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Letter: Reader urges formal investigation into the LDSB Board of Trustees

Photo by Amador Loureiro.

The following is a letter to the editor entitled ‘We need a formal investigation into the LDSB (Limestone Distric School Board) Board of Trustees.’ The views and opions expressed in this letter do not necessarily reflect those of Kingstonist.

We need a formal investigation into the LDSB Board of Trustees

I am the parent of two children in the Limestone District School Board. I would like to express my concern regarding improper governance of the LDSB Board of Trustees for the past number of years including lack of transparency, secrecy, deliberate interference in relationships between the board and the public and harsh censuring of trustees seeking to provide assistance to board families.

The ongoing pattern of questionable decision-making, including those regularly undertaken in private close-door meetings and out of the public eye (for example, the replacement of deceased Trustee Jackson), goes against principles of good governance and have fostered an atmosphere of mistrust and near severing of what should be an open and productive relationship between parents, students and the board. The board will say there is a process to be followed; I say that process is seriously flawed and needs to be redesigned. It serves the board’s personal interests, not those of voting constituents, and actively seeks to punish those trustees working to mitigate those deficiencies and honestly serve.

I have two step-children who attend(ed) school in a different board. That board holds all meetings open to the public, discusses all topics in open meetings, including controversial and at times divisive topics, has a public question period and televises all its meetings live on YouTube. Parents are at liberty to personally connect with individual Trustees, connect with them via email, phone or on their Facebook pages, and always get a personal response. Trustees regularly assist in personal situations, ensuring families are connected to the right resources, at times advocating for necessary changes, and this has fostered a strong relationship of trust and ensures Trustees are close to relevant, timely issues that matter on the front lines of education in their district. The stark contrast between that board and the LDSB are shocking and distinctly felt in our family.

The recent censuring of Trustee Hutcheon and former Trustee Mahoney (who was, incidentally, my Trustee, leaving our family without representation), demonstrates a pervasive pattern of this board in attempting to prevent relationships between Trustees and the public they serve. The disconnect caused by this type of censuring, along with policies which prevent board members from engaging with and assisting the public, goes against the function of an elected official.

Many parents and community members have come forward to the board in recent months with our concerns. I believe a formal investigation must be undertaken of the board’s governance practices as a show of transparency and good faith in the board’s commitment to the public interest.

— Constance Carriere-Prill

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