Second City, Second Metro: Steady as She Goes for the Collegiate Board

Having been organized in 1873, the Collegiate Institute Board had established a system and series of agreements with the Townships that it was anxious to protect. Image: Basketball game at Lisgar Collegiate, February 1956. City of Ottawa Archives, Item CA037169.

When officials of the Collegiate Institute Board of Ottawa appeared in front of the Jones Commission, they took the time to carefully explain the system they had worked to establish, why any dramatic changes to the administration of secondary education that might come with a regional government are, at best, unnecessary, and that the existing system may be extended.

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Trustees of secondary education in Ottawa were first appointed in 1843. Collegiate Board trustees as such came into being in 1873, and an Advisory Industrial Committee was established in 1913 which later developed into an Advisory Vocational Committee, consisting of eight co-opted members and the eight trustees of the Collegiate Institute Board.

Private Bills have established agreements with Nepean and Gloucester whereby the townships build their high schools and the Collegiate Institute Board operates them as integral parts of one system. Alltold, the Board operates 16 secondary schools with more than 20,000 pupils and over 1,000 teachers. Six more schools are under construction or being planned, and one existing school will become an Adult Education Centre.

Liaison is maintained with the Ottawa Public and Separate School Boards by the Ottawa Education Co-ordinating Committee. While it is recognized that the break between elementary and secondary schools causes some difficulty for students, the Collegiate Institute Board believes that the present arrangement gives better and more specialized service than would a combined public elementary and secondary school board. Such a combined board would be elected by the 50% of the population which is Protestant, with the Catholic 50% being represented for secondary school matters by a minority of only two trustees named by the Separate School Board; thus many ratepayers would be unable to vote for a Board of Education.

Appointment of trustees has seen this heavy responsibility accepted by citizens of standing in the community, many of whom would be reluctant to contest elections. The long tenure of appointed

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trustees also results in knowledgable opinion to shape the Board's policies.

The arrangements with Nepean and Gloucester also have advantages over a system of metropolitan financial aid to individual local boards left with their own salary scales, curricula, administrations, etc. competing with one another for staff.

Equal secondary educational opportunity for all in the greater Ottawa area is largely possible now through agreements with the Nepean, Gloucester, Rockland and Cumberland High School District Boards, and could be extended to or beyond the greenbelt.

The present Collegiate Institute Board structure with its experienced and specialized trustees, might well be continued because of the vast number of secondary students moving up into the schools, and the increasing burden of adult education.

The Board will examine carefully any suggestions for sharing the cost of common services which related to the physical and mental welfare of the total school population.



Mr. J.Y. Harcourt, Chairman of the Board, Dr. H. Pullen, Superintendent and Secretary-Treasurer, Mr. W. Vickers, Business Administrator, and Mr. T. McDonald were present to make the submission.

It was pointed out that the excess pupil capacity of about 1,100 pupil-spaces which is indicated on page 101 of the Report on Research Findings was due essentially to the fact that two new secondary schools had just been opened by the Board, and were not yet filled.

The composition of the Board includes six members who are appointed by City Council for a three year term with reappointment for one or more additional terms frequently occurring to take advantage

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of the growing knowledge and experience of members. Two other members are appointees for a one year term by the Ottawa Public and Ottawa Separate School Boards respectively, Mr. Harcourt being the current Public School Board appointee. Liaison between these two elementary school board appointees was stated to be excellent, and it was noted that all appointees feel a sense of responsibility to those who appoint them, who are in turn elected representatives of the people of course.

The appointed members of the Collegiate Institute Board in turn appoint eight additional members to the Board's Vocational Advisory Committee.

Through the appointive procedure as opposed to the elected board, it is felt that some capable and well-qualified members of the community including Federal Civil Servants, become available for service on the Board, whereas many of these would not be willing or able to find time to participate in elections, particularly if any political party overtones were to become evident during the campaign. It was also felt that elected members may be somewhat prone to making "political speeches" to further their careers in local politics, rather than simply working hard on educational matters. The present Board membership includes two Federal Civil Servants.

Liaison between the Collegiate Institute Board and the two elementary school boards was stated to be excellent without the need for an elementary-secondary Board of Education for coordination. Trustees of all three boards meet together at least twice a year to discuss mutual problems, teachers visit back and forth, and grade 8 students are encouraged to visit the high school they will subsequently be attending. It was further noted that there is a greater need for integration of institutions like the Eastern Ontario Institute of Technology and the Ontario Vocational Centre with Ottawa's secondary schools, than there is to further integrate elementary and secondary administration in Ottawa.

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Liaison with other secondary school boards outside Ottawa is also excellent it was pointed out. The agreements with Nepean and Gloucester whereby they build their schools and the Ottawa Collegiate Institute Board operates them were stated to be working very satisfactorily, with adequate consultation on all decisions which affect both parties. Nepean and Gloucester now pay the Ottawa Collegiate Institute Board for the actual cost of operation of each school, a more satisfactory arrangement than the previous system of per pupil per diem. The Nepean and Gloucester Boards have not suggested any desire to appoint any members to the Ottawa Collegiate Institute Board.

It was suggested that the type of agreement in effect with Nepean and Gloucester could be extended to other municipalities should this prove desirable under any forthcoming changes in the structure of local government.