Monday, October 27 is municipal election day in Ontario. The Toronto mayoral race is at the forefront of many voter’s minds, but another important election is taking place in Toronto and every city across the province: the election of school-board trustees.

School-board trustees wield some serious power and make big decisions for our kids. Their efforts (or lack thereof) can greatly affect your kids’ day-to-day and long-term experience at school.

In the past few years, the Toronto District School Board in particular has come under scrutiny for reckless spending and tampering with expense reports in a cover-up attempt. In short, it’s important to know who you are voting for, and why.

What is a School Board Trustee?

Your trustee is your voice on the municipal school board.

Elected every four years, school board trustees bridge the gap between the community and the school board. Their job is to represent their community by bringing the community’s concerns to the attention of the board and to keep constituents informed of what the board is doing.

They meet on a regular basis and have smaller committees that meet regularly as well.

Important things school-board trustees do:

  • establish big-picture policy direction and multi-year plans
  • approve budgets (includes spending everything from programs to infrastructure to books and technology—essentially, they decide how your tax dollars are spent)
  • advocate for their communities’ interests

Qualities of an effective trustee:

  • a strong advocate who can make their voice heard and persuade others
  • a good listener who will consider the concerns of kids, parents, community members, and teachers
  • someone who can work with parents so they understand what’s at stake and what can be done
  • someone who is involved: visits local schools and does research into relevant issues

How To Be Involved

Here’s an easy to to find school-board trustee candidates in Toronto.

Find your TDSB ward and sitting trustee information here.

After a school-board trustee is elected, keep informed about how they’re doing and voice your concerns through resources like Toronto’s Ward Council Meetings or you can even join a Parent Involvement Advisory Committee.

Don’t overlook your opportunity to be involved in trustee selection. Kids can’t vote for their own interests—it’s up to you.

PHOTO: US DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION/FLICKR CC

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