Investigations into charges under way
TORONTO: A series of articles in the Toronto Star newspaper has left the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) defending itself against charges of wasteful spending when it comes to obtaining services.
The paper highlighted seemingly outrageous expenses, including:
- “Installing a $17 pencil sharpener: $143 to put in four screws”
- “An electrical outlet on the wall in a school library: $3,000″
- “The installation of a sign on a school’s front lawn: $19,000″ (The paper says the company that sold the sign estimates the installation should have only cost approximately $2,000.)
The chair of the TDSB spoke to a Toronto morning radio show, CBC’s Metro Morning, about the allegations. He said specific incidents would be investigated, and that the board had already requested the Ontario government’s assistance in conducting a full audit of its spending procedures.
Beyond highlighting individual cases of overspending, the paper has begun examining the board’s procurement process, and the role played by the Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council. It claims that contractors bidding on tenders must pay the council a percentage of the value of the outside contract.
All this comes when the TDSB is facing severe budget cutbacks.