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Municipal Election Lesson 4 - School Boards
 

Municipal Election Lesson 4 - School Boards

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This is lesson four of seven about municipal elections that I developed and proposed for Student Vote. ...

This is lesson four of seven about municipal elections that I developed and proposed for Student Vote.

This lesson requires students to explore the composition and function of school boards in Ontario.

Please refer to Municipal Election Lessons Additional Resources for references and supporting information.

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    Municipal Election Lesson 4 - School Boards Municipal Election Lesson 4 - School Boards Document Transcript

    • Big Idea:Informed participation in local government both stimulates and upholds the principles ofdemocracy.Essential Question:What are the characteristics of an informed Canadian citizen participating in a municipal election orschool board election?School Boards & TrusteesSchool boards are responsible to students, teachers, parents, and the community for establishingthe standards and supports necessary to prepare students for success in civil society.Hook 5-10 min.Imagine you could pick a team of individuals to decide: the number, size, and location of schools;the educational programs that schools offered; the way that education funds were spent; the waythat teachers and staff were hired and evaluated; and curriculum priorities. Think about people youknow of, have heard of, or have read about. What qualities would the individuals that you selectpossess?Essential Learning 45-50 min.1. Using Handouts 4.1 to 4.2 and the information resources provided by your teacher, create a fact sheet about your school board that details the board’s name, geographic boundaries, student population, total budget, significant expenditures, trustees, sub-committees, number of elementary and secondary schools, and any interesting facts. Be sure to include maps that indicate where the school board is located in Ontario, the shape of your school board, and the shape of all neighbouring school boards.2. Using Handouts 4.4 to 4.5, the information resources provided by your teacher, and Handout 4.3 if necessary, group school board activities in order to identify the main responsibilities and central activities of school boards. Use this information to compose a statement about the purpose of school boards, and then compare your conclusions about the functions of school boards to the functions and responsibilities outlined on Handout 4.6. Re-word your statement about school boards as required.3. From this set of activities, review what you have discussed and learned about the significance, purpose, and functions of school boards in Ontario.Extended Learning 20-30 min.Option A:School board trustees are elected using the First Past The Post Voting System. Using the followingresources, create pictograms to explain how a single person’s ballot leads to an individual gettingelected. Be sure to include the qualifications required to be a candidate and voter, the importanceof an election campaign, and the roles of the individuals involved in facilitating the election.Option B:Identify what you think should be a priority of the new school board by considering the followingquestions: What is the best part of school? What is the worst part of school? What should schoolsbe teaching? What are you not learning at school that you think you should? What could be doneto make school better? Use your answers to these questions and your knowledge of the powers ofschool boards to write a letter to the members of the new school board that describes what youthink should be a priority for the board.Option C:
    • Select three school board policies that directly impact students in your school board. Change eachpolicy so that it is to your liking, and describe how this change would affect students at yourschool. Use these examples to evaluate the overall significance of decisions made by a board oftrustees. Extension: Share your changes with the class and together select five changes thatshould be adopted.Option D:Over the past summer, a number of educational commentators and experts discussed whetherschool boards are still a necessary institution. Using Handouts 4.11 to 4.19 as well as yourknowledge of school boards in general and your school board in particular, construct an argumentin favour of or in opposition to preserving school boards in Ontario.Option E:Compare detailed budgets of two or more neighbouring school boards (one of which should be yourown) in order to identify trends in where financial resources are directed. After comparingbudgets, recommend at least three changes that you would like to see to the spending priorities inyour school board and explain how these changes would lead to improvements in students’education. Consider rounding budget figures to make comparison of budget lines easier. (ex. tonearest million, to nearest ten thousand)Key Termsagenda; board of trustees; budget; district school board; Education Act; policy; procedure; SchoolAuthority; trusteeEssential QuestionsWhat does a school board do and what does a school board trustee do?How do trustees make an impact on education of students?Has my school board been functioning effectively?Teacher PreparationSelect teaching strategies for essential learning activitiesMake class copies of required handoutsPrepare information sources about students’ school board for first essential learning activity,including maps, parent information, board of trustees information, and annual reports (see chapteron Additional Resources for links to Ontario school boards)Prepare information sources about school board functions and responsibilities for second essentiallearning activity, including board meeting agendas, board meeting minutes, school board budgets,board policies and procedures, and publications from OPSBA and OCSTA (see chapter on AdditionalResources)Book computer lab, if desiredPreview websites to be used for class activities, if desired (see chapter on Additional Resources)Select extended learning activity and teaching strategies, if desiredSelect student-oriented school board policies for students to review, if desiredSelect (and consider simplifying) school board budgets for student examination, if desiredAssessmentStudents should provide evidence that they understand how school boards and the work of trusteesimpacts their experience of school and that they understand how trustees are selected.
