Columbus teachers union pulls endorsement of school board’s James Ragland

Alissa Widman Neese
 
| The Columbus Dispatch

Can a member of a public school board work for a group that advocates for private and charter schools?

It’s a simmering issue that recently boiled up for Columbus City Schools teachers and board member James Ragland. Ragland is the director of provider outreach for School Choice Ohio, a nonprofit group that informs Ohio families about the educational options available for their children, including private and charter schools.

The Columbus Education Association, the district’s teachers union, recently rescinded its endorsement of Ragland and took a vote of “no confidence” in his ability to serve the district, it announced Monday.

“He is actively trying to take money out of the pockets of our students,” association President John Coneglio told The Dispatch. “While the school board may not always agree with us, we want a board that reflects the schools that Columbus students deserve. Clearly

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Calgary school boards hire more teachers with federal funding



a sign on the side of a road: St. Joan of Arc School in southwest Calgary


© Global News
St. Joan of Arc School in southwest Calgary

Some Calgary parents are hoping that federal money designed to help schools deal with the COVID-19 pandemic will help reduce class sizes.

Steve McSween’s son is in Grade 4 at St. Joan of Arc School in southwest Calgary. He said his son’s class went from 20 to 30 kids this week, making him second guess his decision not to join the online learning option.

“We are frustrated,” said McSween on Saturday.

“We made a decision based on one set of criteria and now it’s changed and we are stuck where we are. I think the schools and the district are trying to do everything they can. We recognize it’s tough with the funding model but it would be nice if they are changing the class sizes that they would give the parents another chance to reconsider their options.”

The

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Ontario school boards lose 20% of education directors as daunting pandemic year looms



a person sitting at a table in a room: As school boards head into a challenging year, a significant amount will coincidentally have new leaders to guide them through it, in boards big (Toronto District, York Catholic) and small (Wellington Catholic, Trillium Lakelands).


© Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
As school boards head into a challenging year, a significant amount will coincidentally have new leaders to guide them through it, in boards big (Toronto District, York Catholic) and small (Wellington Catholic, Trillium Lakelands).

Heading into a school year as unpredictable as this one, you would think school boards and their leadership would want as much stability as they can get.

Yet a significant portion of Ontario’s education directors are leaving, either having retired this summer or will retire this school year. This includes 14 of the province’s 72 education directors in publicly funded school boards, about 20 per cent of all directors.

Departures range from heads of big boards (like Toronto District, Toronto Catholic, Ottawa Catholic, York Catholic) to smaller ones (Simcoe Muskoka Catholic, Wellington Catholic, Limestone District, Bluewater District).

“The number is large relative to a typical year,” said Tony Pontes, a former

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Ontario school boards urged to spend air quality funding by Thanksgiving



a group of people standing in a room


© Provided by The Canadian Press


TORONTO — School boards need to pick up the pace of air quality improvements as schools reopen this fall, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Friday, urging them not to move “on government time” as they rush to spend millions in funding allocated earlier this week.

Ford’s remarks came just days after the province told school boards they should spend $50 million by Thanksgiving to upgrade air quality in schools in an effort to bolster COVID-19 safety measures.

School boards, opposition politicians and school repair advocates said the government timeline will be difficult to meet.

But Ford said Friday that the money is there, boards need to move now as students return to the classroom in weeks.

“Everything is immediate nowadays with this pandemic,” Ford said. “We can’t wait, we can’t go on government time and dawdle along. We’ve got to go on lightning speed

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Alberta school boards appreciate federal funding but some ‘disappointed’ by province’s response



The federal government announced Aug. 26, 2020 it would spend up to $2 billion to help provinces and territories prepare for safe school re-entry this fall.


© Jennifer Sinco Kelleher / AP Photo
The federal government announced Aug. 26, 2020 it would spend up to $2 billion to help provinces and territories prepare for safe school re-entry this fall.

While many of Alberta’s school districts are expressing gratitude for $2 billion from Ottawa to help prepare for safe re-entry into schools as restrictions remain in place because of COVID-19, some say the support should be coming from the provincial government instead.

Read more: Coronavirus: Ottawa giving provinces $2B for back-to-school safety

“Classes for Edmonton Public Schools begin next week, and our board has been advocating to the province for additional funding to support the safest return to school possible,” EPSB chair Trisha Estabrooks said in a statement.

“Today’s federal announcement of $2 billion to support schools across the country is appreciated.

“However, I want to be very clear — education is a provincial responsibility, and we

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