The Gazette erred - Director of Education Miller did not meet with MPP McMahon.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 23rd, 2017



We published a statement about meetings Director of Education Stuart Miller was said to have had with Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon.

No such meetings took place.

Miller did have conversations with McMahon, by telephone and they lasted a five or so minutes.  McMahon had questions about the process.

We have already apologized to Director Miller and will make our apologies to MPP Eleanor McMahon. There were extenuating circumstances – it was a long holiday weekend and people were not available. That doesn’t excuse the error we made.

The information we were given was false, and known to be false by people working to keep Bateman open. One, a former journalist, knows better than to make comments that she knew or should have known were false.

The other person the information came from was described in the article as a less than reliable source.

Stuart Miller said he and his staff changed their recommendation when they learned the full Central high school story and that their information came from the information that came out during the PARC process and documentation the Central parents made available to the board.

The Central enrollment, while not as high as the Board would like it to be, is understood to be stable.

“To close Central and have 600 students on buses every day would seriously jeopardize the educational experience these students would have and add close to $500,000 a year to transportation costs that they board already knows are going to increase” said Miller

“Closing central would not have done anything to enhance the educational experience.”

The projected Central enrollment was seen as stable. “And we did not make any allowance for whatever intensification might do for either Central or Aldershot: said Miller.

“We changed the recommendation when we learned the full Central high school story.”

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12 comments to The Gazette erred – Director of Education Miller did not meet with MPP McMahon.

  • Lisa Bull

    Pepper – really disappointed in you and this ‘apology’. From my perspective a genuine apology takes accountability for what you yourself did or did not do. It does not slander others. If you want the Gazette to be a respected source of accurate and accountable journalism may I suggest that you offer an apology to the ‘former journalist’ you have cited and move forward with doing your own work with integrity.

  • Tom Muir

    Central was never the target of the local political decision to build seats that were not needed at Hayden, completely surplus seats by the usual arithmetic of total OTG and enrollment.

    They chose to fill these seats with existing students from the other schools, thus moving the surplus seats to those schools.

    So here we are. Stunning dishonesty in fiscally responsible planning and decision-making.

    The targets, amply demonstrated in the data I have shown here several times, were Bateman, Robinson, Pearson, and Nelson.

    It’s the transfer and draining of those schools that destabilized enrollment at those schools.

    And Hans is right. If the Board staff didn’t know the full Central story, what the hell kind of job are these people doing, and what other stories have not been learned in full?

  • Hans

    Re: “Stuart Miller said he and his staff changed their recommendation when they learned the full Central high school story” – That would imply that school board staff had not done their due diligence before this process began, wouldn’t it?

    • Jim

      It is fact rather than an implication. More importantly it highlights how the process is flawed from day one (or before). The PAR is a discovery process in that real work didn’t start until the process had begun. A great deal of new and/or corrected information came to light during the process. Yet the PAR begins with a recommendation? Seemingly start with a solution and work backwards to support that solution. In the meantime anyone not ‘included’ in the initial recommendation assumes they’re safe and not impacted. At the same time keeping the spotlight and pressure on HDSB as small as possible for as long as possible.

      Why is a recommended option to close Burlington Central HS and Lester B. Pearson HS included in the Director’s Preliminary Report? Is this a final decision?

      No. One recommended option is required by the Ministry of Education Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline as well as the Board ‘s PAR policy, which is to be presented to Board of Trustees as a part of the Director’s Preliminary Report. This option is a starting point for discussions and community input for the Program and Accommodation Review Committee. Ultimately, it is the Board of Trustees who will make the final decision.

      • Hans

        Re: “Ultimately, it is the Board of Trustees who will make the final decision.”…. exactly true, and that is a major issue because the trustees should be able (and would be expected) to trust the Director and rely heavily on his advice. If they don’t trust the Director, they must replace him. We may have reached that point.

        Note that trustees are in their positions as the result of nothing more than a popularity contest; i.e., there is no meaningful qualification requirement. The Director and his staff are supposed to be the expert professionals, who will do the requisite due diligence and research so that the trustees can make sense of the problem and choose the optimum solution. I think the Director has failed the Board: res ipsa loquitur.

  • Colleen A

    Totally agree Ockham…I, too, saw the post on the Bateman Facebook page and who authored it. A person from Central attempted to take a stand and correct the ‘information’ that was shared, and instead of saying thank you for being corrected and preventing wrong information from going out, that person was jumped on & criticized.

    I find it interesting that the post is nowhere to be found now.

    I understand that people want to advocate for their schools. There have been some really good ideas that have come forth, and some wonderful examples of unity. BUT…the level of hostility, accusations & manipulation that has been seen, all in the name of ‘saving schools’ has really left a bad taste in my mouth. I cannot wait until June 7th, when this ugly chapter in our city will be over.

    • Teri

      The vote may happen June 7th but don’t kid yourself and think it is over. There will be a great deal of fallout and the students will be suffering for a long time to come.

      • Tom Muir


        Glad to see that at least another thinks the same thing.

        Unless there is a vote June 7 to close NO schools, this thing is not going away.

  • John

    The article also said Marianne Meed Ward met with Mitzie Hunter, that also needs to be retracted – she met only with one of her aides. I can only assume that was more false information provided by the Bateman supporter. I’ve seen the Bateman Facebook page as well and that is one negative, accusatory group of people.

    What exactly are they trying to say? That a Burlington City Councillor somehow convinced the Minister of Education, the highest ranked education official in Ontario, to instruct the Director of Education to close Bateman instead of Central? How could a Burlington City Councillor have that much pull? It is such a ludicrous accusation it’s embarrassing. It’s also incredibly insulting to Mitzie Hunter and Stuart Miller as they’d have to be unthinkably corrupt and easily manipulated for this to be true.

    I am not a Central or Bateman resident or graduate, but I’ve watched this process from afar out of general interest. It’s very disappointing to see the comments, accusations and ridiculous conspiracy theories coming out in particular groups.

  • Ockham

    Go to the Bateman Facebook page and it’s clear who the author of this factual distortion is – sadly, this is a consistent pattern of her behaviour. The Central people already posted online about their meeting with McMahon back in March; the discussion was about the need for a province wide moratorium on school PARs. Mitzie Hunter did not participate, only one of her aides. Now we learn that Miller never met with McMahon. Ergo, no smoking gun revealing the recommendation was a result of backroom dealings.

    I understand why the Bateman parents are upset. Nevertheless, they should not hand over the strategy to save their school to someone whose base instinct is to sling unfounded accusations in all directions; this creates no goodwill towards Bateman and will only lead to failure. To have any chance, parents must focus on the Director’s report: challenge his premises; and demonstrate why closing Bateman undermines the student experience while costing the school board more money.

  • Sharon

    “Closing central would not have done anything to enhance the educational experience.”

    But closing Bateman spending $12 million on a wing at Nelson enhances the educational experience for our CPP kids?

    I think Miller needs to look at Robert Bateman High School again. In fact why doesn’t he go spend a day there?

  • Denise

    This is a totally false allegation and it has taken this whole process to a new low. This outrageous allegation could easily be proven if Pepper Parr would call the person who was with me when this information was provided.
    To be clear, I was openly told by one of Ms. McMahon’s assistants, a highly credible source, that she spoke with Mr. Miller sometime after the March 7 meeting at Queens Park. That is the information I gave to Pepper during our very short interview.
    This was not something I made up to help keep Bateman open and those who know me well know that I would never stoop so low. Mr. Parr needs to run a correction to this correction.