    • Handout 4.1: My School Board Fact SheetUsing the resources provided by your teacher, complete the following fact sheet.Name of School Board or School Authority:Student Population:Teacher Population:Number of Elementary and Secondary Schools:Total School Board Budget:Significant Expenditures in Budget:Name and Official Title of the Leader of the Board of Trustees:School Board/Authority Trustees:Important School Board Sub-Committees:Interesting Facts about My School Board or School Authority:
    • Handout 4.2: My School Board’s BoundariesUsing the resources provided by your teacher:1. Indicate where your school board is located in Ontario;2. Draw or trace the boundaries of your school board;3. Draw or trace the boundaries of any neighbouring boards.
    • Handout 4.3: The Functions and Responsibilities of My School BoardUse the resources provided by your teacher to summarize the purpose of school boards.In general, a school board’s purpose and significance isFunctions of School Boards:Policy-Making & OversightEvaluationFinancial OversightResponsibilities of School Boards:Student AchievementLeadershipAfter discussing with classmates, I think that a school board’s purpose and significance is
    • Handout 4.4: Legislation Regarding the Responsibilities of School BoardsFrom “The Ontario Education Act, 1990, Part VI, Boards.”Duties and Powers169. (1) Every board shall, (a) promote student achievement and well-being; (b) ensure effective stewardship of the board’s resources; (c) deliver effective and appropriate education programs to its pupils; (d) develop and maintain policies and organizational structures that, a. promote the goals referred to in clauses (a) to (c), and b. encourage pupils to pursue their educational goals; (e) monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of policies developed by the board under clause (d) in achieving the board’s goals and the efficiency of the implementation of those policies; (f) develop a multi-year plan aimed at achieving the goals referred to in clauses (a) to (c); (g) annually review the plan referred to in clause (f) with the board’s director of education or the supervisory officer acting as the board’s director of education; and (h) monitor and evaluate the performance of the board’s director of education, or the supervisory officer acting as the board’s director of education, in meeting, a. his or her duties under this Act or any policy, guideline or regulation made under this Act, including duties under the plan referred to in clause (f), and b. any other duties assigned by the board.…169. (4) Every board shall take steps to, (a) bring the plan referred to in clause 169.1.f. to the attention of supporters and employees of the board; and (b) report to supporters and employees of the board about progress in implementing the plan referred to in clause 169.1.f.169. (5) Every board shall, (a) effectively use the resources entrusted to it; (b) use the resources entrusted to it for the purposes of delivering effective and appropriate education; and (c) manage the resources entrusted to it in a manner that upholds public confidence.Summary of the Duties of BoardsAppoint a treasurerOrder bills to be paidEstablish a head officeOperate full day junior kindergartens and kindergartensProvide special education services for exceptional pupilsKeep board property in good repairInsure board property, students, and personnelConduct schools according to lawsKeep schools openAppoint principal and teachers for each schoolAppoint early childhood educator positionsProvide textbooksReport students not enrolled in schoolEstablish school councils
    • Handout 4.5: Ministry of Education on School Board and Trustee ResponsibilitiesFrom “Who’s responsible for your child’s education?”School BoardsOntarios school boards operate the provinces publicly-funded schools. The boards administer thefunding they receive from the province for their schools.Ontarios 72 District School Boards are made up of 31 English-language public boards, 29 English-language Catholic boards, 4 French-language public boards, and 8 French-language Catholicboards. As well, a small number of Ontario schools are operated by School Authorities. The SchoolAuthorities manage special types of schools, such as schools in hospitals and treatment facilities,and schools in remote and sparsely-populated regions.School boards are responsible for:• determining the number, size and location of schools;• building, equipping and furnishing schools;• providing education programs that meet the needs of the school community, including needs for special education;• prudent management of the funds allocated by the province to support all board activities, including education programs for elementary and secondary school students, and the building and maintaining of schools;• preparing an annual budget;• supervising the operation of schools and their teaching programs;• developing policy for safe arrival programs for elementary schools;• establishing a school council at each school;• hiring teachers and other staff;• helping teachers improve their teaching practices;• teacher performance;• approving schools textbook and learning materials choices, based on the list of approved materials provided by the Ministry of Education;• enforcing the student attendance provisions of the Education Act; and• ensuring schools abide by the Education Act and its regulations.TrusteesTrustees are members of the school board. They provide an important link between localcommunities and the school board, bringing the issues and concerns of their constituents to boarddiscussions and decision making. Trustees are elected every four years during municipal elections.Under the law, only the elected board has the power to make decisions. Trustees do not haveindividual authority, but do have an important role to play as members of the board, including:• working in partnership with school councils;• explaining the policies and decisions of the board to community residents; and• supporting and encouraging public education.
