Friday, January 11, 2013

Toronto School Board gives Chris Spence $160,000 golden parachute for serial plagiarism

Photo from TDSB FaceBook page,
he noted, being careful to attribute something for once

Now that it’s been discovered that school board director Chris Spence has been plagiarizing for years – starting with his doctoral thesis if not earlier – he’s had to resign. Chris Bolton, chair of the Toronto District School Board has accepted Spence’s resignation with “a profoundly heavy heart.” And, says Bolton, in resigning, Spence did the honorable thing.

Not quite.

The honorable thing would have been to fess up to all his plagiarizing, which Spence hasn’t done. Even more, the honorable thing would have been to slink off, feeling deeply ashamed. Instead, he’s slinking off with $160,000 of our money.  That’s seven month’s salary, which apparently is what the school board pays for plagiarism these days.

Ah, but surely Spence is entitled to severance pay, you might say. Maybe legally. But not if he wants to be called honorable. After all, you don’t get severance when you get fired with cause, and while it’s nice of the Board to let him resign (which is why he gets severance), if he hadn’t gone peacefully, the Board surely would have terminated him.

The school board would never have even hired Spence if they’d known about his history of plagiarism. Indeed, even OISE wouldn’t have given him a PhD if they’d known about his plagiarism (though admittedly with OISE, anything’s possible), and without his PhD, Spence wouldn’t have been considered for the job of director.

So essentially, Spence got his job through fraud. Is he offering to return the money we’ve paid him? That would be the honorable thing.

I’m not really out for blood. I don’t really mind that Spence hasn’t owned up to all his plagiarism. His public shaming is complete. I don’t need to see him further humbled. Nor do I really expect him to pay back the salary he’s received over the years.

But it’s idiotic to say Spence did the honorable thing in accepting a $160,000 golden parachute.
Not that I blame Spence for accepting the payout. He’s got bills the same as everyone else. But the Board is at fault for offering Spence a severance package. This is what the Board still doesn’t get:  our schools need money! They’re falling apart. And you know, $160 grand here, a $160 grand there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

Thanks to Anonymous for pointing out that Spence's severance package actually comes to about $200,000! Also, as usual, Robert K has good commentary over at Eye on a Crazy Planet.


  1. mastercard8•15 minutes ago−

    Why Chris why? You did much that was good but unfortunately you will be remembered only for screwing up. Remember people do not get punished for their crimes but for getting caught. Now we will have to invite Putin from Russia to sort out that failure, the TDSB.

    BTW did you do anything funny to get your Bachelors' or Masters degrees? Retarded to give up $272K plus expense account. You could have stretched it to retirement after which nobody would care if you flunked out in Grade 8.

  2. Actually, over $200,000

    According to Toronto Star:
    "He is also entitled to a payout of unused sick days, as well as vacation pay, totalling $45,000, sources told the Star."

  3. Good post, Brian. Once again, a cheat gets a golden handshake!!