TDSB trustees are misusing their expense accounts, an auditor finds

TDSB trustees are misusing their expense accounts, an auditor finds


The Toronto District School Board’s trustees have a new bullet point to add to their lengthy resume of failures: a new internal audit concludes that some of them have been racking up improper office expenses.

Each trustee gets a $27,000 discretionary fund to spend on job-related things, but there are few restrictions on specifically how the money should be divvied up among things like business cards, professional development, paying assistants, and so on.

Among the inappropriate discretionary expenses noticed by the auditor were a $250 reimbursement for a parking ticket; $5,000 in in improperly purchased equipment, including an iPad; and $14,000 in international calls and roaming charges over the past four years. The Globe says the money was also used to pay at least two TDSB staff members to do political work for trustees, meaning those staff members were essentially drawing two salaries, both of them on the school district’s bankroll. Arrangements like those are against board policy. In general, the audit finds that there isn’t enough oversight of trustee spending. The TDSB board is already in the process of approving some new policies and transparency measures to address that problem.

This is the sort of thing that makes Rob Ford’s head explode—and with pretty good reason. These amounts of money are small in the context of the billions of dollars spent by Toronto’s different government bodies each year, but reports of frivolous spending can undermine confidence in the tax system, which in turn leads to problems like, um, Rob Ford being elected mayor.