Posts Tagged ‘Ward 4’

What you need to know for Election Day in Oakville

Monday, October 25th, 2010

It is election day in Oakville. Today is your chance to have a say in how our wonderful Town is taken care of for the next four years. We will be voting for one(1) of each Mayor, Councillor and Halton District School Board Trustee candidates, and up to four(4) Halton Catholic District School Board Trustee candidates.

Get out and vote

Vote turnout in 2006 was very low, especially in Ward 4. The polls are open from 10am to 8pm at various locations around town. If you are not sure where your polling location is, look it up here. If you don’t know what Ward you live in, check using these maps.

For last minute research on the candidates, please visit our Oakville Election 2010 section for candidate profiles, interviews, Q&A’s and more.

More info

The Oakville.com team wrote 50+ articles about the election issues and the candidates, click here to browse through them.

For the Mayoral race, here are some handy searches with profiles, interviews, photos and more for the two leading candidates:

Rob Burton
Ann Mulvale

Please remember to vote for your Halton School Board Trustees. Did you know the operating budget for the Halton District School Board is $490 million? That’s more than the annual budget of the Town of Oakville.

Here’s who you will be voting for today. Please get out and vote!

Candidates:

Mayor: Rob Burton, John McLaughlin, Ann Mulvale, Raymond Ray

Ward 1 Town Councillor: Michael Loomans, John McMullen, Ralph Robinson

Ward 1 Town & Regional Councillor: Bob Aceti, Alan Johnston, Linda Oliver

Ward 2 Town Councillor: Stephan Bobesich, Pam Damoff, Joe Giraldi, Bruce Grant, Cheryle McCullagh, John C. Pilcher

Ward 2 Town & Regional Councillor: Cathy Duddeck, Stephen Sparling

Ward 3 Town Councillor: Mary Chapin, Dave Gittings, Nick Hutchins

Ward 3 Town & Regional Councillor: Jean C. Gandubert, Keith Bird

Ward 4 Town Councillor: Brian Burton, Roger Lapworth, Susan Sheppard

Ward 4 Town & Regional Councillor: Allan Elgar, John Foster, Jeff Gareau, Bhupinder Singh Sandhawalia

Ward 5 Town Councillor: Marc Grant, Mark Straub

Ward 5 Town & Regional Councillor: Bruce Jones, Jeff Knoll

Ward 6 Town Councillor: Tom Altobello, Ross Bragdon, Max Khan, Jim Smith, Janice Wright

Ward 6 Town & Regional Councillor: Tom Adams, Doug MacKenzie

Halton Regional Chair: Gary Carr [Acclaimed]

Halton District School Board Wards 1 & 2: Don Vrooman [Acclaimed]

Halton District School Board Ward 3: Georgette Bolger, Sherif Guorgui, Ann Harvey Hope, Jeffrey Percival

Halton District School Board Ward 4: Aman Jaspal, Jennifer Poirier, Kathryn Bateman-Olmstead

Halton District School Board Wards 5 & 6: Kelly Amos, Debbie Renkema

Halton Catholic District School Board: Andrew Cudowski, Anthony Danko, Dianne Delany, Melanie Digiantommaso, Alice Anne LeMay, Paul Marai, Giuseppe Peritore, Ed Viana

Conseil scolaire de district du Centre-Sud-Ouest: Micheline Wylde [Acclaimed]

Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud: Dominique Janssens [Acclaimed]

Halton School Board bussing kids out of neighbourhoods?

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Would you be interested in sending your children to a special program like French Immersion if it were offered in your walk-to neighbourhood school? Would it bother you if your children could not attend the public school closest to where you purchased your house and they had to be bussed out of the neighbourhood because the local public school is only available to those who choose special programming? If you answered yes to these questions then you need to read more because the public education system in Oakville has been dividing communities for the past 20 years with a program called Single Track French Immersion (STFI).

Many people who do not choose French Immersion or other special programs for their children often feel they should not concern themselves with how a special program is delivered e.g. single or dual track. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. What people in this community often misunderstand is that, even if you don’t choose a special program, how a special program is delivered can, and does, have a substantial impact on your children regardless of which program you choose for them.

Take Forest Trail in Ward 4 as an example, this is a public school in one of the most densely populated areas in Ward 4. Many people bought homes in the area knowing a school would be built as there was a huge sign in a field that declared that it was the future home of one of Halton District School Boards schools. When the Ward 4 Trustee voted to change the plan and open this as a Single Track French Immersion school it became unavailable to anyone in the neighbourhood unless they happened to be eligible to send their children to attend the FI program. The impact: children in the neighbourhood who want access to core English programming, which the Halton District School Board is mandated to provide, no longer have access to the program at their walk-to neighbourhood school and instead have to be bussed out of the area. Meanwhile, children throughout the Ward wanting FI are bussed in from all around the Ward as the boundary for this program is five times larger than the boundary for the neighbourhood English Track school.

