wasn't ready to let that cat out of the bag this morning.

Something is brewing between the city and the University campus on the South Service Road. Mayor wasn’t ready to let that cat out of the bag this morning.

The McMaster University DeGroote School of Business is putting on a presentation that will take place at the Ron Joyce Centre on Friday, December 1.

The panel of experts will be discussing and answering questions on topics such as:

Practical tips for using digital marketing strategically.
How to stay competitive in a digital economy.
The integration of traditional and digital marketing.
How to position and prepare content for multiple platforms.
How to build an authentic brand.
The challenges of managing digital properties.

Click HERE to register – $35 – includes lunch

The event is open to alumni, business community members, and students.

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Board of Education sends the Ministry of Education a pretty chippy response on the way Administrative Reviews are handled - but agrees to cooperate.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 30th, 2017



The Halton District school board sent the Minister of Education what can only be seen as a pretty direct set of statements on the way they see an Administrative Review of decisions they made being handled.

The decision the Board of Education made last June was something parents could ask to have reviewed. Any review however was limited to the process the board followed and not the actual decision made by the trustees.

Bateman - crowd scene with Bull

Bateman high school parents and students protesting the decision to close their school.

Parents from both the Lester B. Pearson high school and the Robert Bateman high school filed requests for Administrative Reviews. Of the twelve school groups across the province only the two in Burlington had review requests that were granted.

Read it all for yourself.  The letter is the Board’s response to the request for an Administrative Review made by both the Pearson high and and Bateman high school parent groups.

We are writing in response to the request received on July 6, 2017, for an administrative review of the program and accommodation review (“PARN) process undertaken for the secondary schools located in the City of Burlington which resulted in a resolution of the Halton District School Board (“HDSB”) to close Lester B.Pearson High School effective June 30, 2018.

HDSB staff were able to verify that 194 of 213 supporters who signed the petition are parents of students from the Lester B. Pearson High School community or participated in the program and accommodation review process. This represents approximately 49% of the June 30, 2017 headcount (397).

PAR bannerThe PAR was initiated on October 19, 2016, with the Director’s Preliminary Report being presented to the Board of Trustees at a regular Board meeting On June 7, 2017. Approximately eight months
later, trustees approved motions regarding the Burlington Secondary Schools PAR, which included the closure of Lester B. Pearson High School effective June 30, 2018.

At the outset we believe it is important to establish the parameters and ground rules of a Ministry administrative review of the HDSB’s decision to close Lester B. Pearson High School. The purpose of an administrative review is to allow an objector to challenge a school board’s decision to close an operating school on the sole ground that the board’s conduct of a PAR did not comply with the board’s PAR policy.

Voting by hand

School Board trustees voting to close two of Burlington’s seven high schools.

In the context of an administrative review, it is not open to a complainant to challenge the merits or reasonableness of a decision to close or not close a particular school. The trustees of a school board are elected to make those difficult policy decisions and the Ministry should not interfere with the proper exercise of a board’s discretion to use that power, which is granted under Section 171{1), paragraph 7 of the Education Act. Rather, the scope of a Ministry administrative review is limited to challenging a board’s decision to close a school on the narrow ground that the school board did not follow its PAR policy in undertaking the PAR process.

The merits of the HDSB’s decision to close Lester B. Pearson High School is beyond the ambit of a Ministry administrative review. The focus of this exercise is not whether the decision to close Lester B. Pearson High School was reasonable or financially prudent. Instead, the Ministry’s inquiry should be directed to the issue of whether the Board generally complied with the PAR policy in arriving at the decision to close the school. In order to succeed on this application for an administrative review, the complainant must establish a compelling case that (i} there was non-compliance with the PAR policy and (ii) the non-compliance was material such that the Board would likely have reached a different decision.

It is instructive to review the Board’s statutory authority to close a school. Section 171(1), paragraph 7 of the Education Act reads as follows:

171 (1) A board may,

 “… determine the number and kind of schools to be established and maintained and the attendance area for each school, and close schools in accordance with policies established by the board from guidelines issued by the Minister. “

It is clear from this provision that the organization and conduct of a PAR is to be based on a Board policy that is derived from a Ministry guideline. It is a policy based on a guideline. Strict adherence to such a policy is thus not required given the very nature of policies and guidelines, which are considered general rules and flexible. Strict adherence would be required, however, if a PAR were governed by the provisions of the Education Act or a regulation made under that legislation. It is therefore sufficient if the process undertaken for Robert Bateman High School maintained the spirit and intent of the Board’s PAR policy. We are confident that the PAR process in this case more than satisfies that standard.

The arguments raised by the complainant, although framed as process related challenges, are in substance debating the merits of the Board’s decision.

The Board of Education provided a detailed response to the complaint filed by each parents group.  They are extensive and will be set out in a seperate news report.

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Prime Minister announces a new tax program for the country's working class.

News 100 redBy Staff

October 29, 2017



The Prime Minister was in town.

He spent a couple of hours at the YMCA meeting with people who are taking part in a YMCA Employment Services program and then making an announcement that has national implications.
Burlington is now a Liberal friendly city and the crowds were adoring.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau being greeted at the Burlington YMCA

These Prime Ministerial tours are major productions with support teams that that amount to more than 25 people.

