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Letter to the Editor,

Nineteen years ago, I completed my tour of duty with the United States Marine Corps and made Toledo my home. After serving the Diocese of Toledo’s Catholic Youth & School Services, I joined the City of Toledo’s Board of Community Relations. 

Later, I served as the Board’s Interim Director, Director of the Toledo Youth Commission, Manager of the Mayor’s Youth Entrepreneur Program, and Director of the City’s Office of Latino Affairs. In the last two years I have served as a Manager and Development Specialist with the Department of Development.

Truly, Mexican immigrant Juan Torres and María Consuelo Leija-Torres could not have envisioned a better life for this tenth son of a migrant family. I can still recall the pride expressed by my father, brother and sisters upon learning about my election to the Toledo Board of Education.

Three days ago, I informed Mayor Finkbeiner and the members of the city’s Development team that I intended to accept the offer of Mayor William Healy to join his cabinet as the Director of Development for the City of Canton, Ohio.  Therefore, effective February 27, 2008, I will tender my resignation from the Toledo Board of Education.

This past Saturday, I communicated this latest decision to Democratic Party Chair Ron Rothenbuhler. I have also spoken to my board colleagues and expressed my regret that I could not have provided them with more advance notification of this news.

I leave the board confident that much was accomplished in a short period of time.  A Superintendent was hired. A new treasurer was hired.  We made a difficult decision to strengthen neighborhood schools by strategically closing some schools. A new way of budgeting, zero-based budgeting was introduced. We made gains in the accountability of the Minority Contractor Inclusion in The Building for Success Program.

We have taken an active role in increasing vendor/supplier diversity through the Treasurer’s Office. The policy and decision-making process in the last two years have been transparent and fiscally responsible.  A new way of thinking about Toledo Public Schools is emerging. 

It is my hope that this “New Way of Thinking” will continue with the new board composition. To ensure this consistency, I have asked my friend and colleague Bob Vásquez to consider an appointment to the Board. I have communicated my support for Bob with my board colleagues, Democratic Party Chair Rothenbuhler, and the members of the Hispanic-Latino Democratic Caucus.  However, let me underscore that Bob Vásquez is a highly qualified individual, a proud Toledoan, and a successful businessman who only happens to be Latino.

This call for diversity in leadership is also directed at all levels of decision-making at city, county, and state government.  The appointment of Latino officials should not be a news item, rather a common practice. On Saturday, I addressed the membership of the Hispanic-Latino Democratic Caucus and asked them to step up the call for Latino representation.  Trust me, if the appointments don’t happen in Toledo, Ohio, they will happen elsewhere.

I have high hopes for this city I call home.  I look forward to discovering the wonders of my new home, Canton, Ohio.  Thank you for giving me the privilege of serving the citizens of the City of Toledo, both as a public employee and as an elected official.  Hasta La Victoria!



Robert Torres
Toledo Board of Education
February 11, 2008

Editor’s Note: Roberto Torres will be missed by the Northwest Ohio community. La Prensa wishes Roberto well with his new adventure in the Canton, Ohio area. Click Here for comments by the mayor of the City of Canton, Mr. William J. Healy II, regarding this appointment.

Read letter from Canton's Mayor






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