Thursday, July 26, 2012

TDSB To Star: It's Gonna Cost You To See My Hand

The Toronto Star, after conducting an excoriating investigative series on the fiscal incompetence of the Toronto District School Board in its very costly arrangement with Jimmy Hazel's Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council, has learned the price of getting the complete picture of that incompetence: $3.6 million.

That's how much officials have told the paper it will cost to get more than a peek at their fiscal cards following a request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the board's electronic database of work orders showing what taxpayers have been charged for maintenance and construction projects at local schools.

Despite the fact that The Star requested a copy of the electronic database, the board, which, with a straight face insists on its commitment to transparency, lists the following charges that would be incurred in meeting that 'commitment':

• $1,125,000 to search for the records in the SAP database, which would take 37,500 hours at $30 per hour

• $1,350,000 to prepare the records for release, which would take 45,000 hours at $30 per hour. She estimates one-quarter of the records would have to be “severed,” to remove information they objected to releasing. The Star has seen sample pages from the records and there is no personal information, which is typically the type of information removed.

• $1,080,000 to photocopy the records, even though the Star asked for an electronic copy of the database. The TDSB said there are 5.4 million pages detailing the work orders and the charge levied would be 20 cents a page.

Apparently the information is stored on what is called a SAP database which, according to Wikipedia, is an enterprise-wide information system designed to coordinate all the resources, information, and activities needed to complete business processes such as order fulfillment or billing. According to The Star article, the database shows when a work order is requested by a school, when the work is done, how many hours are charged, how many workers are involved and other details.

I suspect after the general public reads about the TDSB's outrageous attempt to conceal the full extent of its ineptitude through these prohibitive charges, the information will soon be available at 'firesale' prices.


  1. Compete bullshit. if it's in SAP, it's easily available.

  2. It would take over four years worth of hours collect all this information, and then over another four years worth of hours to comb through all this information? Wow. Imagine searching for this information without the aid of computers, and search functions such as indexing and filters?