Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
Editorial: The only solution
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 10 Feb 2006, p. 6

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Last week's release of a feedback report from Halton District School Board Director of Education, Wayne Joudrie, concluded that trustees must see beyond past conflicts otherwise, "this board will not flourish and be the best board it can be." At the same meeting, a heated verbal exchange between board chair Paul Tate and Oakville trustee Mary Chapin-- over published comments made by Tate in a letter to a Halton newspaper-- confirmed that the bad blood between these elected officials runs deep. Since the defeat of the board's policy governance model last May, trustees have remained divided 6-5 on most issues-- the exception being their unanimous support of Joudrie's appointment. Policy governance was a 2003 municipal election issue that catapulted several Halton trustees into office for the first time. Since its defeat, the board has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. First, well-respected educator Dusty Papke stepped down, taking with him a controversial $600,000 severance package. Within days of that announcement, two other senior staffers resigned. Late last fall, a leak of sensitive board documents revealed more than $54,000 was spent on an outside lawyer hired by Tate and vicechair Peggy Russell without board approval. While we agree with Joudrie's assessment that this school board could do greater things for education in Halton if trustees could get along, we also concur with Chapin that the divide between them is so wide, a truce among this group is unlikely. However, another solution is on the horizon. On Nov. 13 Halton residents go to the polls in a municipal election that will determine the 11 people who will serve public education through 2009. We won't know which of the current trustees are seeking re-election until nominations close on Sept. 29. After that, the power to force a resolution to the conflict will be in the hands of those who support public education through their property taxes.

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Date of Publication:
10 Feb 2006
Personal Name(s):
Joudrie, Wayne ; Tate, Paul ; Chapin, Mary ; Papke, Dusty ; Russell, Peggy
Corporate Name(s):
Halton District School Board
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Editorial: The only solution