Much discussion and debate are expected when new public school trustee David Smith hosts his first ward forum this evening at Cedarbrae Collegiate.
Smith defeated Scott Harrison for the Ward 19 (Scarborough Centre) position in last year’s municipal elections.
High on the agenda is the proposed closing of two schools – McCowan Rd. Junior Public this year and Pringdale Gardens Public next year – because of low enrolment. Students are expected to attend John McRae Senior Public School.
“The schools are in close proximity and John McRae is the newest of the three,” said Smith. “However, before a decision is taken, all of the stakeholders, including the community, will be allowed to have their say. We want to do this in a democratic manner.”
The chief executive officer of Vision Accounting and Consulting Services, Smith said he will ensure that residents in his constituency are provided with appropriate programs that address the needs of students who are dropping out of school and seniors.
Smith, who chairs the Administration, Finance and Accountability Committee, recently opened a new office at Scarborough Civic Centre. He brushed aside suggestions that public funds were used to refurbish the building.
“I applied for the space which was a storeroom with no doors or windows and when it was granted, I cleaned it up,” he said. “All of the furniture is used and I did not access my expense account…After I was elected, I made it clear that I needed a ward office so I could be close to the people that elected me. It just does not make sense for those people to leave Scarborough and come to my trustee office. If I had to make a choice, I would give up my trustee office.”
The father of seven and former CARICOM Cultural Association vice president is one of three Black public school trustees. The others are Michael Coteau (Don Valley East) and Stephnie Payne (York West).