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Critics urge clean sweep of Catholic­ board

They cost taxpayers $1.3 million instead of the allowed $400,000.

They cost taxpayers $1.3 million instead of the allowed $400,000.

They knowingly voted themselves illegal health and dental benefits.

When a forensic auditor was called in, one owed a whopping $13,500 in questionable expenses, which he had to repay. A judge forced two off the board over conflicts of interest.

But will the sins of Toronto Catholic school board trustees be forgiven — or forgotten — at election time?

A number of parents and Catholic educators hope not. With eight trustees running for re-election, they are calling on voters not to re-elect any. Even Toronto’s archbishop has issued a plea to Catholics to vote for candidates with integrity.

“I think this last batch of Catholic trustees has done harm not just to Catholic education, but all public education,” said Bruce Davis, who chairs the Toronto public board and is a longtime political strategist.

But incumbents have the advantage of name recognition and, added Davis, “as soon as there are more than two or three (opposing candidates), the incumbent is virtually guaranteed getting in.”

Catholic Trustee John Del Grande — the only trustee to raise concerns about the health benefits — said no one is “beyond reproach” but it’s unfair to taint the entire group.

“If you get a whole bunch of rookies, the learning curve is great and staff ... aren’t held as accountable,” he said.

 
 
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