The new game plan

The shrinking trustee

Here are the salient points of a new management game plan Hawkes- bury Hawks’ co-owner and head coach Shawn Anderson has drawn up for the Robert Hartley Sports Complex. Shawn Anderson (HST) Hockey Spe- cific Training Consultants agree to work with sports and recreation culture de- partment director Liette Valade to oversee all operations in the complex. HSTwillincreaserevenueinallareasofthe two rinks, pool, community room, courses, canteen, and all space currently not gen- erating revenue in and around the com- plex by $200,000 within the first five years. HST will work with Valade to find op- erational efficiencies that would re- duce the operating cost of the complex by $180,000 over the next five years. CAO by fall HAWKESBURY | The town of Hawkesbury expects to hire a new chief administrator sometime this fall. August 23 is the deadline the municipal- ity has set for submitting applications for the chief administrative officer’s post. The town is seeking a multi-talented per- son. In addition to a manager, the munici- pality wants the new boss to be a “mentor/ coach,” and a strategist and visionary who will help determine the future direction of the municipality. “The successful candidate must be accessible and become an active member/participant of the community of the Town of Hawkesbury,” the job posting reads. The job pays between $104,134 and $120,717 per year. The post has been vacant since late May when Normand Beaulieu left the job he had held since 2007. Beaulieu had been both administrator and treasurer. In the interim, clerk Christine Groulx is serving as administrator and chief accountant Francine Tessier is serving as treasurer. Beaulieu had succeeded Martin Bon- homme after working three years as admin- istrator-treasurer in Casselman. Before ac- cepting the Casselman post, Beaulieu had worked as clerk-treasurer in Hawkesbury for a period of six years.

seal austere deals with teachers. While the “power of the individual” has increased because of technology, in educa- tion circles, the notion of local autonomy has become almost extinct. This movement began decades ago. At one time, in the pre-merger era, boards were smaller and had independent taxing powers. The education lines on tax bills var- ied, depending on whether the property owner supported the Catholic or public board. You will remember that schools made headlines all the time in the 1980s. That was when taxpayers and students took to the streets as the region’s systems were overhauled after the Ontario government recognized religious and linguistic rights. The creation of fully-funded Catholic high schools and French-language schools led to the 1998 mergers that gave us the four massive systems we have now. In the meantime, the province removed the local taxing powers. This was a popu- lar move; a uniform province-wide tax rate “leveled the playing field.” Ostensibly, money would not be a factor in education, because every board would have access to sufficient financing. But, of course, money is always an issue. The province gives, and the province can take away. Every form of local government lives with this reality every day. Municipalities, counties and hospitals can do little without ongoing government sup- port. Virtually every public expense is sub- sidized by the provincial treasury. Whether it is a new road, a bigger culvert or a better hospital bed, that cost is dependent on fi- nancing from Queen’s Park. Our locally elected bodies do have a de- gree of independence. But the province does not sign blank cheques, figuratively speaking. Most of the time, there are strings at- tached to the funds. Some call it “account- ability.”Others would term it “meddling.” This control usually produces long-term benefits. For example, if a municipality wants provincial funds to upgrade a sew- age system, its chances of getting approval increase if the municipality also installs planet-friendly water meters. The latest school board tussle under- scores the shift of authority from local boards to the Ontario Ministry of Education. Teachers must accept pay freezes, the ministry contends. The basic message is that, if left to their own devices, local de- cision makers would sign costly contracts with the unions, and the province will be even more broke than it is today. So Education Minister Laurel Broten is ready to impose on all boards the deal re- cently inked by the English Catholic Teach- ers Association, a pact that cuts teachers’ salaries by 1.5 per cent. Broten says the government will legislate “agreements” in order to ensure the start of the school year is not delayed by a teach- ers’ strike. The talk of a walkout is nonsense, union officials say. As the finger-pointing continues, the de- bate over the clout of the local trustee ap- pears to have become strictly academic.

The stores would have us believe that it is always “Back To School Time!” So it is appropriate that we take time to engage in a discussion of School Board Structures. No, wait! Do not turn that page! This may not be as boring as you fear! Try to consider the slow disappearance of the school board trustee, a once respected species of public official whose effective- ness has been persistently eroded over the years. To try to retain your interest, take a quick painless quiz. What school board runs the schools your children attend? What school board receives your tax money?Who is your school board trustee? Have you ever won- dered why every school now has a roadside sign? Honestly, do we not already have enough distractions when we are driving? The last thing we need is to have our gaze diverted by a sign that urges us to have a safe and fabulous summer, and to “Register Now!” Why are schools advertising education as if it was an all-you-can-eat buffet or a two-for- one offer on winter tires? No doubt there is method to this appar- ent madness. But the central question is if school board trustees get beaten up, in a figurative sense, by cold, calculating, money-driven bullies, would anyone hear, or care? Unfortunately, few people pay attention to school boards, until they decide to do something drastic, such as alter a bus route, close a school or re-arrange lockers. “Who is in charge of the school house?” That is the question the Upper Canada District School Board feels ought to be on the minds of Ontarians. You may have noticed that the board has been scolding the Ontario government for the shrinking role of trustees in public edu- cation. Says Chair Greg Pietersma: “Citizens of Ontario need to debate whether schools will continue to be run locally or from To- ronto.” The board is sending a letter to the pre- mier asking him to conduct a debate on who is in charge of the school house, and more specifically, to discuss the role of the modern trustee, school boards, federations, and the Ministry of Education. Ongoing consolidation and centralization of power over public schools and school boards by the provincial government have eroded the authority of local representa- tives, argues the UCDSB, which administers English-language public schools in eastern Ontario. Since 2003, there has been a considerable consolidation of power in the area of fi- nancial management, labour relations, and legislation, says the UCDSB. “This has hap- pened with little or no public debate or any rationale on how this will improve student achievement,” said Pietersma. It seems that it is too late for any discus- sion about the future function of locally elected representatives when it comes to administering school systems. The Ontario government has served no- tice that, as part of its attempts to erase the red ink on its books, it will force boards to

Shawn Anderson

HST will seek out new opportunities to in- crease awareness of the facility and to add revenue from the following -- sport, retail and commercial trade shows, sports con- ferences and certification programs, CCHL All Star Game, spring hockey tournaments, hockey schools, ball hockey leagues, etc.) HST will provide Valade with in- formation to obtain additional government grants and funding. Rinks 1 and 2: Increase revenue by a minimum of $100,000 within the first 12 months and up to $200,000 by year 5. Pool: Work with pool administra- tor to help increase revenue with ad- ditional services and programs. Community Room: Generate a mini- mum of $10,000 of annual revenue for the rental and use of the room. Po- tential revenue in this area can exceed the current $28,000 operating costs. Courses: Create additional programs in all aspects of the facility to increase revenue. Canteen: Manage canteen or cre- ate a joint venture to increase revenue. Additional Space/Facility Rent- al: Sport Shop, additional po- tential space to lease, shows, events. Commission: The target is to have a surplus of $160,000. This is based on a pre-agreed rate of annual average revenue of the facil- ity for the past three years of $500,000. HST will receive 50% of all new revenue and repeat new revenue HST brings into the facility. This payment will be capped at a maximum of $80,000 per year. Once $80,000 is achieved, HST would then re- ceive an additional 20% of all the new rev- enue on top of the $160,000 in the first year.

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