Sudbury school board accused of 'selfish math' for spending $7M on new office

A new billboard on the Trans-Canada Highway in Sudbury, Ont., is turning heads. It takes aim at management from the Rainbow District School Board for engaging in "selfish math" by spending $7 million on a new office while reviewing whether to close or merge about 25 per cent of its schools.

Rainbow District School Board claims it will save money by moving into new headquarters

A new sign on Highway 17 heading east towards Lively, Ont., takes aim at the Rainbow District School Board. (CBC)
Selfish math? The Rainbow District School Board is reviewing whether to close 25 per cent of schools while spending seven million dollars on a new office for managers. The board's Director of education Norm Blaseg joined us to explain those numbers. 8:47
A new billboard on the Trans-Canada Highway in Sudbury, Ont., is turning heads.

It takes aim at management from the Rainbow District School Board for engaging in "selfish math" by spending $7 million on a new office while reviewing whether to close or merge about 25 per cent of its schools

"Anger is about the only thing that can come to mind," parent Chantelle Gorham said about the board's office purchase.

"I certainly don't think it could've come at a worst time," 

Gorham's photo of the sign is being widely shared on social media. 

"It's certainly resonating with the public that the Rainbow School Board is not conducting business above board."
The message behind the new billboard resonates with parent Chantelle Gorham, whose child attends one of the schools that may close or merge by the Rainbow District School Board. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

New board office 'not an easy sell'

Rainbow's director of education, Norm Blaseg, admits the timing of the office purchase could have been better. 

But he insists the money that is being spent on the construction is separate from day-to-day operations that affect schools closures.

He says the building will save dollars in the future.

"Is that an easy sell to the public? No it's not," Blaseg said.

"I understand that. But the reality is that it's a capital cost that we're trying to use in order to reduce our footprint."

The board is still receiving suggestions on how to save 12 schools.

A final decision will be made in the new year.

About the Author

Olivia Stefanovich

Reporter

Olivia Stefanovich is a network reporter for CBC News based in Toronto. She previously worked in Saskatchewan and northern Ontario. Connect with her on Twitter @CBCOlivia. Send story ideas to olivia.stefanovich@cbc.ca.