Security is thick – but not obtrusive.

For the first time in my experience I saw RCMP officers carrying rifles in special back backs that don’t give away what is inside them – these men are sharp shooters.

Easily ten plain clothes police – they are ranked by how close they can get to the Prime Minister. Each wear a button – a pin in their lapel – red ones mean they get close – they surround the PM – you have to get past them to get near the PM. The black ones are at the rear of the room.

There is always one, usually a nervous looking young man standing right beside the PM. It is a well-orchestrated event.

The first part of the visit had the Prime Minister in the lower level of the YMCA talking one on one with people taking part in the YMCA Employment Services program

As structured as the event itself was the Prime Minister didn’t seem to be WORD – he walked into the room – no one said a word – there was no applause. He was greeted by the head of the YMCA and asked a few questions and then began talking to the dozen or so people who were enrolled in the Employment Services program. Each was sitting in front of a computer monitor so the Prime Minister dropped to a squat and was able to talk directly – eye to eye to each person.

PM with students Oct 2017He spent a good fifteen minutes going from person to person – asking what they were looking for in the way of work and the kind of help they were getting.

It was quiet – the only thing that made it a bit unreal was the dozens of photographers and television camera operators hovering.

There was no grandstanding on the part of the PM – he was just in the room talking to people. His communications support people – there were easily six – maybe eight of them – were everywhere paying attention to the details – there had to be a glass of water at the podium and it had to be in a clear glass. .

When all the students had been talked to the PM said a few words and headed for another room where there was a group of about 75 people, all invited, in a room that had Canadian Flags and a backdrop of Canadian flags and a podium for the Prime Minister to speak from.

Justin Trudeau at YMCA

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meeting and greeting at the Burlington YMCA

Television cameras from every network in the country were lined up. The PM announced a 2019 federal investment of $500 million toward the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB).

Trudeau also announced a 2019 federal investment of $500 million toward the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB). The Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) will help those folks who are working hard to make ends meet and who are still struggling at the lower end of the income scale.”

With the speeches done the Prime Minister chatted with the invited guests then headed into the foyer of the YMCA where there were close to 100 people waiting to see him. Babies were held up for a Prime Ministerial kiss – two that we saw – and then out into the street where vehicles were waiting.

To ensure that this was a truly Burlington event there was one lone protester holding up a Save Bateman sign.

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Board of education has put out a call to all the three year olds - pay the school a visit and learn what you will be doing for the foreseeable future.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

October 27th, 2017



Beginning school is a big step for parents and children. The Halton District School Board wants to make that transition as smooth as possible.

Students at Lincoln Centennial public school. Ontario school boards are struggling to find low-cost options to school additions to accommodate full-day kindergarten. Some options may include bussing kids. Reading are Heyley Ta and Zeynep Coskan-Johnson. Feb 21 2013. Bob TYmczyszyn/St. Catharines Standard/QMI AGENCY

Inquiring minds

Throughout November, three-year olds and their parents/guardians are invited to attend one of four Kindergarten Open Houses to learn about starting school next year.

Drop by any one of the following open houses between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Georgetown Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 — Park PS (6 Hyde Park Dr.)
Burlington Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 – Bruce T. Lindley PS (2510 Cavendish Dr.)
Milton Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 – Tiger Jeet Singh PS (650 Yates Dr.)
Oakville Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017 – West Oak PS (2071 Fourth Line)

At the Open House, families will:

• Explore a Kindergarten classroom
• Learn about play-based learning
• Pick up information and resource material in a free backpack
• Access information about community agencies and resources in Halton
• Get information about before and after school care
• Connect with special education staff to discuss any developmental concerns

Children born in 2014 can start Kindergarten in September 2018.

Registration for Kindergarten begins in January 2018 and takes place at the school your child will attend.

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Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon did not speak about the Pearson high school parent Petition because she wasn't allowed to - rules.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 26th, 2017



A number of people were as upset as we were over the way the Petition made to the Ontario Legislature by parents from Lester B. Pearson high school.

The MPP who read the Petition into the record really bungled the job.

McMahon at JBH with Premier

Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon didn’t read the Pearson high school parent’s Petition into the record in the Legislature because she was not allowed to do so. She is a member of the Cabinet and as such isn’t permitted to speak. The Government Whip does that job on her behalf. McMahon would have done a better job.

Many people wanted to know why Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon didn’t read the Petition into the record.

Because she was not permitted to do so.

The rules for the Presentation of a Petition are pretty detailed

It is the responsibility of the petitioner(s) to arrange for a Member of the Legislative Assembly to present a petition.

Any Member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, other than a Cabinet Minister or the Speaker of the House may present a petition.

The Chief Government Whip may present petitions on behalf of Cabinet Ministers.

If a petition meets all of the requirements for admissibility, it may be presented to the Legislature in one of two ways:

Presentation directly to the House

During any regular daytime meeting of the Legislative Assembly, MPPs are given the opportunity to present petitions by reading them aloud to the Members assembled. Such presentation will be recorded in the official record of debates (Hansard) as well as in the official record of proceedings (Votes and Proceedings).

