An Open Letter to the Trustees of the HWDSB by Dan Jelly #HamOnt

*The following is an analysis of the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board’s site selection scoring matrix for the proposed new Board HQ, done by my brother Dan Jelly, originally posted on his blog on February 22nd, 2012 at kingandjames.com.

On the morning of Monday, February 13th, after discovering that the 18 PDF documents detailing the site analyses had been removed from the HWDSB web site where they had previously been, I attempted to use Google to find them, assuming they had simply been moved.   Upon conducting a search, I discovered that while the posted documents were no longer available, Google had taken and cached a copy of a previous version.

What we now know:

  • There are two versions of this analysis, the version that is published now, and a previous version cached on Google.
  • An example of the previous version was (and can still be) found by conducting a Google Search for: “HWDSB site 11 West Harbour pdf” and clicking on “Quick View” under the first result.  This document was generated by Google from a PDF posted on the HWDSB web site.  A similar version for some of the other 18 sites have also been available at various times since their original publication, sometimes in ‘Quick View’ format, sometimes as a cached HTML version.
  • The previous version used a Weighting Differenciation (sic) Factor of 2.0 instead of the current 3.0 and used a ranking of “B” for “Meetings(sic) topographical and geotechnical requirements” instead of the current “A”.   In seeing the “Quick View” version on Google, we know the analysis made it to this final, polished stage, complete with maps and photos, before the 2.0 was changed to a 3.0.
  1. Using the parameters of the current and previous versions, the scores and rankings are below.
  2. Notable differences:  In the previous version, Jackson Square outscored Crestwood, and City Hall ranked 5th instead of 8th.  Jerome finished 6th instead of 5th.

Results of Site Scoring Based on Previous Version of Analysis:

Comparison between versions of the HWDSB Analyses

Note: My calculations were made based directly on the documents found on Google and on the 18 evaluations made available by the HWDSB.  No assumptions were made, all calculations can easily be explained and verified.

My questions:

  • What rationale would there be for an change of weighting AFTER all the sites had been scored and the ranking determined?
  • Who was responsible for these changes, and was the Board of Trustees made aware of the various versions and the rationale for them?
  • Why were the 18 analyses removed from the website only hours after they had originally been published, only to reappear the following Monday?
  • What other changes were made that we haven’t seen?
  • Why should we trust any part of this process now that we have seen this accidental glimpse of how it has been conducted?
  • Where is the analysis of the costs of restoring 100 Main West?  Surely that must have been determined before money was spent analysing its replacement.

I think these are all valid questions given the lack of transparency demonstrated by the school board to date, and I think the public deserves some answers.

Daniel Jelly
Ward 1 Resident

In the name of transparency, I am sharing my supporting documents, including all calculations:
HWDSB Site Evaluation – Excel Version
HWDSB Site Evaluation – PDF Version – View Only

Google Cached Link:
Link to Site 11 – West Harbour – ‘Quick View’ of PDF found on Google

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