Letter to the editor 3, Jan 29, 2015
In a few days it will be 15 months since I have not been allowed to speak at the Public Question Periods of the Lester B. Pearson Council of Commissioners meetings. However, there are other taxpayers, such as Bart Sellitto, a former commissioner, who is presently a Community Representative on a Governing Board of a Pearson elementary school who are raising serious issues.
At the regular Council meeting of January 26, he made pertinent comments regarding the 3-minute rule to speak. In essence, he basically said the board is doing the same thing as successive Quebec governments have done to the English community by imposing laws by limiting and restricting certain rights. He reminded the board of the notices and the pleas put out last autumn begging people to come out and vote for last November’s school board elections - so the taxpayer can participate in local democracy. He continued by saying the 3-minute rule to speak is not long enough time to cover certain topics.
He gave the following example: On January 5, 2015, the LBPSB Director of Financial Services sent a letter to all Governing Board chairs, school principals, Central Parents’ and Student Committees, and various other directors. It concerned the 2015-2016 Budget Consultation.
According to the letter the school board’s budget is divided as follows: • 5% for transportation • 4% capital grants to maintain buildings and equipment • 84% for salaries • 2% for energy costs • 3% for “specialized schools in the public interest.” The total is 98 per cent. Then the gentleman, essentially, asked, “Where is the other 2 per cent, which represents over $5 million?” Chairperson Suanne Stein Day said she would take Mr. Sellitto’s comments “under advisement.”
No wonder last year the Central Parents’ Committee (CPC) repeatedly complained they did not understand the board’s budget. No wonder over the years, the CPC has requested written clarification on how the board prepares its budget. No need to wonder, though, why, after attending 16 years of Council meetings, I wrote in my platform as I was running for chairman, I would : “Initiate a comprehensive third party audit on all LBPSB expenses since 2009.”