Kristian Chartier Responds to Davisville Questions
Davisville School Council recently wrote a letter to each of the three candidates running for the position of Toronto District School Board Trustee in our Ward 11, St. Paul’s. The letter shared some information about our school’s current needs and asked the candidates some questions.
Responses to these questions from candidate Kristian Chartier appear below:
Here are my responses to your questions. Please let me know if you require any clarification:
1. If elected, will you commit to ensuring that children at Davisville will be given the opportunity to learn in a physical space that meets their needs?
Absolutely. I find it troubling that five years after the Accommodation Review Committee (ARC) started its review, we have yet to make any progress. Even under a best case scenario, we’re still four years away from breaking ground. As pointed out by Dr. Eric Hoskins, MPP St. Paul’s, “Unfortunately, TDSB ranked Davisville Public School last in their priority submission.” After all this time, how can Davisville still be so far down the Board’s list of priorities? This is unacceptable and demonstrates a lack of leadership. I commit to making the Davisville redevelopment a top priority following my election.
2. Will you press the TDSB to ensure its capital allocation and other policies fully take into account the requirements of our dense, urban midtown location?
I will press the TDSB to allocate funds based on need, as opposed to geography. The TDSB has utterly failed to manage its capital projects. Since Toronto’s amalgamation, the TDSB has gone to great lengths to ensure that funds are equally distributed among wards and boroughs, regardless of population density. Quite predictably, this has led to chronic underinvestment in fast-growing regions of Toronto, such as Yonge-Davisville.
3. If elected, what will be the top three objectives you will seek to accomplish as a Trustee? And how do you propose to accomplish these?
My top three objectives will be:
1. Relationship building: Rebuild badly damaged relationships with the province, the community and the teachers’ union. For too long, the TDSB and the province have blamed each other for systemic problems which can only be resolved through cooperation. On a community level, I believe that small gestures, such as showing up at graduation ceremonies and Parent-Teacher Council meetings will go a long way towards building stronger schools and relationships with parents. Lastly, we need to end the adversarial approach to negotiations with teachers.
2. Transparency and accountability: The past few years have been eye-opening. Thanks to the Toronto Star’s excellent investigative journalism, we have learned that:
- Trustees have been involved in spending scandals, which included expensing luxurious overseas travel, as well as hotel rooms in downtown Toronto
- The TDSB pays contractors $143 to install pencil sharpeners and close to $200 to change toilet seats
- The TDSB may have interfered with Freedom of Information Requests into a spending scandal
Despite these revelations, nothing has changed. This culture of entitlement needs to end. Trustees who break rules must be held accountable for their actions. I promise to post itemized expense reports on my website clearly outlining how money is being spent.
3. In-Class Support for Special Needs Students: One in every 66 children is born with autism. Given the proper support, they can thrive in fully integrated classrooms. Yet, the TDSB forces special needs children into remedial classes and refuses to allow outside specialists to work with students in the classroom.
If elected, I promise to be a strong advocate for children with learning exceptionalities and fight for their right to participate in fully integrated classrooms.
4. How will you work with and advocate for the Davisville School community if elected as a Trustee?
First and foremost, trustees are community advocates. In order to be successful, trustees must be visible in the community. They need to build relationships with individual parents, teachers and students so that they understand the issues most critical to the people they represent and then champion solutions to those issues at the board.
As your trustee, I will be accessible to all members of the community. I will publish monthly newsletters, commit to returning all phone calls within one business day and ensure that I don’t miss graduations, Parent-Teacher Council meetings and important events. In short, I will make myself part of the Davisville community.
5. Finally, we ask that you share with us why you want to be our Trustee.
I’m an educator. I started my career teaching children. Following additional studies, I became a teacher trainer and worked with the British government to deliver training to thousands of primary and secondary teachers in Africa. Today, I work in the learning technologies industry and manage the online education for over 35,000 students. I believe that my background has given me a solid understanding not only of how children learn, but also of how education will change in the coming years.