Wednesday, March 10, 2010

London board's response to city wailing

As readers here know, I'm not one to regularly tie in the work that's published in my paper to what I'm writing about here. But when the City of London council's recent decision on the Community Schools Alliance 'smart' moratorium request from last month reared its head at the Catholic board I regularly cover, there was a tie-in opportunity.
The article will be linked here once published.
London District Catholic School Board trustees correctly identified the City of London council's intent to want to simultaneously suck and blow when it comes to accommodation review committees and municipal participation in these reviews. The blunt response from trustees was that given how the city has historically and currently not shown any interest in participating in the board's various school-closure, boundary review and other planning work, it should just buzz off and mind its own business.
As predicted, the response from school board administrators was a request to go back to city council (and the County of Middlesex council), cap in hand and oh so pleasantly explain the policies that already exist and clarify all the opportunities that already exist for municipal participation.
"We felt it was a good opp to educate the council on exactly what the ministry guidelines are and what our policy is," director of education Wilma de Rond explain. "It's meant to assure them the process is sound and there are absolutely invitations and involvement in terms of municipalities."
The response was to simply forge ahead without the city's participation.
It comes in time with notice given to the Thames Valley District School Board that two London city councillors have resigned their seats on a regional capital plan advisory committee. The committee was a Thames Valley beast that would advise the board on reviews before trustees voted to formally establish the different committees.
London city council doesn't want to get dirt under its fingernails, but it wants to sit on the side of the playground and dictate what shape the sandcastle should take. That's not how the rules of the playground work, unfortunately.
Kudos to the London District Catholic School Board trustees for realizing this and responding the way they did. Other schools boards whose municipalities have endorsed the Alliance 'smart' moratorium request should take note if those municipalities in their districts have stopped participating in school-closure review processes.