By Michael Borrelli
Published November 27, 2013
The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) has 11 trustees representing Hamilton's 15 wards. The HWDSB Governance Committee has just recommended that Wards 1 and 12 (Ancaster) be represented by a single trustee, and that wards 2 and 3 be represented by a single trustee.
Currently, wards 1 and 2 are represented by a single trustee, Judith Bishop.
According to a an email news release from Bishop issued last night, a board consultation with 392 respondents to an online survey across all 15 wards found:
[T]here was support for combining Dundas (Ward 13) with other Flamborough wards particularly as Ward 14 sends most of its students to Dundas High schools. But Dundas respondents were not in support of sharing a trustee with Ancaster (ward 12). The combination of wards 9, 10, and 11 was welcomed by respondents, as this will allow Winona to be shared with two trustees who will also cover Upper and Lower Stoney Creek and Binbrook and Mount Hope. (Previously Upper and lower Stoney Creek had one trustee and Winona, Binbrook, Mount Hope were linked to Ancaster and were represented by another trustee) There were no objections to the coupling of Wards 2 and 3.
I have to strongly object to these claims. Of greatest issue is the statement: "There were no objections to the coupling of Wards 2 and 3", a statement I can only assume the Committee used to help justify the combination of Wards 2 and 3 under a single Trustee.
This statement is patently false and a complete misrepresentation of the responses the Board received about such a proposal. How can I be so confident in stating this? I completed the online survey and noted my objections, and at least one other member of the Beasley Neighbourhood Association copied on an email letter of objection they wrote.
The HWDSB is already viewed dimly in downtown Hamilton, as its decisions have left gaping education deserts in our community, but am I to take it that the board has now stooped to misrepresenting the public opinion that it solicits?
On behalf of other Beasley residents who aired our grievances with the misguided proposal that would reduce the representation of some of Hamilton's neediest students and parents on the HWDSB, I demand an immediate response explaining why the HWDSB massaged results to their own survey.
Objections to the plan, sent both via the survey and email, were both seemingly ignored in coming to this decision. Perhaps it would not have changed the results, but it is disrespectful of constituents who responded to the Board's solicitation for input.