Tabling a petition with the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly

At any time during a Parliamentary Session, an MPP may file a petition with the Clerk of the House. Such presentation will only be recorded in the Votes and Proceedings.

Steve Armstrong + Cheryl deLught - Pearson

The Pearson high school parents are leaving “no stone unturned” in their effort to keep their school open.

The Pearson high school parents worked with the Ontario Alliance Against School Closures who directed them to the MPP from St. Catharines who also happens to be the Government Whip. The Whip’s job is to make sure all the members are in the Legislature when a vote is being taken.

Once a Petition is read into the record the government is required to respond.

The rules for that are:

Within 24 sitting days of the day on which the presentation of the petition is recorded, the government is required to file a response.

The response is delivered to the Clerk of the House and to the MPP who presented the petition.

The Clerk maintains an index of all petitions that have been presented to the Legislative Assembly during a given Parliamentary Session. This index contains the following information:

A brief description of the subject of the petition
The date the petition was presented
The name of the MPP who submitted the petition
The date upon which a response to the petition was received by the Clerk.

Margaret Wilson PAR Admin Review

Margaret Wilson is the Facilitator doing the PAR Administrative Review

Assuming the Minister of Education does respond – expect her to tell us that a Facilitator has been appointed and that the Minister is waiting for that report.

It is complex and riddled with rules.

There was a time when citizens were not permitted to Petition their government.

Let’s see how this plays out.

Related article:

Pearson parents Petition the provincial government – feel they got stiffed.

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Pearson high school parents think they got stiffed - again. MPP bungles their Petition

News 100 redBy Staff

October 25th, 2017



LBP George WardGeorge Ward has a problem – and he is really, really ticked off with the way a Petition sent to Queen’s Park was handled.

The people behind the Save Lester B. Pearson high school – which is scheduled to be closed in June of 2018 – sent a Petition to the Legislature.

A petition is a request that the Legislative Assembly of Ontario take some specific action (or refrain from taking some action) to redress a public grievance.  The action requested must be within the scope of jurisdiction of the Legislative Assembly, and the request must be clear, temperate, proper and respectful.

A petition must be addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

If all that is done properly – and they are sticklers about the form a Petition is presented in – then the Petition is read out during the time allocated for the Reading of Petitions.

One would have liked to see that Petition read into the record by the Member for Burlington.

Click to see how badly this was done.

Pearson enrollment - monitoring

The Pearson high school parents believe that the opening of Hayden high school and the changing of the feeder schools that served Pearson resulted in the need to close that school. They think they were short changed – to have their Petition bungled when it was read into the Legislative record just added insult to injury.

Ward wants to know “if the petition was scheduled to be read by this MPP from St. Catharines at the last minute because it was known that he is totally inept or because it is a plot to avoid announcing our petition on purpose.

Ward sketches out his thoughts on both scenarios.

Was the Member for St. Catharines totally inept?

The MPP from St. Catharines stumbles on his introduction and states “I see I am almost out of time” – why waste time with this statement?

It is fairly obvious that the MPP has not preread or prepared in any way to read the petition – evidenced by the stumbling, fumbling and reading while looking at the floor and being soft in his speech.

The MMP from St. Catharines also is the one to state at the end “I see that I am out of time” – why stop and sit down rather than carry on.

The Speaker of the House states “You can finish if you wish” to which the MPP from St. Catharines refuses.

Steve Armstrong + Cheryl deLught - Pearson

Cheryl de Lught and Steve Armstrong, the Pearson high school members of the PAR Committee.

Or was it a plot to stop the Save LBP?

Why was such an inept MPP from St. Catharines chosen to present our petition?

Why did the MPP from St. Catharines not prepare himself and read the petition ahead of time?

Why was our petition not read until the end of the session and ran out of time?

Why did the MPP from St. Catharines end his presentation with “I see I am out of time” and sit down?

Why did the MPP from St. Catharines refuse to continue with the petition when the Speaker of the House granted him the time to do so?

Ward thinks he will get a better response if he takes his complaint to Patrick Brown – Leader of the Opposition for his comment and corrective action.


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Grade 2 French Immersion information nights to be held in Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville during November.

News 100 redBy Staff

October 23rd, 2017

Beginning in September 2018, the entry point for the Halton District School Board’s French Immersion Program will be Grade 2. In the Grade 2 French Immersion Program, 100% of the instructional day will be in French.

French words imagesIn anticipation of questions parents may have before registering their Grade 1 child(ren) into the French Immersion Program, a series of parent information evenings are being offered:

• Halton Hills: Wednesday, November 8, 2017 from 7-8 p.m., Georgetown District High School, 70 Guelph St.

• Oakville: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 from 7-8 p.m., Garth Webb Secondary School, 2820 Westoak Trails Blvd.

• Milton: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 from 7-8 p.m., Milton District High School, 396 Williams Ave.

• Burlington: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 from 7-8 p.m., New Street Education Centre (Brock Room), 3250 New St.

Confirmation of attendance is not required.

Registration for the French Immersion Program is open to all Grade 1 students and will begin on Friday, December 1, 2017. The deadline for submitting your registration form is Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 4 p.m. No registrations will be accepted after this date.

