UGDSB trustee resigns; board welcomes new faces, lauds custodial/maintenance staff

GUELPH – Kids are settling back into routines with the new school year well underway, and the Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) had its first meeting of the year on Sept. 12. 

Trustee resigns

Orangeville trustee Kenn Manzerolle’s resignation was announced during the meeting. No reason was provided, and Manzerolle did not respond to Advertiser requests for comment. 

“Kenn has been part of this team that has worked well together and brought valuable contributions,” said chair Ralf Mesenbrink during the meeting. 

There are two possible pathways for Manzerolle’s replacement: the board can appoint a replacement within 90 days, or a by-election can be held. 

Staff will prepare a report by Sept. 26 providing more information, including how similar situations have been handled, historical voter turnout in Orangeville, and the potential cost of a by-election.

In the meantime, Mesenbrink will be available to Orangeville students and families. 

New faces 

Time was taken during the meeting to welcome three new faces to the team: superintendent of education Peggie Blair, human rights and equity advisor Alicia Ralph and urban student senate trustee Paige Knight. 

Brooke Hartley will continue to serve as the rural student trustee. 

Custodial and maintenance staff 

Director of education Peter Sovran expressed appreciation for the custodial and maintenance staff working across the UGDSB. 

“During the summer months when most of us take some time to recharge and refresh, get some vacation time, that is one of the absolute busiest periods of work for [maintenance and custodial staff] – often in very hot, muggy conditions,” said Sovran. 

“And the schools are glistening. The ventilation is working, the capital investments and improvements made, and that’s all because of their efforts during this time. 

“It’s a reminder that we are an organization of nearly 7,000 part- and full-time employees working each and every day, putting students at the centre of everything that we do, so that collectively their experience can be a good one.” 

Membership fees

The board approved its annual membership fees, $72,984, plus HST, to the Ontario Public School Boards Association (OPSBA), which advocates on behalf of the best interests and needs of English public district school boards and public school board authorities.

“These funds allow OPSBA to serve those member boards through advocacy for public education, research, professional development and networking, and negotiating and supporting collective agreements,” said Mesenbrink. 

“OPSBA has a 35-year history of building positive and mutually respectful working relationships with politicians and staff from all parties represented in the Ontario legislature as well as with the other trustee organizations.”