    • Handout 4.6: Function and Responsibilities of a School BoardFunctions of School Boards:Policy-Making & Oversight• Establish short- and long-term goals;• Select, appoint, and provide direction to a Superintendent of Education;• Focus on policy versus daily administration;• Develop policies and procedures, including media policy, safe arrival policy, and hiring policies;• Ensure schools abide by the Education Act and its regulations.Evaluation• Conduct or implement through policy evaluations of board, school, and teacher activities;• Gauge public satisfaction with school board accountability;• Evaluate the superintendent’s performance annually;Financial Oversight• Prepare and balance an annual budget;• Demonstrate financial accountability• Determine the number, size and location of schools;• Prudently manage funds allocated by the province to support all board activities, including education programs for elementary and secondary school students, and the building and maintenance of schools;• Lobby to secure adequate funding;• Develop partnerships to maximize resources;Responsibilities of School Boards:Student Achievement• Provide education programs that meet the needs of the school community, including needs for special education;• Ensure equity in distribution of educational resources;• Respond to local educational concerns;• Lead educational reform;• Enforce the student attendance provisions of the Education Act;Leadership• Create a vision or mission for education consistent with provincial objectives• Empower administrators, educators, and students to realize that vision for education• Supervise the operation of schools and their teaching programs;• Approve schools textbook and learning materials choices, based on the list of approved materials provided by the Ministry of Education;• Establish and work in partnership with school councils;• Provide a link between public values and professional expertise;• Explain the policies and decisions of the board to community residents;• Support and encourage public education.
    • Handout 4.7: Qualifications for Participating in a School Board ElectionFrom “2010 Ontario Municipal Elections Guide”, “Ontario Municipal Elections Act, 1996”, and“Ontario Education Act, 1990.”Who Can Be a Candidate in a School Board ElectionA candidate for a school board must, upon nomination, be a qualified municipal elector and fulfill allof the following requirements:• A resident within the jurisdiction of the board;• A supporter of the board;• A Canadian citizen;• At least 18 years old;• Roman Catholic (if running for a separate school board);• Not legally prohibited from voting; and• Not disqualified by any legislation from holding municipal office. A candidate, if nominated, must remain qualified throughout the election and, if elected,throughout the term of office.Who Can Vote In a School Board ElectionA person is entitled to be an elector at an election held in a local municipality, or in territorywithout municipal organization within the area of jurisdiction of the district school board if onvoting day he or she:• Is a Canadian citizen;• Is at least 18 years old;• Has not already voted in the election for school trustees elsewhere in the school board’s area of jurisdiction;• Resides in the local municipality or territory or is the owner or tenant of a residential property, or the spouse of such owner or tenant; and is not otherwise prohibited from voting.In addition to the above,• To vote in an English-Language Public District School Board, an elector must: o Be a supporter of the English-language public district school board; or o Not be a supporter of any board, nor have qualified him- or herself as an elector for a separate or French-language school board in the election.• To vote in an English-Language Separate District School Board, an must be a Roman Catholic who must: o Qualify as an elector for the English-language separate district school board; or o Be a supporter (or be the spouse of a supporter) of the English-language separate district school board.• To vote in a French-Language Public District School Board, the elector must be a French- language rights holder who must: o Qualify as an elector for the French-language public district school board; or o Be a supporter (or the spouse of a supporter) of the French-language public district school board.• To vote in a French-Language Separate District School Board, an elector must be a Roman Catholic and a French-language rights holder who must: o Qualify as an elector for the French-language separate district school board; or o Be a supporter (or the spouse of a supporter) of the French-language separate district school board.