Parents may use the following link to determine which school their child would attend based on their home address: Find My Local School.Scroll down the page a bit – you will see a form that asks for your address – that will tell you which school is closest to you.

Please be sure to visit the website for more details. Registration forms are available online or at your child’s home school.

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A year from today you will cast ballots to decide who will lead Burlington city council, the School Boards and representatives on Regional Council.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

October 23rd, 2017



A year from today the people of Burlington will troop out to the polls to elect a Mayor, members of city council and school Board trustees.

Who will be in the races and what will the issues be?

We now know that the current Mayor will be in the race; he declared that last week.

Meed Ward with Mayor Goldring: she is more comfortable with herself as a speaker.

Meed Ward with the Mayor.

Mike Wallace is understood to be lining up support and Marianne Meed Ward is understood to be on the same trajectory – one that will have her wearing the Chain of Office. That is something she has wanted to wear since the day she decided to move into ward 2 from ward 1 and run for that seat. She handily defeated Peter Thoem SPELL by focusing her campaign on saving the waterfront. She literally romped to victory in her second term and has grown to be a very effective representative for the people of ward 2 and has spread her impact into literally every ward in the city.

There is at least one new candidate for the office of Mayor. Aldershot resident Greg Woodruff has indicated that he plans to run.  Woodruff ran for the office of Regional chair in 2014.


Three of the our Burlington public School Board trustees sitting as observers during the PARC meetings.

Election of school Board trustees is going to be contentious. The decision by the Board of Education to close two of the city’s seven high schools has divided communities and set them against each other. Parents from two of the school scheduled to be closed organized and filed requests for Administrative Reviews which were approved by the Ministry of Education. A decision from the appointed Facilitator should be in hand before the election.
The public School Board issues are clear; the same cannot be said for the municipal issues.

How the waterfront is managed is still very much an issue; added to that is just how the city is going to grow in the next decade has to be determined. That the population will increase significantly is a given – the province has mandated that Burlington grow and the developers have for taken proposals to the Planning department.

In 2014 the city decided their Strategic Plan would cover a 20 year time frame rather than the traditional four years. That led to the creation of a new approach to growing the city based on the creation of four mobility hubs. The Mayor talked about the need to intensify while one of his rivals maintained that the city was already meeting the population growth targets.

Programs to meet the needs of the growing senior’s population became an issue that was being given more in the way of the public attention – not all that much more in the way of funding.

Public transit was found to have been seriously underfunded during the last decade – the need for as much as $1 million a year for a number of years was part of the discussion.


The planned look of the Joseph Brant Museum. The hope is that, weather permitting, the museum will open in 18 months.

City council decided Burlington needed to transform the Joseph Brant museum and approved a $10 million plus project.

Citizens will also elect a Chair of the Regional council. Each member of the city council is also elected as a Regional Councillor – basically half of their salary come from the Region.

In 2014 every member of Council was returned to office.

Nominations officially open on May 1st of 2018.

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Muir goes after the Board of Education for what he calls their ethical and moral failure.

opinionandcommentBy Tom Muir

October 21st, 2017



The timing of that PAR in relation to the timing of the Hayden build was perfectly orchestrated by the Halton District School Board (HDSB). The lack of a PAR for Hayden was denied as a point for discussion and the HDSB Board and Director of Education Mr. S. Miller worked extensively to keep it hidden.

Was there any transparency when it came to the Hayden build? Well, members of the community had to go to the Freedom Of Information in order to get any information at all to learn more about how Hayden was planned, approved with known consequences, and built regardless. It appeared that this consequential matter was buried by the Board at the very first Pupil Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) meeting. The parents never had a chance. Just having to go Freedom of Information (FOI) says a great deal about the motives involved.


Hayden high school – sen as the nicest high school in the city – Muir thinks it was foisted on the public ti justify closing two high schools south of the QEW

This decision by the Board to hide the facts of this was an ethical and moral failure. The PAR was started with dishonesty about how they planned and got us to that position, in the direct, known consequences of the Hayden build, and then it was hidden and covered-up throughout. The partnership with the city for more facilities is not a credible excuse, as this was something that happened after the fact of the build plan getting approved. The conception of the build, and the plan, had nothing to do with the partnership, which only came because the build was basically underway.

Reading through the Boundary Review of 2012, it is obvious again that Hayden could go to 1800 students, and that a PAR was justified then, on these grounds alone. Added to this, it was evident that most of the other schools were sure to be driven to much lower numbers. No warning was given to parents of these consequences.

While Lester B Pearson HS remained at 83% UTZ (utilization), there was no warning that this would change as the boundaries and feeder schools were chosen to feed and justify Hayden. MMR was projected at 48%UTZ, but was then favored with more students. A Bateman parent expressed her concern that her child’s special program would be moved, but was assured by the HDSB that programs would not be moved. These are just some of the reasons why parents are objecting to what was done.

Among other things, the FOUR top criteria of the Boundary Review (BR) were:

1. Balance of overall enrolment in each school in the review area to maximize student access to programs, resources, and extra-curricular opportunities.

There were no efforts to achieve this one, including in the PAR. With Hayden projected to an 1800 student enrollment in a 1200 student OTG, how can this criterion be claimed to be acted on and key?

