I've taken the last few days to look back on my second time as a candidate for the office of Trustee for Ward 5 - York Centre at the Toronto District School Board. Those that have come up to me in the days following the election to inform me that I had their vote have left me in awe. Thank you, all.I ran a campaign that did not receive the organizational support of a single political party, labour union or incumbent local politician. Perhaps that is why my vote total dipped to the degree that it did. Josh Donaldson could not do what he does without Edwin Encarnacion hitting behind him. And it is very difficult for any would be politician to get themselves elected without those heavy hitters behind them.
I set out to speak to four particular points:
(1) Excellent education for all. The TDSB has failed to meet the many special needs of students. My daughter is not the only student being failed by our public system. I endeavoured to put her issues on the proverbial table. I did. Our Trustee elect had reached out to me and expressed an interest in working together going forward.
(2) Reviewing pathways and catchments. This perhaps became the most controversial of my campaign promises. But I do stand by it. Choice in education is necessary. With a total of fifteen new trustees and new Board Chair since the last general election the TDSB has a greater opportunity than ever before to address a solution to this problem.
(3) Fiscal responsibility. While the issue did garner me some attention it will be up to the new trustees and Chair to address the necessary reallocation of funds. If her campaign was any indication this will be a priority for our trustee-elect.
(4) Accountability. With new mandates in Wards 1 and 5, trustees are being given an opportunity to prove they can be trusted. I pray they do not disappoint.
I want my supporters to know I do know I do not see my result as the proverbial end. We ran a campaign that maintained integrity in an effort to a give a voice to the voiceless. To that end I believe we achieved.
I will allow Trustee-Elect Lulka to do her job during the course of her mandate. However, I have been to doors across my community. I can no longer turn a blind eye to a failure of representation. Trustee-Elect Lulka has been given as opportunity to do better than her predecessor and we should all respect the decision of the electorate and allow her to do that.
I do want to acknowledge that our incoming Trustee has reached out to me following the campaign. And this is a tremendous start. As I remain the representative for our area at the TDSB's special education advisory committee (SEAC), I believe this demonstrates she is prepared to make children with special needs a priority. There is still so much to be done and the next two years are already under way.