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Toronto municipal election: Voters guide to school board elections

Ontario voters go to the polls Oct. 27 to elect their municipal mayor, councillor and school trustee.

There are 72 school boards in the province with 1,380 candidates vying to be a board trustee.

In Toronto there are 183 candidates running in four Toronto school boards that operate the publicly-funded schools.

A trustee is responsible for identifying the needs and priorities of the community whether it’s a French immersion program, a new school name or other vital education decisions, according to the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA).

He or she is often your first point of contact when you have questions or concerns about your local school. The trustee can also help answer questions, find solutions or facilitate interactions with the school and board administration.

“It’s critically important that all citizens vote and trustees, I think, is a very, very important role that people assume,” says OPSBA spokesman Jeff Sprang. “It’s a huge contribution — probably why Toronto is considered one of the most livable places in the world.”

Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know about the Toronto school boards and trustees.

Who can vote in a school board election?

To vote in the school board election, you must be 18 or older and a Canadian citizen.

If you are a resident of a municipality, you are eligible to vote for school trustees. If you are the owner or tenant (or spouse of an owner or tenant) of residential property in a municipality, you are eligible to vote for school trustees.

What are the four Toronto school boards?

Toronto District School Board (TDSB): This is the default. Unless you are qualified to vote for a separate or French school board, you will vote for the TDSB.

Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB): You must be Roman Catholic and a separate school board supporter or the spouse of a separate school board supporter. If your spouse is Roman Catholic and you are not, you’re not eligible.

Conseil scolaire Viamonde (French public school board): Your first language must be French and you must be a supporter (or the spouse of a supporter) of the French-language public school board.

Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud (French Catholic school board): You must be a Roman Catholic, your first language is French and be a supporter (or the spouse of a supporter) of the French separate school board. If your spouse is Roman Catholic and you are not, you’re not eligible. (Supporter refers to which school board the school portion of your property taxes goes to.)

Click here for more details.

What do school trustees do?

Trustees are elected members of the school board, the body that operates the province’s publicly funded schools.

They are locally-elected representatives of the public and they advocate for public education. Trustees set the budget for the whole school board district as well as policies.

They are also accountable to their communities and must consult with parents, students and supporters of the board when developing the board’s multi-year plan.

How many TDSB trustees are there?

The TDSB has 22 school trustees who cover 22 wards representing 588 schools. Each trustee receives a base salary or honorarium of $5,700 plus an additional amount depending on student enrollment for a total of approximately $25,000 a year.

Each trustee, who attend regular monthly board meetings, has an office at the TDSB headquarters at 5050 Yonge St.

Five of the 22 school trustees aren’t seeking re-election.

Click here for a list of current trustees and here for the candidates list.

Click here to find a school.

When does the current term end: Nov. 30.

When does the new term begin: Dec. 1.

How long is each term: four years until Nov. 30, 2018.

How many TCDSB trustees are there?

TCDSB has 12 school trustees who represent 12 city wards with a total of 201 schools.

Only the board chair has an office at the board’s HQ. The trustees typically work from home or own office.

Regular board meetings are held monthly from September to June.

Each trustee receives a base honorarium of $5,900 plus an amount for student enrollment for a total of about $18,297.

For a list of current school trustees, click here.
For a list of TCDSB candidates click here.

Click here for list of schools.

How many Conseil scolaire Viamonde trustees are there?

There are 12 trustees for the French public school board. In Toronto the Viamonde has three wards that cover 12 elementary and high schools.

Three of the current trustees have won by acclamation: Jean-Francois L’Heureux, Derrick Fournier and Pierre Lambert. The board chair Micheline Wylde is not seeking re-election.

Each trustee receives a base honorarium of $5,900 plus an amount for student enrollment for a total of about $7,358.

Click here for the current trustees.

Click here for the candidates.

How many French Catholic school trustees are there?

There are 12 trustees including two who represent Toronto for the French Catholic school board. Together, they represent 55 elementary and high schools. Nicolas Ayuen, Luc Gagnon and Yves Levesque aren’t seeking re-election. Six candidates are vying for the two positions in Toronto.

Click here for the current trustees.

Click here for the candidates list.

Click here to find a school.

The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association and its counterparts have put together a comprehensive website about what you need to know about the school board elections. Click here for more information.

Information compiled from City Of Toronto, Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, TDSB, TCDSB, Conseil scolaire Viamonde and Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud

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