This criterion was analyzed by many members of the community, revealing that balanced, optimal enrollment among schools would provide the best and maximal access to programs etc. – better than maximizing utilization, which is what was factually implemented. Again, how does this fit?

2. Proximity to schools (walking distances, safe school routes, natural boundaries)

Hayden has the second highest busing costs and moves 580 students, almost half of the On the Ground (OTG) capacity, and 1/3 of the high projected enrollment of 1800. On page 4, last line, in the Boundary Review report, it states that The majority of students attending the new Burlington NE high school will be able to walk to school. So how does this fit, as the busing data says it’s not so?

3. Accommodation of students in permanent school facilities and minimal use of portable classrooms

As noted again, there are 12 portables at Hayden and 6 more are stated as needed in future. These will house up to 600 overfill students. So how does this fit this key criterion?

4. Stable, long-term boundaries

SRA 100 as at 2015Certainly, it looks like no matter how overfilled Hayden was projected to become, and in fact did so, with portables, busing and 151% UTZ, the boundaries chosen, and feeders, that generated this result remained unchanged. This outcome, despite several other schools becoming under-filled and under-utilized, seems to reveal again the Board premeditated plan to close schools – the boundaries chosen by the board were kept stable, regardless of the cost of 2 schools.

SRA 101 as at 2015So they delivered on this criterion, even in the PAR. Again, how does this fit what the parents I think would consider a trustworthy and rational decision to contribute to the benefit and well-being of the students, and the community of schools?

Overall, the issue is not so much building Hayden, but that it was done without a PAR to provide information and analysis of the consequences for all the schools in the review area covered by a Boundary Review (BR). This BR was clearly inadequate and people were in effect deceived by a lack of dire warning of what was to be.

Admin Rev requests

The Halton Administrative Review requests were the only ones to be approved by the Ministry of Education

The “timing” of that PAR in relation to the “timing” of the Hayden build, and the resultant planned and deliberate building of seats that became surplus in south Burlington, is what inevitably led to the decision to close two schools. It should also be noted, that the two Burlington requests for Administrative Reviews are the only ones that have been approved out of the 12 applications from across the province so far this year.

Muir with pen in hand

Tom Muir

Tom Muir, a retired federal civil servant has been a consistent observer and critic of civic government.  He resides in Aldershot where he is an astute commentator on development in that community.  His views are his own. 

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Regional police now releasing the names of those charged with driving while under the influence.

Crime 100By Staff

October 19th, 2017



The Halton Regional Police are now producing an Impaired Driving Offences Summary which they release to the media with this statement:

The operation of motor vehicles while drivers are impaired by alcohol and/or drugs remains a serious concern for Halton Region. In an effort to bring more attention to the risk of driving while impaired, assist in identifying witnesses and reduce continued offences, the Service is reporting the following incident:

Name: Jennifer Lahey (37) of Burlington
Date/Time: October 18, 2017 8:14 p.m.
Location: Burlington
• Impaired operation of motor vehicle
• Impaired driving – over 80 mgs

Despite years of awareness campaigns illustrating why driving a vehicle while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs is dangerous, impaired driving remains the top criminal cause of death in Canada. The Halton Regional Police Service remains committed to road safety through prevention, education and enforcement initiatives.

The day before the Regional Police released the following:

Name: Harry Stecyszyn (63) of North York
Date/Time: October 17, 2017 4:00 p.m.
Location: Burlington
• Impaired operation of motor vehicle
• Driving under suspension

Public shaming seems to be the route to go.
Call a cab or call a friend and get a ride home.

Online newspaper like the Gazette are public for a very long time.  Everything we have ever published is still out there.  If you drink – just don’t drive.

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Pearson high school parent group looking forward to an open honest discussion with the Facilitator appointed to do the Administrative Review.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 18th, 2017




Steve Armstrong

Steve Armstrong, one of the leads on the request for an Administrative Review of the Halton District School Board decision to close two of Burlington’s seven high schools, thinks that the Ministry of Education decision to appoint Margaret Wilson as the Facilitator was an “excellent” move.

“I’m looking forward to working with her, and the Board, towards a healthy discussion about the process Burlington went through. There is considerable room for improvement in a number of key areas, and I know a good number of fellow PAR Committee members see similar opportunities.

Although the exact details of how Ms Wilson wants to proceed haven’t been shared, with her experience I trust it will be thorough, said Armstrong.

Admin Rev requests

Of the twelve requests for Administration Reviews filed the only two approved were from Halton – a positive sign for many.

He added that he learned recently that the two Burlington requests for Administrative Reviews are the only ones that have been approved out of the 12 applications from across the province so far this year.

“Clearly the Ministry of Education also wants to understand more about the actual execution of the HDSB Burlington Secondary School PAR.”

The government of Ontario has put a hold on starting new accommodation reviews, and has already begun an improvement process.

Perhaps one of the outcomes of our specific review might include a recommendation to test a better process.
There is within people that are angry over the decision the Board made the sense that the Facilitator can reverse the decision – that is not the case.

The Facilitator can recommend to the Ministry that they direct the Board to hold a new PAR. The only people who can reverse the decision are the 11 trustees.

