A trustee’s responsibilities fall into several different areas; communicator with the public, policy maker and an advocate for quality education. Trustees also have personnel, budget allocation and committee responsibilities. They are accountable to all public school ratepayers in York Region.
Communicators with the Public
Trustees are accountable to the community for decisions made by the Board. They communicate with the public through organized and informal meetings with parent groups and concerned citizens, and also through the distribution of newsletters and other materials. Trustees field numerous inquiries and are available and accessible to address concerns from the community with respect to Board policies and procedures.
Trustees have the ultimate responsibility for approving, reviewing and monitoring the effectiveness of the policies and by-laws which govern the Board’s entire operation. Policies are developed in conjunction with staff to address program, student, staff, property, Board and administration requirements. The Board is also active in many provincial educational associations, including the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, and lobbies the Ministry of Education and other government bodies for changes to existing policies and legislation.
Advocates for Quality Education
The Board ensures that the quality of education in York Region is maintained through the development, review and evaluation of curriculum standards and testing instruments. The focus is on meeting the educational goals and needs of all students in a changing global environment. Instructional materials are written in accordance with guidelines established by the Ministry of Education.
Trustees must allocate budget funds provided by the provincial government in accordance with Ministry of Education legislation, regulations and guidelines. The budget provides for payment of all expenses incurred for school purposes including staffing, textbooks, curriculum materials, school buildings, property and equipment.
One of the Board’s primary roles is that of employer for more than 11,000 employees. Trustees maintain responsibility for ensuring health and safety and employment equity standards in accordance with the current legislation. The Board also negotiates the collective agreements with federations and unions representing its various employee groups. Trustees approve recommendations with respect to the appointment of senior staff and supervisory officers and are responsible for the hiring and terms of employment for the Director of Education.
Trustees spend a considerable amount of time serving on Board Committees. In addition to the regular monthly Board Meeting, trustees are required to serve on the Board Standing Committee, which meets once each month as well as the Budget Committee which is scheduled as needed between February and June each year.
There are numerous other ad hoc committees as well as statutory committees on which trustees are required to serve. Meetings may take place during the day or evening and usually involve Board and other resource staff. Committees develop recommendations for the Board’s consideration with respect to personnel, budget allocation, as well as program and planning for the delivery of public education.