This result is a costly model, only available in Oakville, costly in both transportation costs (paid by the public) as there is free transportation (to the students) provided with the program and cost attributed to the accommodation of over capacity English Track schools which now have to rely on huge numbers of portables to house students who have been assigned to them. The portable usage is far higher when the single track model is utilized. The HDSB has paid in excess of $1.7 million in portable relocation per year. This delivery model also reduces access to the FI program as it is offered only in one central location and many parents are unwilling to bus their children when they have a walk-to English public school available in their neighbourhood.

This could happen at the high school level next with the planned build of West Oaks High School (becomes a STFI) or it could happen to Abbey Park High School (become a Dual Track School) unless the HDSB and Trustees change their philosophy in regard to how the FI program is delivered in Oakville. Would it bother you if the next neighbourhood public school opened as a Single Track French Immersion school available only to those who chose a special program? Would it bother you if an English Track High School (Abbey Park High School) became Dual Track necessitating the bussing of more than 50% of the neighbourhood students to another High School? Would it mean your child would have to be bussed to a high school farther away? Is this how you want your tax dollars spent by the HDSB?

The feedback from the Accommodation Review Process last year indicated that the majority in the Ward would prefer FI being delivered in dual-track schools where both French and English programming are available in a neighbourhood school, consistent with the remainder of the HDSB. The Research Report conducted by the HDSB in 2009 concluded that there was no difference between the Dual Track School and the STFI, in terms of the provision of education to students or in terms of how the students felt about the programs available at the schools or their interactions with other students attending.

Dual Track Schools allow people more choice, better access to program, reduces bussing costs significantly and also portable usage. It maintains that our neighbourhood schools remain accessible to all students wanting to attend the core English program and, if a child needs to switch back to an English program in the event they are not thriving in FI, it gives the child the ability to do so without having to leave their school and their friends and siblings.

However the community is divided. The majority of those currently in the FI program (approx 18% of our community) indicate they prefer the STFI delivery model. Despite the feedback from the community at large, our Ward 4 Trustee still voted to continue the Single Track model when Palermo opened, reflecting feedback from the FI community and with disregard to the majority of the Ward 4 constituents. Ward 4 needs a Trustee that will listen to all constituents and make choices that reflect the interests of all our children. We all need to be interested in this election. Only you can decide whether it is important to you for our Ward to retain walk-to neighbourhood schools. Let your voice be heard. Your vote, or failure to vote, will have a real impact on our schools and our children.

- Concerned Oakville Resident

Halton District School Board Trustee responds

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

The Rumour Mill is active as are Politics in Oakville. There is a high school planned to open in Ward 4 on West Oak Trails Boulevard in 2012. The announcement has conjured controversy, not celebration. It is being built to accommodate the future population growth in Oakville and to relieve the overcrowding at Abbey Park High School and White Oaks Secondary School. Somehow it has become about French Immersion?

Education and trusteeship is not about French Immersion. While it is important to some Ward 4 families, it is but one issue among many more significant issues in Education and Halton. It’s time to refocus and move on to the issues that matter most, to most: The health, safety, well being and inclusivity of each and every one of our children and families; the quality of education our children receive when they arrive at school; the stability resulting from pro-active, accurate short and long term planning; fiscal responsibility; transportation, our community and Ministry cut backs and initiatives.

Don’t be fooled by ridiculous, poorly thought out rumours. To criticize a trustee or trustee candidate for soliciting feedback is ludicrous. How else might a trustee or candidate understand and represent community opinion if it has not been received?

To help you understand:

- One trustee cannot make a final decision; Decisions are made via the democratic process by eleven trustees at the board table.
- A single-track French Immersion (FI) elementary school in Halton is one that houses French Immersion students only.
- A dual-track school in Halton is an elementary school that houses both FI and English stream students.
- We do not typically refer to a high school as dual or single track.

Diversity in programming is exceptionally important for the engagement and success of many of our students. Specialization in 2010 is common and High schools provide a wide scope of program and course options throughout Oakville, Halton and Ontario. There are two main categories of courses offered to students in high school; compulsory/mandatory and elective. To graduate students must successfully complete 30 credits. See ministry link for details: www.edu.gov.on.ca/extra/eng/ppm/graduate.html

It’s no lie. I believe in specialized programming and choice; students are successful when programs are specific to their educational strengths, interests and needs. Principals offer course options based on interest and enrolment. Principals cancel courses when enrolment is insufficient. At no time will English Programming be affected at a high school containing a French immersion program. Most French Immersion students will have completed their required courses in French by grade 10, they too require choice.