    • Handout 4.8: Information for Participating in a School Board ElectionFrom “2010 Ontario Municipal Elections Guide”, “Ontario Municipal Elections Act, 1996”, and“Ontario Education Act, 1990.”One Vote Per VoterA voter is only entitled to vote once in a municipality and once in a school board even if the voterhas more than one qualifying property address within the municipality or school board. The placewhere they vote is where they reside.In a municipality with wards, if a voter resides in one ward but has other properties in differentwards in the same municipality, he or she may only vote in the ward where he or she resides. Avoter may only have one permanent residence.StudentsA student may vote in the municipality where he or she is temporarily residing while attendingschool as well as at his or her permanent home in a different municipality, provided that he or shedoes not intend to change his or her permanent home.CampaigningSchool board candidates spend the weeks leading up to the election trying to influence voters inthe municipality through advertisements, speeches, and discussion to vote for them on Voting Day.Important DatesNomination and campaign period begins 1 January 2010Last day for nominations and last day to withdraw candidacy 10 September 2010Voting Day 25 October 2010Council term begins 1 December 2010
    • Handout 4.8: The Traditional Process for In-Person Voting at a Polling StationFrom “2010 Ontario Municipal Elections Guide” and “Ontario Municipal Elections Act, 1996.”Before VotingThe clerk must provide notice to voters, in a manner of the clerk’s choosing, of the followinginformation:• Location of voting places;• Dates and times on which voting places will be open for voting;• Where voting proxies are available and how electors may use voting proxies.Clerks must ensure that each voting place is accessible to electors with disabilities.Alternative VotingEach school board can determine whether it will use alternative forms of voting such as vote-by-mail or Internet voting. The municipal clerk will determine what forms of identification may berequired in order to cast a ballot. These decisions must be made by June 1 of the election year.On Voting DayAn elector:(a) who is on the voters’ list must show identification confirming their identity and place or residence in order to receive a ballot. Photo ID is not required;(b) elector who is on the voters’ list does not have acceptable identification, they may make a statutory declaration that they are the person on the voters’ list in order to receive a ballot;(c) who is not on the voters’ list must follow the procedures put in place by the clerk to get on the list. These procedures may require the elector to show identification.On voting day, voting places shall be open for the electors to vote from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.Every person who is present in a voting place or at the counting of the votes shall help to maintainthe secrecy of the voting.On receiving the ballot from the deputy returning officer, the elector shall,(a) make a cross or other mark on the ballot, within the space designated for the marking of the ballot to the right of the name of each candidate for whom the elector wishes to vote(b) fold the ballot in a manner that conceals its face; and(c) return the folded ballot to the deputy returning officer.On receiving the ballot from the elector, the deputy returning officer shall immediately deposit it inthe ballot box, in the full view of the elector.Immediately after the close of voting on voting day, the deputy returning officer shall open theballot box for his or her voting place and proceed to count, the number of votes for each candidate.As soon as possible after counting the votes, the deputy returning officer shall,(a) prepare a statement, in duplicate, showing the results of the election at the voting place;(b) place the ballots and all other materials and documents related to the election, except the original statement of results, in the ballot box;(c) seal the ballot box so that ballots cannot be deposited in or withdrawn from it without breaking the seal; and(d) deliver the original statement of results and the ballot box to the clerk.The clerk shall determine the results of the election by compiling the statements of results receivedfrom the deputy returning officers.The clerk shall, as soon as possible after voting day, declare the candidate or candidates, as thecase may be, who received the highest number of votes to be elected.
    • Handout 4.9: The Traditional Process for In-Person Voting at a Polling Station (Simple)From “2010 Ontario Municipal Elections Guide” and “Ontario Municipal Elections Act, 1996.”Who Can Be a Candidate in a Council ElectionA candidate for municipal office must, upon nomination, be a qualified municipal elector and fulfillall of the following requirements:• A resident of the municipality, a non-resident owner or tenant of land in the municipality or the spouse of such non-resident owner or tenant;• A Canadian citizen;• At least 18 years old;• Not legally prohibited from voting; and• Not disqualified by any legislation from holding municipal office.Who Can Vote In a Council ElectionA person is entitled to be an elector at an election held in a local municipality, if on voting day heor she is:• A Canadian citizen;• At least 18 years old;• Residing in the local municipality or an owner or tenant of land there, or the spouse of such owner or tenant; and not otherwise prohibited from voting.A voter is only entitled to vote once in a municipality and once in a school board.Before VotingThe municipal clerk must tell voters provide notice to voters, in a manner of the clerk’s choosing, ofthe following information:• Where to vote;• When voting places will be open;• How to vote (ex. In-person, vote-by-mail, vote-by-phone, Internet voting).Clerks must ensure that each voting place is accessible to electors with disabilities.On Voting Day1. On voting day, voting places shall be open for the electors to vote from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.2. An elector must show identification confirming their identity and place or residence in order to receive a ballot.3. Every person who is present in a voting place or at the counting of the votes shall help to maintain the secrecy of the voting.4. When a voter receives a ballot from the deputy returning officer, the voter will make a cross or mark beside the name of the candidate for whom the voter wishes to elect. Afterwards, the voter will fold the ballot to hide the mark and return the folded ballot to the deputy returning officer.5. When the deputy returning officer receives the ballot from the voter, the officer will immediately deposit the ballot in the ballot box, in full view of the voter.6. Immediately after the close of voting on voting day, the deputy returning officer will open the ballot box for his or her voting place and proceed to count, the number of votes for each candidate.7. As soon as possible after counting the votes, the deputy returning officer will record the results of the election at the voting place, return all the materials related to the election to the ballot box, and return the election results, ballot box, and election materials to the municipal clerk.8. The clerk will determine the results of the election by compiling the statements of results received from the deputy returning officers.9. The candidates who receive the highest number of votes are declared to be elected.10. Upper-tier councillors are generally composed of the heads of council from lower-tier municipalities.
