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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Board Supports Ombudsman

Grey Bruce | by John Divinski  

Bluewater School Board supports expansion of Ombudsman powers for Boards.

The Bluewater District School Board has unanimously endorsed extending the powers of a provincial ombudsman to include boards of education.

The move was fast-tracked in order to make second reading of Bill 183 on Thursday at Queen's Park.

The proposed legislation is a private member's bill from MPP Rosario Marchese which would allow the Ombudsman to investigate boards of education when warranted.

Saugeen Shores/Arran Elderslie trustee Kevin Larson says the bill would allow parents groups an extra step if they feel justice has not been served by the board.

Larson says he is not aware of any problems with the board and the public right now but in the future if a mistake should be made, the taxpayer should have another avenue of recourse.

His motion came on the heels of a presentation made by concerned parent Joe Grieco who says a great amount of stress and wasted time could have been avoided by his family if Bill 183 was in place.

His family, along with several other families are currently in a 35 million dollar litigation against the board, alleging bullying of their children at several schools over the last five years.

Grieco would also like to see the Director of Education John Bryant publicly announce that his administration will not put up with what he calls the "bad habits" of the previous administration.

Support for Bill 183 will be sent to Bruce Grey Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch and Huron Bruce MPP Carol Mitchell for inclusion in Thursday's discussion at Queen's Park.

Many provinces do allow their Ombudsman to investigate boards of education when necessary but Ontario does not have such legislation in place yet.


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