Students choose to attend high school out of area to participate in specialized programs such as, Specialist High Skill Major, (SHSM), French Immersion, Apprenticeship Training, International Baccalaureate (IB) and others. These programs and courses are subjected to the same enrolment guidelines as any other course.

Oakville has a total of 821 students participating in F I programming at the Secondary School level. Those 821 students are at four schools in Oakville. We build high schools to accommodate at least 1200 students so that we can provide depth, breadth and choice to students preparing for college, university and work. To think trustees, parents of French Immersion students or staff would want to limit students to a single-track high school shows a lack of understanding.

Students need choice in education; parents want choice for their children. The Halton District School Board continues to provide challenge and choice. Be thankful.

As your trustee representative I have listened, heard and responded by finding solutions that best served all of the students and the system. Check the record! Special interest groups will always exist and do not belong at the board table. I clearly understand the opinions in this Ward. I have lived and breathed them for four years.

The fear mongering in our community has nothing to do with the public voting record of the current trustee. For your information and clarification I offer you this:

- Ecole Forest Trail was built specifically to deal with the overcrowding at Ecole Pine Grove and was designated FI before I was elected;
- I supported Palermo Public School as a single-track FI Center as a means to deal with the exceptionally high FI enrolment in Ward 4;
- many parents residing in Palermo and West of Fourth Line expressed their desire to remain at “their school”;
- information from 2006 when I was Co-Chair of Ecole Pine Grove, before trusteeship has been circulated to appear current;
- a single track French Immersion Secondary School model does not exist in Halton, it does not make sense.

Please do your research before October 25th our children count on it.

- Kathryn Bateman-Olmstead, Ward 4 Trustee Candidate and Incumbent

The 2010 Oakville Municipal election will be held on October 25, 2010. Visit our special Oakville election 2010 section for the latest election news, candidate profiles and more.

Here’s Why to Vote for School Board Trustees

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

For the past few weeks I have been distributing campaign material for the Candidate I believe is the best person for the Ward 4 Public School Trustee. What I very quickly learned is that most people have no idea what a Trustee does, and don’t really care. I have been told that it is the one section on the ballot that is most often left blank. This is horrifying to me and should be to every parent and taxpayer in Halton.

For the past eight years I have attended many HDSB (Halton District School Board) meetings and watched in absolute disbelief while time after time the Trustees have voted in favour of resolutions which have defied logic, good sense and fiscal responsibility. Trustees have opted to support Optional programs ahead of mandated programming.

It is very obvious that most people are completely unaware of how much power our Trustees have in determining;

Programming, which programs will be available and in which schools, the enrolment parameters’ entrance criteria and limits (ie: Special Education, Gifted and French Immersion), if and when antiquated teaching materials will be upgraded and if and when innovative new teaching methods will be implemented,

Transportation, which students will be provided transportation by school bus or taxi,

Accommodation, which schools will be designated as a program specific school denying access to some students to their neighbourhood school, where schools will be built and which ones will be closed, defining and redefining school boundaries, whether to add or remove portables from a school or when to redistribute a school population to alleviate overcrowding,

Budget, hiring or reducing the number of EAs (Educational Assistants) for Special Education students, school upgrades and improvements, bussing costs, teaching resources, approval of costs for installation and removal of portables.

Of course all of these decisions must be acceptable within the mandates of the Ministry of Education and are supposed to satisfy the Ministry of Education requirements of the HDSB to deliver the mandated Core English program and an equitable education to all students. How the HDSB satisfies these requirements is open to interpretation by the Board and Trustees.

Who is eligible to run for School Trustee? Any Canadian citizen 18 years or over, no experience or background in education and/or finance is not required. Remember folks these people will be making decisions about our children’s’ education and have a huge influence on the disbursement of the $490 million school board budget of our tax dollars this year alone.

The time to pay attention is now, not when you receive a letter informing you that your neighbourhood school will be closed as of June and your child will be bussed to another school, not when a school that was closed in June is reopened as a specialty school for an optional program in September, or when you are notified that the EA who made it possible for your special needs child to attend school with their siblings and friends has been taken away or reassigned, or when bussing costs have escalated way beyond the budget to support a small portion of the student population in an optional program, or when you hear that the school that your neighbourhood has been waiting for, for years will not be built after all, or worse that is has been designated as a school for a specific optional program and your child is not eligible to attend.

Now is the time to cast your vote for the person who you feel will best represent you and the best interest of your child. Be informed research your candidates. The Halton District School Board has minutes recorded and posted online. In those minutes you can see which resolutions have been introduced, promoted and supported by the current Trustee.

- Sharon Baroni

The 2010 Oakville Municipal election will be held on October 25, 2010. Visit our special Oakville election 2010 section for the latest election news, candidate profiles and more.

