While most eyes are on the mayoral and council races, there are other candidates who will be vying for your vote in the Oct. 27 municipal election: school trustees.
Two of the four midtown-area Toronto District School Board representatives — Shelley Laskin in St. Paul’s and Sheila Ward in Toronto Centre — have filed to run again. Gerri Gershon in Don Valley West and Howard Goodman in Eglinton-Lawrence have not yet filed nomination papers, for very different reasons.
In the Toronto Catholic District School Board, chair Jo-Ann Davis (Ward 9 – St. Paul’s, Toronto Centre, Trinity-Spadina) has filed her papers, while Maria Rizzo (Ward 5 – Eglinton-Lawrence, Willowdale, Don Valley West) and Angela Kennedy (Ward 11 – Don Valley West, Don Valley East, Toronto-Danforth, Beaches-East York) have not.
Gershon says she has definite plans to run but just hasn’t found the time yet to file. Goodman, on the other hand, says he’s not sure if he will file at all. (Editor’s note: Goodman officially announced he would not seek re-election May 10).
“Four years is a very long commitment and it’s better that I take these things seriously,” he said, adding that he puts in about 60 hours a week for what is supposed to be a part-time job. “I’m 63, and 67 is a completely different age.”
Goodman says there are “a lot” of board issues he has been involved in that he’d like to see through.
They include report card reforms, forming an active transportation policy and strengthening accountability at the board.
“These are large issues, it’s what I expect of myself, and if I’m not prepared to do that for four years I won’t run,” he said. “However, if I believe that I can and I’m willing to then I’ll put my name in.”
Gershon says she also has issues that need to be seen to fruition, and that’s why she is sure she will be running again.
“On the local level, we’ve just started 12 new full-day kindergarten programs in our community that’ll be starting next year and I’d like to see them up and running,” she said. “The bottom line is, I enjoy connecting with the parents and being involved with the schools (and) on a personal level I find it extremely fulfilling and interesting.”
Likewise, Laskin cites “significant” projects she’s involved in that she wants to continue working on.
“There are some significant issues we still have with our facilities and the amount of funding we receive from the province,” she said. “I’d like to continue to be part of the advocacy for the TDSB.”
Davis said it was an easy decision to run for re-election as a TCDSB trustee, citing issues she wants to see through to fruition, as well as new initiatives on the horizon.
“I think it’s great, the progress we’ve made in the last few years, but I think there are some things that I’d like to be involved in accomplishing as a board,” she said. “I think it’s a critical time for a lot of different things and I would just like to be there as part of the dialogue.”
Rizzo and Kennedy did not respond to interview requests.
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