Ontario government has “no confidence” in Toronto Catholic school board

.- The Province of Ontario has moved to take control of Toronto’s scandal-ridden Catholic District School Board, with the provincial Minister of Education saying she has “no confidence” in the board.

A special investigation team created by Ontario Education Minister Kathleen Wynne found that board trustees have not stopped their inappropriate use of expenses, the Canadian Press says.  Trustees have allegedly misspent taxpayer funds on items ranging from hotel minibars to a trip to the Dominican Republic.

Last month the trustees voted to relinquish medical benefits to which they were not entitled, give up their monthly car allowances, and seek board approval for future business trips.

The board has also been criticized for not balancing its budget as required by provincial law.

Education Minister Wynne in a statement said, “The board’s actions have called into question the trustees’ credibility, and as a result, I have no confidence in their ability to continue to manage the board’s affairs.

“My actions today will ensure that this board is put back on track so that it can make responsible decisions that are in the best interests of students. Public confidence in this board must be restored.”

Wynne has appointed Norbert Hartman as board supervisor, saying he will take over control of the financial management and administration of the board.  According to Wynne’s statement, a deficit of $5-10 million (CAD) is forecast for the fiscal year 2008-2009.

Archbishop of Toronto Thomas Collins, who is the honorary chairman of the board, has said the board's actions over the past few years “reflect 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.”

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