Ward 4 French Immersion debate influencing Halton Trustee votes?

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

If there was anyone in Oakville who thought the Single Track French Immersion (STFI) method of delivery was not potentially a deciding factor for many in this election, they were sadly mistaken. For many that issue and that issue alone may be the deciding factor on who they vote for.

Although much is being said about this issue in wards across Oakville, it is in Ward 4 that much can be heard through email and the Internet chatter right now regarding this very debate. Accommodation meetings defining programming at the recent Palermo school have made the issue more urgent. Although new entries into the Ward 4 race are weighing in on the controversy, it is Kathryn Bateman-Olmstead who has potentially the most to gain or loose depending on whether you feel she has supported STFI.

Kathryn is seeking re-election and has stated she is surprised by what she believes was a misunderstanding regarding Q&As posted on her site last week. Many in the English community are furious they say at what they perceive is another biased attempt to take over a local school. Kathryn, herself, has stated that was not her intention and has since modified her website to address the concerns and clarify the information.

Believed by many STFI parents as the better method of ensuring kids receive French Immersion programming, it is equally vilified by English track parents who believe it is a method to rob local communities of schools and regular programming.

Since the STFI model is exclusive to Oakville (not even in the rest of Halton), it depends what side of the fence you are on as to whether you believe STFI is good or bad. Many families who are participating in the STFI model want this method rolled out in other communities while those opposed disagree and swear they will not stand idle again while local schools are taken over for a ‘select few who choose optional programming’.

Now you may be asking why would this debate be important in the middle of our current election considering the last elementary school indeed ended up being dual track and the kids seem to adjusting quite nicely to each other under the same roof?

Some say it is years of watching what they believe to be bias from their elected trustee and that the Q&A information posted was a plea appealing for votes from the French parents by asking for preferences on programming at the upcoming high school.

Kathryn has stated that was not her intention when she posted this information on her newly revamped site. She stressed that she was simply answering questions that residents had asked. Since the high school is the latest new development in the community and will affect many, she believed it was important to ask those affected what they wanted at the school. The same Q&As did, in fact, cover other topics as well such as special education, etc. She did also, once aware of the controversy, amended the site to reflect those issues/concerns and issued a statement regarding the upcoming programming at the school.

For critics, however, they believe the actions/words are just the latest effort in giving their local schools away or having the optional programming parents receive special treatment. They are angry at what they believe is a school board that protects the needs of optional programming at the expense of communities and mandated programming.

One parent representing English parents who vow to stand up and fight have stated that “due to the situation regarding the Ward 4 Public Consultation Process of 2008/09 and the public’s input on whether Palermo be opened as a single track or dual track school, it was stunning to learn on vote day in April 2009, that Ecole Forest Trail was funded as a dual track school by the Ministry yet the HDSB opened an exclusive FI program under their radar. This of course shut off a fair amount of a new community from this school when it opened in fall 2007 and continues to be the cause of extreme overcrowding at West Oak Trails (850+ without the port a pack). It was beyond frustrating to learn after months of public consultation to the tune of over $40,000, that Palermo was also funded as a dual track school and that if the trustees voted that night for it to be single track, funding would have to be reapplied and it could delay the opening. Kathryn Bateman Olmstead still voted to open this school as a single track FI school even with this knowledge. .. Thus, when one skims through her website as Kathryn seeks re-election, and sees the first FAQ referring to FI programming in the new high school, everyone assumes what they already know to be true, that Kathryn votes for program over accommodation and that the program she votes to expand at every turn, is in fact French Immersion, no matter the cost to the surrounding community.”

This is only a sampling of the angry correspondence coming our way, national newspapers and to local politicians and representatives who are being asked to provide a clear direction on STFI in the community in relation to the new high school.

Kathryn has been the elected representative for 4 years serving the community on many issues other than STFI programming and some of these have included other thorny issues such as school closings. She believes she has served the community well and wants the public to vote her in again.

Regardless of whether or not you believe what Kathryn is stating her intentions were in this latest round of events or side with those who insist her pro-STFI decisions have affected communities negatively, this most recent debate shows parents will not tolerate not being heard or considered and that accommodation and programming must be weighed against needs, perspective and budget. We are not stating that opinions and actions are fact or not but rather presenting what seems to be the latest round in a very heated and contested election.

Let the national scene take notice of what is happening in our community and its outcome emphasizing healthy debate and respect. We encourage each of our residents to vote and make their voices heard regardless of where you stand on this and other issues. It is our democratic right and more importantly our responsibility as it is evident that it may shape our childrens’ future.

[Editor: This article was reprinted with permission from www.oakvillechitchat.com]

The 2010 Oakville Municipal election will be held on October 25, 2010. Visit our special Oakville election 2010 section for the latest election news, candidate profiles and more.