Each of the high schools Bateman and Pearson, have taken different approaches to the request for a Review.
Bateman is believed to be talking a “human right” approach while Pearson is questioning the procedure that was used and the way critical information was not available to the public.

Margaret Wilson PAR Admin Review

Margaret Wilson PAR Admin Review Facilitator

Wilson started her job earlier this week – there is no word yet on when she might file her report.

Director of Education Stuart Miller has said that these reviews tend to be “paper heavy” and there are certainly a lot of documents to be gone through and a lot of questions for the staff on how they handled the PAR process.

The two parent groups, Pearson and Bateman, have not, at least not so far, chosen to work together.  The Bateman crowd has chosen to keep to themselves.

Armstrong believes it is in the best interests of the community if the two at least communicate with each other.

Pearson Administrative Review Request

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Well-known speaker and trainer, Mary Maciel Pearson will speak to parents about stress mental health issues, fatigue and feeling overwhelmed.

eventspink 100x100By Staff

October 17th, 2017



Popular nutrition and lifestyle coach Mary Maciel Pearson will be speaking next week at a free parent evening titled, Living Healthy is a Family Affair.

Presented by Community & Parent Partners for Kids (C.A.P.P. for KIDS), the event is to take place at the New Street Education Centre (3250 New St., Burlington) on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 7 p.m

Mary Maciel Pearson

Mary Maciel Pearson will talk to parents about high levels of stress family members can experience while touching on mental health issues on October 24th at the New Street Education Centre.

As a well-known speaker and trainer within the Greater Toronto Area, Pearson is a regular contributor to Vitality Magazine, Tonic Toronto, Neighbours of Oakville Magazine and the Oakville Beaver. In her presentation, she will address the high levels of stress family members can experience while touching on mental health issues, fatigue and feeling overwhelmed.

The presentation will delve into the many ways parents and children can be healthy in body and mind including good nutrition, physical movement and unique ways to stay connected as a family.

Admission is free but donations toward future speakers will be gratefully accepted.

C.A.P.P. for Kids is a partnership between Halton Region, Halton District School Board, Halton Catholic District School Board, Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK), Our Kids Network, Halton Regional Police Service, Ontario Early Years Centres, Burlington Public Library, City of Burlington, and the Halton Multicultural Council.

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Ministry appoints a former head of the Ontario College of Teachers to lead the Administrative Review of the Board of Education decision to close two schools.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 16th, 2017



Today, the Ontario Ministry of Education announced the appointment of Margaret Wilson as facilitator of the administrative review for the Burlington Secondary School Program and Accommodation Review (PAR) undertaken by the Halton District School Board during the 2016-2017 school year.

Margaret Wilson PAR Admin Review

Margaret Wilson will lead the Administrative Review of the Program Accommodation Review of the decision to close two of Burlington’s seven high schools.

“Margaret Wilson is a well-respected educational leader with significant experience examining complex education issues,” says Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board. “We look forward to working with Ms. Wilson and welcome a thorough, independent and impartial review of the PAR process the Board conducted.”


Parents at the first public meeting that addressed the school board’s wish to close two high schools.

In September, the Halton District School Board received notification from the Ministry of Education, granting administrative reviews of the Burlington Secondary School PAR. Requests for these reviews were submitted to the Ministry of Education by the Lester B. Pearson High School and Robert Bateman High School communities.

According to Ministry Guidelines, an administrative review is a process by which an independent, impartial facilitator reviews that the Board has followed its Pupil Accommodation Review policy. An administrative review is not an assessment of the decisions made by the Board of Trustees.

During this review period, the Halton District School Board will continue to keep student needs at the forefront. As such, the Board will continue to collaboratively plan for and implement the decisions made in June 2017. The Board will, however, be cognizant of minimizing the expenditures of the implementation during the review process.

The Board of Education Media Release doesn’t say very much about Ms Wilson – but she has certainly has a profile.

The Toronto Star reported on the work Ms Wilson did on the Toronto Bard of Education where she turned in a scathing report and an invoice for billing the government at a rate of $1200 per hour.

Here is what the Star had to say:

“Margaret Wilson, appointed by the province to look into dysfunction at the Toronto school board, was paid $1,200 a day ($150. An hour) for her work, according to documents obtained by the Star through a Freedom of Information request.

“As part of her final $48,034 bill, Wilson listed 40 work days in November and December of 2014, and January 2015.

“Based on an eight-hour workday, that works out to $150 an hour; for a 12-hour workday, $100 an hour.
“Review of TDSB: 68 interviews, read board + ministry documents, correspondence, previous reviews + audits & copious emails. Wrote report,” she noted in the expense form submitted to the education ministry.

“Wilson, a veteran educator and former union leader, also billed for two taxi rides at $17 each to the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association in downtown Toronto.

“Her report on the Toronto District School Board, released in January of last year, was a scathing look at both management and elected trustees and had been ordered after a string of scandals and amid concerns about then-director Donna Quan’s management style and secrecy.

Liz Sandals and Margaret Wilson

Former Minister of Education Liz Sandals, left, and education consultant Margaret Wilson.

“Wilson criticized trustees for meddling and exerting undue influence on staff, repeated concerns about a “culture of fear” identified in previous reports, as well as a revolving door in the top job, and noted an “acute level of distress” among staff. The report made 13 recommendations to improve the board, including looking at whether it is too big to manage.

