.- As the Toronto Catholic District School Board works to avoid being taken over by the provincial government, the Archbishop of Toronto has rebuked the board for losing public trust, poorly representing the Catholic community, and falling “far short” of expected standards.
The board has been strongly criticized from many sides for excessive spending on meals, alcoholic drinks, and vacations, the Toronto Sun says. Controversy over such expenses and an unbalanced budget has prompted the provincial government to consider taking control of the board.
On Tuesday night, as the trustees opened the first of two special meetings working to avoid a takeover, Archbishop of Toronto Thomas Collins sent a two-page letter to the trustees regarding the situation.
Archbishop Collins, who is the honorary chairman of the board, said "This board's actions over the past few years reflects poorly on Catholic education, and on our whole Catholic community." Such actions, he said, “fall far short of the standard expected of any board exercising a public trust.”
The archbishop endorsed the Hartmann report, which blasted board trustees for voting to give themselves large medical benefits, taking large car allowances and double billing the board for expenses. Archbishop Collins said the report was a “thorough, fair and excellent report outlining with painful but most fruitful clarity the actions of the board and its members," actions that he said “fall far short” of the standards of public trust.
Archbishop Collins said the board can learn both from the history of Catholic education in Toronto, including its past failures.
"This is no time for fruitless recrimination, or divisive bickering,” he said. “Only selfless pursuit of the common good of the children can restore the trust that has been lost."