Toronto District School Board
Ward 21 Trustee Vacancy

Trustee Appointment Process in Ward 21

Trustee Vacancy in Ward 21

Neethan Shan, who served as TDSB Trustee for Ward 21 (Scarborough-Rouge River), was recently elected Toronto City Councillor for Ward 42 (Scarborough-Rouge River). As a result of his resignation from the Board of Trustees, on February 15, 2017, the Trustee position in TDSB Ward 21 is currently vacant. While the position is being filled, those who wish to connect with a Trustee about a TDSB issue can contact the Ward 21 Office at 416-395-8787,

How will the vacancy be filled?

During the Special Board Meeting on March 8, 2017, Trustees voted to appoint a qualified person to the Ward 21 seat. A Ward 21 Selection Committee will be established to work with a third-party consultant to develop the appointment process, conduct interviews and recommend a candidate. Read the Board decision.

Who can apply?

Under the Education Act, applicants must be Canadian citizens, 18 years of age or older, public school supporters/ratepayers and residents of Toronto. (Applicants are not required to reside in TDSB Ward 21.) School board employees are not eligible for appointment. Learn more. (For additional information about the role of trustees see background information below.)


How does the appointment process work?

To ensure a transparent and accountable process, a Ward 21 Trustee Selection Committee was established and will work with The Phelps Group - an executive search firm - to develop the appointment process. The committee is comprised of nine Trustees, including the Chair and Vice Chair

The process will include the development of timelines for the receipt of applications, criteria, dates and times of interviews and a recommendation for the successful candidate. In accordance with the Education Act, this will occur within 90 days of the position becoming vacant, which will mean the presentation of a candidate at the April 19, 2017 Board Meeting.

What does the role of trustee involve?

School board trustees are elected officials who serve students, parents/guardians, community members and the public school system. Trustees are advocates for the needs of students, families and residents in their ward and provide an important link between communities and the school board. Trustees support a strong, equitable and high quality public education system and contribute to student achievement and well-being through effective policy-making, planning, evaluation and advocacy.

Learn more about the role of school board trustee. Learn more about being a TDSB trustee.

Why an appointment and not a by-election?

In accordance with the Education Act, Trustees passed the following resolution at the March 8, 2017 Special Board Meeting:

(a) That a qualified person be appointed to fill the trustee vacancy in Ward 21, Scarborough-Rouge River following a process as presented in the report;

(b) That a Ward 21 Trustee Selection Committee consisting of nine members, including the Chair and Vice-chair of the Board, be established to work with the Phelps Group to develop an appointment process, conduct interviews and make the selection;

(c) That the cost of the appointment process be absorbed as part of the Board’s total overall expenditures;

(d) That Trustees Arp, Brown, Cary-Meagher, Chadwick, Gough, Lister, Lulka, Moise and Pilkey be appointed to serve on the Ward 21 Trustee Selection Committee.

Trustees decided to appoint a Trustee, rather than hold a by-election, to best serve the needs of students and families in Ward 21. Due to the proximity of the next election in 2018, it is important to have a representative and an advocate in that seat as soon as possible for the remainder of the term.

Also, school boards typically decide to run by-elections when there is a trustee vacancy with more than two years left in the term and choose to appoint a trustee when there is less than two years left in a term. In addition, there are cost considerations for the Board. The City of Toronto has estimated the cost of holding a by-election in Ward 21 between $220,000 - $320,000 (exclusive of HST). The cost of an appointment process would not exceed $50,000.

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