Ottawa

Stop double duty for principals, parents plead

Some local parents are asking the Ottawa public school board to stop putting the same principal in charge of more than one elementary school, after one was forced to take medical leave.

Some local parents are asking the Ottawa public school board to stop putting the same principal in charge of more than one elementary school, after one was forced to take medical leave.

Currently at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, 11 principals are responsible for 22 elementary schools. It was a cost-cutting measure implemented for the fall of 2002 by the provincially appointed board supervisor.

Facing twice the responsibility, one principal stepped down after in the first week after the announcement.

Now the principal of Elmdale Public School, who is also principal of Hilson Avenue School, has taken medical leave.

"I saw the writing on the wall," said Paula Roy, the president of Elmdale's school council.

"I thought, 'No one can work for that hard for that long when there's no end in sight of this twinning situation.'"

Elmdale school council will make a presentation Monday night at the meeting of the board's transition team.

The parents are supported in their concerns by the Ontario Principals Council, which doesn't like school twinning either. But its reasons go beyond workload issues.

It maintains that all schools need the safety of a full-time principal on site.

"In polling we know that a significant number, well over 90 per cent of the public, believes it's important to have full-time principals just to manage and to supervise the schools, which really focuses on student safety," said Principals Council president Ted Whiteland.

Any board decision to change the practice would have to wait until February, when planning starts for the coming school year.

now