Wilson, a former Registrar and CEO of the Ontario College of Teachers, will consult with local accommodation review committees, the school board and people who participated in the process. The mandate of an administrative review is to determine if the board followed its locally developed accommodation review process.

The Ministry of Education approved requests for an administrative review of the accommodation review process related to Robert Bateman High School and Lester B. Pearson High School, both in Burlington.

Wilson will begin work the week of October 16 and will provide the Minister of Education with a final report upon completion of her review. The report’s findings will be released to the school board and the public.

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Burlington Foundation releases 2017 Vital Signs report and a partnership with the Royal Bank that will focus on young adults as they transition into the workforce.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

October 16th, 2017



The Burlington Foundation shared the 2017 Vital Signs report last week.

The document is issued every two years and is seen as an important road map for where we are as a community and where the community can work together to make change happen in the areas of youth and young adults, mental health and wellness, housing, the environment and seniors.

Highlights from Vital Signs® 2017 Report part one:

Youth copy

• Connecting young people with opportunities is at the heart of building a strong and sustainable social fabric within the community. In Burlington, 16.5 per cent of the population is aged 15 to 29 years.
• Vital Signs finds that Burlington’s workforce is more highly educated than the Ontario average. Of those aged 25 to 44, 72 per cent have a post-secondary college or university education. This is good news as trends indicate that two-thirds of Canadian job openings in the coming decade will typically require post-secondary education or be in management occupations.Student debt

Mental health copy
• The number of reportable mental health-related occurrences was 1,656 in 2011 and rose to 3,102 as of 2016. This means Halton Regional Police have experienced a startling 87 per cent increase in mental health-related occurrences involving police.
• In 2016-2017, Joseph Brant Hospital’s Emergency Department had a total of 2,156 visits, an increase of 15% over 2011-2012, and 302 visits among those less than 18 years of age, which represent a 63 per cent increase over 2011-2012.Mental health

Housing copy
• Average housing prices rose from $454,627 in 2012 to $785,851 as of June 2017 – a staggering 73 per cent increase.
• 51.5 per cent of Burlingtonians live in single detached homes, 23.2 per cent in row houses or semis and 25.3 per cent live in apartments.Housing
Environment copy



• Halton Region is excelling at waste diversion – in 2015 alone, almost 57 per cent of the region’s waste from landfills was diverted. Efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle have led Halton to be ranked tenth amongst 243 Ontario locations.
• Local waters are cleaner. Hamilton Harbour has benefited from aquatic health improvements as well as improved water bird habitats. Vegetation has returned to Cootes Paradise Marsh and a multi-year habitat restoration project is being led by BurlingtonGreen in Beachway Park.environment

seniors copy
• Burlington’s senior population is growing – so much so that seniors are now our single fastest growing demographic. In the past five years alone, Burlington has seen a 18.9 per cent growth in our senior population compared to just a 1.3 per cent increase among those younger than 65.
• The wait list for long-term care housing is on the rise. Since 2013, wait lists have increased by more than 20 per cent. This means that right now, 2,616 people are on the wait list for one of 1,279 spaces. On average, only 32 spaces become available each month.seniors


Foxcroft tight face

Ron Foxcroft, Chair of the Burlington Foundation.

“Vital Signs serves two significant purposes,” says Ron Foxcroft, chair of the Burlington Foundation Board of Directors. “First, it enables Burlington Foundation to focus our leadership efforts and granting program on the most critical areas of need. Second, it’s a valuable reference tool for other local stakeholders to connect the dots between people, numbers and opportunity.”

“Vital Signs is about connecting people to numbers in ways that foster new understanding,” says Colleen Mulholland, President and CEO, Burlington Foundation. “As a community convener, the report helps guide us in our leadership role where we encourage conversation and support collaboration around pressing issues. Whether it’s championing access to mental wellness programs which continues to be a focus for us, helping seniors live more independently, or helping young people transition to the workplace ensuring a greater sense of belonging to community, we’re connecting opportunity to action.”

Due to the release schedule of the 2016 long form Census data, Vital Signs will be published in two parts. In early 2018 the Foundation will share the latest local information about Poverty, Transportation, Work, Newcomers and Inclusivity.

As part of its commitment to incorporate learnings from the Vital Signs Report, Burlington Foundation announced a one-year partnership with Royal Bank of Canada that focuses on supporting youth and young adults as they transition into the workforce. This one-year commitment will focus on bringing together leaders from diverse sectors, as well as young adults, to engage in dialogue and address the opportunities and obstacles youth face as they seek employment.

Foundation - foxcroft - Lever +

Ron Foxcroft on the left with Francine Dyksterhuis, Regional President of Southwestern Ontario, RBC and retiring Royal Bank vice president John Lever.

“As leaders within our communities, both RBC and the Burlington Foundation, have the ability to bring attention to issues impacting the Halton community through research, speaking and convening,” says Francine Dyksterhuis, Regional President of Southwestern Ontario, RBC. “Working together has never been more urgent. All sectors must join forces and mobilize efforts, energy and expertise to improve near-term employment outcomes as well as develop the evolving hard and soft skills of our young people that will be required across all sectors.”