    • Handout 4.10: Brainstorming Priorities for the New Board of TrusteesUse your answers to the following questions and your knowledge of the powers of school boards towrite a letter to the members of the new school board that describes one idea you think should bea priority for the board.What is the best part of school?What is the worst part of school?What should schools be teaching?What are you not learning at school that you think you should?What could be done to make school better?
    • Handout 4.11: “Education Budgets Being Slashed Across Western Canada”From “Gary Mason, “Vancouver School Boards pain is not unique,” The Globe and Mail, Internet:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/gary_mason/vancouver-school-boards-pain-is-not-unique/article1618959/, accessed 24 August 2010.Saturday, June 25, 2010 – The Globe and MailDid not have permission to reproduce.
    • Handout 4.12: “Trustees are in a Fight for Political Survival” IFrom “Kate Harmer, “Should governments close our school boards?,” The Globe and Mail, Internet:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/should-governments-close-our-school-boards/article1643119/, accessed 24 August 2010.Saturday, July 16, 2010 – The Globe and MailDid not have permission to reproduce.
    • Handout 4.13: “Trustees are in a Fight for Political Survival” IIFrom “Kate Harmer, “Should governments close our school boards?,” The Globe and Mail, Internet:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/should-governments-close-our-school-boards/article1643119/, accessed 24 August 2010.Did not have permission to reproduce.
    • Handout 4.14: “Trustees are in a Fight for Political Survival” IIIFrom “Kate Harmer, “Should governments close our school boards?,” The Globe and Mail, Internet:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/should-governments-close-our-school-boards/article1643119/, accessed 24 August 2010.Did not have permission to reproduce.
    • Handout 4.15: “Without School Boards, Where’s Public Accountability in Education?” IFrom “Paul W. Bennett, “Schools Under Fire,” The Mark News, Internet:http://www.themarknews.com/articles/1963-school-boards-under-fire, accessed 24 August 2010.Tuesday, August 3, 2010 – The Mark NewsDid not have permission to reproduce.
    • Handout 4.16: “Without School Boards, Where’s Public Accountability in Education?” IIFrom “Paul W. Bennett, “Schools Under Fire,” The Mark News, Internet:http://www.themarknews.com/articles/1963-school-boards-under-fire, accessed 24 August 2010.Did not have permission to reproduce.
    • Handout 4.17: “School Board Associations Strangely Quiet in Debate over Trustees”From “Paul W. Bennett, “Schools Under Fire - Comment,” The Mark News, Internet:http://www.themarknews.com/articles/1963-school-boards-under-fire, accessed 24 August 2010.Did not have permission to reproduce.
    • Handout 4.18: “Is It Time to Eliminate the Middleman in Pubic Education?” IFrom “John MacFarlane, “Editor’s Note: Is it time to eliminate the middleman in public education?”The Walrus, Internet: http://walrusmagazine.com/articles/2010.09-editors-note-editors-note/,accessed 24 August 2010.From the September 2010 Issue of The WalrusDid not have permission to reproduce.
    • Handout 4.19: “Is It Time to Eliminate the Middleman in Pubic Education?” IFrom “John MacFarlane, “Editor’s Note: Is it time to eliminate the middleman in public education?”The Walrus, Internet: http://walrusmagazine.com/articles/2010.09-editors-note-editors-note/,accessed 24 August 2010.Did not have permission to reproduce.