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Toronto Catholic District School Board

Open Letter from Angela Gauthier, Director of Education to Parents of TCDSB Students, Partners in Education and Public Stakeholders


November 21, 2014

 

This has been a challenging two weeks for all of us at the Board.  Our revised audited financial statements have now been approved and are posted on our website.  I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone:  trustees, staff, our union partners, parent advisory bodies and all our stakeholders for your support, professionalism, prayers, and most importantly your expressions of solidarity and collaboration in moving forward to find solutions together.

 

As you know, the situation we find ourselves in is the result of errors made during budget preparations. These errors were discovered by staff as they prepared documents for the auditing process. I want to thank our auditors – KPMG and our Audit Committee for their assistance as we begin the process of identifying the necessary changes to improve our financial reporting.

 

As I have already noted, board staff has taken full responsibility for these errors, and steps are being taken to ensure this never happens again. We know we need to work hard to restore public confidence.

 

I want to reassure everyone that the Board remains committed to student achievement and well-being as well as fiscal responsibility. Staffing levels are already in place and will remain unchanged.

 

Our number one priority is to ensure that the current deficit situation does not adversely impact students and staff in the classroom.

 

That is why early last week I imposed a strict moratorium on expenditures. Any expenditure $5,000 and over requires the review, sign off and approval of various parties. This is only a first step. More strategies will form part of our multi-year recovery plan.

 

Board staff has already begun to review all discretionary budgets. Our goal will be to ensure that reducing the deficit does not impact negatively on programming for our students in the current and future fiscal years.

 

These and other immediate measures such as:

  • Reviewing processes that ensure quality assurance;
  • Monthly financial monitoring and reporting enhanced by the development of additional micro-level analyses;
  • Developing additional levels of oversight; and
  • Improving checks and balances.

 

These are all part of a deliberate path back to a positive financial position.

 

We are also working with Ministry of Education staff in order to formulate a multi-year deficit reduction strategy and action plan to return the TCDSB to a positive fiscal position as soon as possible.

 

In addition, we are investigating how we can access the available expertise of other school boards through the Regional Audit Teams to help develop more rigorous best practices.

 

We also re-iterate our commitment that the parent and student voice will be part of future budget plans. Consultation plans for the 2015-2016 will be the most comprehensive ever undertaken, to guarantee all of our TCDSB stakeholders can be part of the solution as we move forward.

 

Angela Gauthier

Director of Education

 
 
 
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