The partnership will include an innovative educational event this winter.

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Pearson parent doesn't see the Program Accommodation Review Process as a done deal.

opinionandcommentBy Cheryl DeLugt

October 12th, 2017



The intrinsic nature behind the school closures in Burlington is clearer than most may think. For almost a year now the Halton District School Board (HDSB) has been instrumental in its’ ability to have consistently provided the community a false sense of good intentions when it comes to closing our schools.

Steve Armstrong + Cheryl deLught - Pearson

Cheryl DeLugt and Steve Armstrong with the message from the community.

Let’s face it….our schools were doomed, some would say…”A Done Deal”. Well, that was at least what was implied by the HDSB and how the majority of the community felt from the very beginning of the Program Accommodation Review Process (PAR). As the PAR process unfolded, it became more evident that closing a school or two was their primary objective.

The mere fact that our school was named and recommended to be closed in advance of any community input or public consultation, made it obvious the board had its own agenda, which in turn became the driving force behind the HDSB efforts to assure their plans to close Burlington high schools were achieved.

It now appears, to many community members, that the whole PAR process was intended to attain a controlled means of community input sufficient enough to claim community participation as part of the Halton District School Boards’ intent and plan to close two Burlington high schools. The process itself lacked honesty, transparency, logic, reason and effective community input. In addition, those who voted on the final decision were elected officials from outside of the affected communities, making the decision to close any schools in Burlington that much easier, or at least easier on one’s own conscience.

Fiscal responsibility to our community was by no means the predominate factor considered when making the decision to close our schools and if it was, a no school closure would have been given equal consideration. The cost savings of closing schools will be in the result of some staff savings and operating costs, but there will be added costs to decommission, insurance, maintenance, that will be added with closure. If one was to look at accounting for all costs, small schools such as Lester B Pearson are in fact more cost efficient on a per capita student basis than larger schools.


Was Lester B. Pearson high school “doomed” from the beginning?

Early on in the PAR process, it was apparent that there was reluctance and obstruction by the HDSB to engage in open and meaningful conversations with the general public and the communities affected by the school closures. This action alone revealed the school board’s lack of transparency and made many residents question the board’s motive for moving so quickly and forcefully to close our schools.


Kim, a Lester B Pearson high school parent

Perhaps the need for a greater emphasis on more open communication and input from our entire community including local and regional officials including the Mayor of Burlington, should have been actively part of the process. The Halton District School Board just recently announced its’ effort in exploring community partnerships now. In an effort of fairness, democracy, and the Ontario Ministry of Education principles, the HDSB had a moral and legal obligation to have explored other creative options more aggressively including possible community partnerships prior to proposing any school closures.

While the HDSB focuses their efforts on the transition process for Lester B Pearson high school and their desires for a “NEW” Administration building, many members of the community will now redirect their attention on the Burlington citizens appeal to the Ontario Ministry of Education now approved Administrative Review (AR).

With the AR soon underway, the need for better collaboration between the City of Burlington, its’ residents, and the Halton District School Boards prior restriction of information and the dissemination of correct, timely information in a transparent fashion will become apparent.

While the Halton District School Board continually reiterates to the public that the Administrative Review will NOT reverse their decision, it should indeed question it to a fair degree. The purpose of the Administrative Review (AR) is to thoroughly review the board’s honest commitment, integrity and ability to follow the HDSB and Ontario Ministry of Education policies while conducting the prior PAR process plus determine if there is need for HDSB procedural change.

LBP Rachelle Papin 2

Ward 4 school board trustee Rachelle Papin at a school council meeting.

In light of the approval of an AR, and with consideration of the facilitators findings, the community expects our elected Trustees to welcome the opportunity to openly review and change their June 7th, 2017 decision based on newly revealed supportive facts that the process they followed led them to a decision which was indeed without a doubt “flawed”.

After-all, how can and why would any school board or elected official stand behind a decision that they know was made using questionable methods, non- transparency and incorrect information and executed process?

A question we ALL should be asking at this point …especially the school board Trustees.


Cheryl De Lught H&SCheryl is a Registered Nurse who was a member of the Program Accommodation Review Committee that was unable to reach a consensus on which if any Burlington high schools should have been closed.

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Canadian Scouting has been co-ed since 1998 - Americans just announced they want to do the same thing.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 12th, 2017



It used to be called the Boy Scouts association. Not anymore.

The Boy Scouts of America (USA program) recently announced changes to their membership policy to allow girls into the Cub Scout program and confirmed that older girls will be able to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

Scouts Canada - Mikhayla Doroshuk and Terry Grant Chief Scout

Queen’s Venturer Mikhayla Doroshuk and Terry Grant Chief Scout

The Scouts Canada membership has been officially co-ed since 1998 and welcomes all to its membership regardless of gender, race, culture, religious belief, sexual orientation or economic circumstances and has always taken an inclusive approach to its membership.

Scouts Canada is a separate and distinct organization from the Boy Scouts of America.

Canada doesn’t have an Eagle Scout level – the Canadian equivalent is the Queen’s Venturer Award.

There is a very active scouting movement in the Region.

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