Inside this Issue[toc]
Ministry of Education – Key Initiatives
On September 6th, the Minister of Education and the Premier announced the government’s next steps in meeting the objectives of its “Achieving Excellence” strategy for education in Ontario. Key work and funding will be focused on the Well-Being Strategy and a comprehensive review and public consultation on the province’s Kindergarten to grade 12 school curriculum. A memo from OCSTA’s president was issued to all Chairs and Directors of Education regarding this announcement.
On September 7th, the Ministry of Education released the “Education Equity Action Plan” that has a stated objective to reduce systemic barriers to student achievement and well-being.
Details on all of these initiatives are contained in the following government news releases:
New Ontario Municipal Election Cycle
On June 7, 2016, the government of Ontario passed amendments to the Municipal Elections Act, 1996. The Municipal Modernization Act, 2016 or Bill 181 introduced the following key changes for the administration of municipal and school board elections beginning in 2018.
Election Calendar for Municipal Councilors and School Board Trustees
The first day that nominations can be filed for a regular election is May 1. The deadline for all nominations is the fourth Friday of July (July 27, 2018). The date of all municipal elections is now the fourth Monday in October or for 2018 October 22. The four year term of office begins on December 1, 2018 but will change to November 15 beginning in 2022.
Bill 181 also allows municipalities the option to use ranked ballot voting, beginning in the 2018 municipal elections. Ranked ballots will allow a voter to rank candidates in order of preference.
Bill 181 also has new rules for municipal and school board elections. For example, corporate and union contributions to candidates is banned in every municipality across the province as well as providing for regulations to set out spending limits on post-campaign spending on gifts and parties.
The bill introduced a framework to regulate third-party advertising, which includes contribution and spending limits. Only contributors who are eligible under the bill will be able to register as a third party. Third parties also have to identify themselves on signs and advertisements. Spending limits for third-party advertising will be set out in a regulation. The act defines third-party advertising as advertisements supporting or opposing a candidate.
School boards are now required to establish policies regarding the use of board resources during a campaign. Boards must also have policies prior to the election setting out additional conditions for an automatic recount of ballots. Municipal clerks will determine the dates and times for advance voting, reduced voting hours in certain institutions and early opening on voting day.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Stephen Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fall Regional Meetings
Monday, September. 18
Tuesday, September 19
Wednesday, Sep. 27
Saturday, September 30
Saturday, October 14, 8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
To register online for OCSTA’s Fall Regional Meetings please click here.
OCSTA in the Media
I want to set the record straight on Catholic schools
OPINION Aug 23, 2017 by Patrick J. Daly Hamilton Spectator
I am responding to the comment article in the Hamilton Spectator claiming that “One publicly funded system will cost less, save schools.” Particularly at a time when “fake news” is garnering much attention, I am compelled to correct the numerous intentional or otherwise inaccurate statements in the article.
Although he may be unaware or unwilling to accept it, the writer knows that Catholic schools in Ontario serve populations that reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of the communities in which they are located. Like our public school counterparts, Catholic school boards fully comply with all provincial legislative regulations including Section 42 of the Education Act and requirements of Bill 13 with regard to welcoming and inclusive school communities.
As a former public school educator, the writer knows that Catholic school boards are directly and/or indirectly funded by Catholic (separate) school supporters. As a result of reforms made to education funding in 1997, the revenue school boards receive through local property taxation in no way reflects the share of taxes supporters of each system pay.
He further knows that the most significant factor in the revenue school boards receive is student enrolment. Other than causing massive disruption and chaos, moving students from one system to another would not save money.
He further knows that in addition to enrolment, the education funding formula is built on a number of specific grants which are intended to recognize local circumstances, including student and community demographics. As a result, rather than receiving $1,500 to $3,000 more per pupil, Catholic school boards receive their fair share as determined by the funding formula.
For example, and as calculated using 2017-18 Ministry of Education GSN Operating Allocation, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board will receive $345.15 per pupil less than the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board; the Toronto Catholic District School Board will receive $226.34 less than the Toronto District School District Board; the Halton Catholic District School Board will receive $191.17 less than the Halton District School Board.
Having seen a number of poll results over the years, the numbers the writer cites in no way reflect reality. The citizens of Ontario know and appreciate that our province’s education system is recognized as one of the best in the world. Publicly funded Catholic schools have formed an integral part of this system and the fabric of Ontario for well over 175 years.
Their graduates, like those in the other school systems, have helped shape the wonderful province and country we live in today. As a former leader in an organization whose goal it is to have one union for all educational workers in Ontario, the writer refuses or fails to recognize the serious harm the creation of a monopoly would cause to the quality of education in our province. Parents and the people of Ontario know that rather than save money, municipal and school board amalgamation in the past has increased costs dramatically.
The four publicly funded school systems work together so as to improve the quality of education for all children. That spirit of co-operation and the structure of education in Ontario are to be celebrated and strengthened.
Patrick J. Daly is chair of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board and president of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association
OCSTA Short-Video Contest for CDSB Students
We’re pleased to announce that Stewards of Creation is the theme for OCSTA’s 2017 Short-Video Contest for students in grades 4-12 at Ontario’s publicly funded Catholic schools.
This theme invites students to demonstrate in a 2-minute video how they are protecting and caring for the natural, living environment that God has entrusted to humanity.
A true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”
Deadline for Submissions: November 27, 2017
Contest participants are invited to create a 2-minute video about the ways in which they are promoting and caring for the natural, living environment as good “Stewards of Creation.”
Contest guidelines and submission forms are located at:
PUBLIC SCREENING OF ALL SUBMISSIONS!
All submissions that meet contest guideline requirements will be shared with the public throughout the year via the OCSTA YouTube channel. In this way we hope that more parents, students, teachers, parishioners, and friends of Catholic education will be able to enjoy these presentations.
We are pleased to be able to provide the following prizes for the top 3 videos at both the elementary and secondary levels:
First place: $300 Best Buy Gift Certificate
Second place: $150 Best Buy Gift Certificate
Third place: $100 Indigo Gift Certificate
The winning entries will be announced at OCSTA’s annual Catholic Trustees Seminar in January.
We thank the students, teachers and trustees of all our Catholic school boards for their continued support of this celebration and promotion of Catholic education in Ontario. For more information about this initiative, please contact Sharon McMillan, OCSTA Director of Communications – smcmillan[at]ocsta.on.ca / 416-932-9460, ext. 232.
Addressing Copyright Protected Materials in Schools
OCSTA recently issued a memo to Chairs and Directors of Education regarding the development of a range of communications materials and online-resources to support school principals in communicating to teachers the parameters under which material can be copied as per copyright law and the Fair Dealings guidelines.
A new and helpful resource on this matter can be viewed at www.CopyrightDecisionTool.ca. This online resource was developed by the Copyright Consortium of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada to help teachers decide whether an intended use of a copyright-protected work in the classroom is covered under Fair Dealing Guidelines.
Posters have also been developed for quick reference within schools. Fair Dealing Guidelines posters can be downloaded here.
For more information please contact Stephen Andrews, Director of Legislative and Political Affairs – sandrews[at]ocsta.on.ca.