School board trustee candidates push for one school system
School board trustee candidates in Windsor, Ont., on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. (Angelo Aversa / CTV Windsor)
The provincial government is being pressured by three candidates in the school board trustee elections to have only one school system in Windsor-Essex.
Alan Halberstadt, Eric Renaud and Henry Lau are running for trustee seats with both the public and catholic school boards.
They were joined Wednesday by Krysta Glovasky-Ridsdale, a local green party member and a candidate in the city's Ward 1, to advocate for one school board.
Halberstadt says the timing is right due to the competitiveness between both boards trying to recruit students.
“It's not going to happen overnight,” says Halberstadt. “Nobody is kidding themselves but I think eventually it is going to happen.”
Halberstadt is running for re-election at the Greater Essex County District School Board.
Lau is running for a seat at the public school board and Renaud is running for a trustee position at the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board.
Halberstadt claims the move to combine the school boards would save more than $6-million a year
“We're trying to start the conversation now to get it in front of Doug Ford,” says Halberstadt. “He likes audits, he likes efficiencies so you would think he would like this plan or strategy.”
“It is not part of this plan to close down schools,” adds Renaud. “Right now schools, every school seat which is there is going to stay open.”
A spokesperson for the Greater Essex County District School Board would not comment on the story, saying it's not the place of administration to comment on what is a political issue.”
But the chairperson for the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board released a statement to CTV News. It states;
Any talk of a merger of school boards is a discussion that would have to occur at the provincial level and our current government has clearly stated they have no intentions of ending funding for Catholic education.
We are a fiscally responsible organization that does an excellent job of managing our resources and providing top-quality education for more than 20,000 students and their families. In order to save costs, we already share a number of services including transportation, gas, shared utilities, media resources, some IT services, some snow removal, grass cutting, safe schools services, and breakfast programs.
The suggestion by Mr. Renaud that he is not proposing the closure of Catholic schools is completely disingenuous, and for him to bring this issue up in the media three weeks before the election is absurd and opportunistic. And rather than trying to put an end to Catholic education, Mr. Halberstadt should be more concerned about the issues that his own board is currently facing.
Our trustees and those Candidates who truly care about preserving Catholic education will continue to work on the premise that it is here to stay, and once elected, will continue to work on providing the best possible programming for our students.