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Letter to the editor: LDSB’s focus is on student achievement – exactly where it should be

(L to R) Debra Rantz, Director of Education and Secretary of the Board of Trustees, Suzanne Ruttan, Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Andre Labrie, Superintendent of Human Resources and Schools for the Limestone District Board of Education at the inaugural meeting of the Board of Trustees on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. Photo by Nour Mazloum.

Editorial note: The following is a letter to the editor regarding the transparency of the Limestone District School Board (LDSB) and its Board of Trustees. The views and opinions expressed in this letter do not necessarily reflect those of Kingstonist.

There is exemplary teaching and learning happening in the Limestone District School Board because of the collaborative and caring relationship of our educators, support staff, administrators, families and trustees who work together to support our students – our reason for being.

The role of the trustee is to contribute to the Board as it carries out its mandate to achieve its mission and goals related to student success and the development of an improved learning environment. It is time to focus on this work. It is time to focus on what is most important, student achievement and well-being, and to direct our collective energy, expertise and time toward supporting this worthy mission.

Trustees of the Limestone District School Board have discussed, at length, concerns raised by a few individuals (less than one per cent of our constituents) requesting a governance review of the Board of Trustees. Unfortunately, the recent negative attention around a perceived governance issue has nothing to do with student achievement and well-being. It is easy to forget our students when too much attention is given to a small yet vocal group of people who disagree with policy and process; whose campaign to deliberately spread misinformation and false statements puts the integrity and work of good people at risk. 

It is important for the letter writers (and the public) to know that the Board of Trustees has its own specific Code of Conduct, in addition to the LDSB Code of Conduct, which governs students, staff, contractors and trustees, which has explicit expectations. This code states that “Trustees of the Board shall discharge their duties loyally, faithfully, impartially and in a manner that will inspire public confidence in the abilities and integrity of the Board.”

Despite adherence to the Trustee Code of Conduct, Trustees passed a motion at its regular meeting on January 15, 2020 directing staff to provide a report on the costs and logistics involved with retaining an integrity commissioner. The Board suspended discussion of this issue until this report was received, reviewed and discussed. At the February 12, 2020 Board meeting Trustees heard the report and requested another report.  That request was voted down by the majority of Trustees. No further action on this matter was motioned.

In Limestone, we teach our students to be good digital citizens: to be critical thinkers, to ask questions, to check sources, to evaluate. Trustees must do the same. There will always be people who disagree with our decisions. 

The beauty and value of democracy is that every four years, constituents, happy or unhappy, come together to elect their trustee representatives. Please let this group of duly elected trustees get on with the duties of governing the Board to maintain and improve public education for all students in this district.

Suzanne Ruttan
Chair, Limestone District School Board of Trustees

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