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WSD to address scathing report

Must show how it will 'clean up act'

Winnipeg School Division board chairman Mark Wasyliw says trustees will meet in private to address recommendations to improve the transparency of the division.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Winnipeg School Division board chairman Mark Wasyliw says trustees will meet in private to address recommendations to improve the transparency of the division.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/7/2015 (1435 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Winnipeg School Division trustees will hold an emergency board meeting behind closed doors Aug. 10 to figure out how they can comply with 22 recommendations to "clean up their act" and avoid being thrown out of office on New Year's Eve.

Investigator-educator John Wiens filed a scathing report earlier this month on governance in WSD.

Wiens told Education Minister James Allum he should fire the "out of control" WSD school board Dec. 31 unless it cleans up its act of "shameful, reckless dysfunction."

Allum has given WSD until Aug. 31 to tell him how it will implement the recommendations by year's end.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/7/2015 (1435 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Winnipeg School Division trustees will hold an emergency board meeting behind closed doors Aug. 10 to figure out how they can comply with 22 recommendations to "clean up their act" and avoid being thrown out of office on New Year's Eve.

Investigator-educator John Wiens filed a scathing report earlier this month on governance in WSD.

Wiens told Education Minister James Allum he should fire the "out of control" WSD school board Dec. 31 unless it cleans up its act of "shameful, reckless dysfunction."

Allum has given WSD until Aug. 31 to tell him how it will implement the recommendations by year's end.

"We are holding an emergency board meeting on Aug. 10 to respond to the recommendations. We are working with the province to have an implementation plan in place as per their deadlines," WSD board chairman Mark Wasyliw said by email Monday.

Ironically, the province appointed Wiens to review governance as a means to improve the openness and transparency of the school division, but the trustees will meet in camera.

Despite misgivings about the report, Wasyliw said he believes the board will implement the recommendations.

"With informal discussions from trustees, I can tell you that there are a number of recommendations that are (in our opinion) not very well thought out," Wasyliw said.

"In addition, (there are) some recommendations that have no factual support or foundation in the report and seem to come out of nowhere without explanation/rationale. Many of the recommendations come from the trustees themselves and will be quite doable to implement. I would say that there will only be a handful (of recommendations) that will be problematic," he said.

Wiens is on vacation until the end of the month, but said in an email: "I support all the trustees and am appreciative of their willingness to serve — all they need to do is learn how to do their jobs in a way that the public can trust them; i.e. publicly justify their actions — the public deserves this. I am sure that they can learn to do this. That's why I agreed to do the review and that's why I was so forthright."

Wiens said in his report that chief superintendent Pauline Clarke handled internally an accusation of harassment allegedly committed by a trustee against a division employee.

"The details for the harassment case were shared with me in confidence, so the board would have to release them," he said.

Wasyliw has said the trustee is currently on the board, and the alleged victim is a senior member of staff. The harassment was not sexual, said Wasyliw, who has declined to comment further.

Wasyliw has also said Wiens should have declared a conflict of interest. Wiens, said Wasyliw, singled out trustee Sherri Rollins for criticism, but had recruited and worked for a candidate who ran unsuccessfully against Rollins last fall, a woman whose mother is on Wiens's staff at the University of Manitoba, said Wasyliw.

"Do Mark's observations, which I deny, change anything substantially?" said Wiens.

"By the way," said Wiens, "I think Mark could be and will be an awesome chair — he is articulate, personable and knowledgeable."

The candidate could not be reached.

Allum has declined to comment on the election allegation, and has said any further comment on the review will be up to Wiens.

Said Wasyliw: "We have received no other response from the minister. We are complying with the process that the minister's office has laid out. We as a board will also have to work on a 'management response' to the report, which we have been advised by the minister that they will attach to and include in the report."

 

The John Wiens report on Winnipeg School Division Governance Review can be found at wfp.to/wsdgovernancereview.

The response of WSD school board chairman Mark Wasyliw to the governance review can be found at wfp.to/wasilywresponse.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at 7:59 AM CDT: Replaces photo

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