Transparency and accountability could not be found during a Board of Education meeting.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 17th, 2018



Be it resolved that the Halton District School Board approve the resolutions from Private Session, May 2, 2018, respecting Property Matters. The motion was carried unanimously.

These motions are not unusual – they usually have to do with the purchase or sale of property for a school site.

The following day the Board of Education issued a media release advising that the Board had entered into a leasing agreement with the Halton Catholic District School Board for the about to be closed Lester B. Pearson High School.

The motion made in a closed session of the HDSB was suddenly a much different story.

The closing of the Lester B. Pearson High school was a very contentious decision that has the likelihood of at least two trustees losing their seats in the October election.

What is galling is the way the trustees handled the matter. They all had an opportunity to make a comment – none took the opportunity.

Miller in a huddle with Grebenc

School board chair Andrea Grebenc conferring with Director of Education Stuart Miller.

Chair Andrea Grebenc had an opportunity to explain to the public how the opportunity to lease a building the school board was not going to be using came about.

Stuart Miller, the Director of Education, who is a very hands on person, had an opportunity to take the public through the time line and use the opportunity to settle a very upset community.

Board staff are working very hard, so far successfully, to integrate the Pearson high school students into M. M. Robinson high school. Something like this takes people back to a decision that was very very hard for them to accept.

There are those in the community who are convinced the leasing deal was always in place – they two school boards were just waiting for the dust to settle before the papers were signed.

What is missing in all this is true transparency, true accountability.

Chair Grebenc had a responsibility to speak to the public – be candid, look directly into the camera during the web caste and explain the full story to the public.

The Director of Education had a responsibility to give the public all the details.

Based on what the Gazette has been able to learn – there was nothing to hide. The Catholic board needed some space for their Assumption high school students while their high schools was being renovated.

Why this Board and the Director of Education chose to let it slide by and hope no one noticed is troubling.

That not one trustee chose to say a word suggests collusion between the trustees and the Director to dummy up and say nothing.

The public deserves better. These trustees should be ashamed.

It really is all about trust – the Halton District School Board trustees betrayed the people they asked to vote them into office.

trustees 2018

Halton District School Board in session.

Salt with Pepper is the opinions, reflections and musings of the Gazette publisher.

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3 comments to Transparency and accountability could not be found during a Board of Education meeting.

  • Tom Muir

    I learned that all the characters of this Board do what they want because they can. And if they don’t want transparency and accountability, there will not be any. That’s the way the place works.

    The Chair Grebenc actually said to Papin, who seconded the motion of resolution in the first sentence of this story, something like, “you don’t really want to discuss this do you?”. She did not, and no other Trustee, or the Director did either.

    They alone decide the spoken truth, and to top it off, they can make this decision in private session, behind closed doors, and the records of this can remain a secret.

    The recent PAR taught me that there is no moral compass here, and ethics are situational and conditional.

    I previously found a Chinese Proverb that is closely relevant to what was done here, which in my observation, voiced many times, continues what many saw throughout the PAR, and aptly described by the Gazette.

    “Where there is truth, no proof is necessary. Where there is no trust, no proof is possible.”

  • MrBean

    Many,many grade eight students graduating from C.H.Norton this join are heading up the street to Notre Dame instead of M.M.Robinson for grade nine this September.

  • George

    It appears that:

    1. The closing of Lester B Pearson and Robert Bateman high schools are an apparent swindle.

    2. The reassignment of catchment areas and feeder schools to remove students from Lester B. Pearson and Robert Bateman was part of the apparent swindle.

    3. The HDSB Director of Education’s initial report prepared before the commencement of the Pupil Accommodation Review (PAR) naming Lester B. Pearson for closure was a step in the apparent swindle.

    4. The absolute control and manipulation of the Pupil Accommodation Review (PAR) and the restrictions placed upon the parent participants of the PAR was another step in the apparent swindle.

    5. The switch from the proposed closure of Lester B. Pearson and Central high schools to Lester B. Pearson and Robert Bateman was a late change in the continuing apparent swindle.

    6. The Halton District School Board (HDSB) Trustees ignoring some 65 public delegations against the closing of the Burlington Schools was a managed process contributing to the apparent swindle.

    7. The HDSB Director’s Final Report to close the two Burlington high schools summarized the intent of the apparent swindle.

    8. The majority of the “Lemming like” HDSB Trustees who appear to be under the “Rasputin Like Control” of the Director voted to close the two Burlington high schools was to legitimize the closure apparent swindle.

    9. The Ministry of Education within 3 weeks of the HDSB Trustees vote placed a moratorium on all school closings, perhaps because they recognized the citizen’s resistance to the apparent swindle.

    10. The citizens of Burlington for both Lester B. Pearson and Robert Bateman were able to successfully request an “Administrative Review” of the PAR process to attempt to stop the apparent swindle by identifying numerous instances where the HDSB failed to meet its own policy requirements.

    11. All parent and concerned parties presenting to the Facilitator of the Administrative review felt the AR would recommend against the apparent swindle and in their favour due to the comments of the Facilitator and interchange of information.

    12. It appears the Facilitator had been coerced into supporting the apparent swindle by stating: “Based on my review and consultations, I conclude that, while there were violations of the Board PAR Policy, they were such that they had no material effect on either the deliberations of the PARC or on the final decisions of the Board.”

    13. In May 2018 we are told that the HDSB Director of Education received a phone call from the Halton Catholic District School Board regarding the rental of Lester B. Pearson high school while renovations were being made to Assumption high school. How fortuitous for the Director and the HDSB Trustees and the apparent swindle.

    14. May 2, 2018 the HDSB Trustees met in closed session (away from public viewing or published minutes and decisions) authorized the leasing of Lester B. Pearson high school to the HCDSB. Upon returning to the public session there was no discussion; otherwise known as hiding the apparent swindle.

    15. Citizens of Burlington who suspect we have been apparently swindled will have their opportunity to voice their concerns on two occasions:

    a. June 7, 2018 when the Provincial Elections are held and you will have an opportunity to replace both
    1. the Burlington MPPs who provided no evidence of support to the Burlington citizens and
    2. the Provincial Government.

    b. October 22, 2018 when Municipal Elections are held and the opportunity to replace the three Burlington HDSB Trustees who voted to close Robert Bateman (Andrea Grebenc, Leah Reynolds and Richelle Papin), and the HDSB Trustees who voted to close Lester B. Pearson (Andrea Grebenc and Leah Reynolds) plus Richelle Papin who did not strongly oppose the closing of Lester B. Pearson nor support the citizens who attempted to prevent its proposed closure.