One in five Toronto schools targets for possible closing

Declining enrolment is taking a huge toll on Canada’s largest school board, and one in five schools now are targets for possible closing.

The Toronto District School Board released a list on Wednesday evening that compares the number of students an institution can accommodate to its enrolment numbers.

Of the 473 elementary schools, 84 are using 65 per cent or less of their capacity in the current academic year. The situation is bleaker for secondary schools, with 46 of 116 falling below the 65-per-cent threshold.

The school board is coming under renewed pressure from the Ontario government to sell surplus properties. However, the schools with the lowest enrolment will not automatically be sold. The school board must now look at the list of schools that are under the 65-per-cent level and decide whether to close them.

Blame politics, not parents, for Toronto’s shrinking schools

I had the opportunity to act as supervisor of the TDSB for the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 school years. Interestingly, Premier Kathleen Wynne was one of the trustees that were under supervision. Many of the issues that were identified at that time (and long before) have re-emerged in the work of Ms. Wilson, especially the need for school closures and real estate rationalization.

In my 1971 graduating year from Monarch Park Collegiate, the student population of the now amalgamated board was in excess of 400,000. Today, that population hovers around 250,000. Sadly, despite many staff recommendations, little has been accomplished in ‘cutting the cloth to fit the suit’. If any commercial endeavour was obliged to operate 100 per cent of its physical plant in a 60 per cent revenue environment for such a long time, it would long since have gone bankrupt. And yet, principally for political reasons, the situation is perpetuated.

  • Edubeat

    Turn the better buildings in to self-contained charter schools. Then create Recovery School Districts (Thanks SQE for the heads up! Ed.)

    • Justin

      Gay-dominated Canada is producing less and less kids and importing more and more mozies that they will eventually take over and make Canada islamic.

    • Interesting thanks.

    • Clausewitz

      When I was getting my Credentials at Canisius College in Buffalo, I taught at both a charter school and a unionized public school. Guess which school was the superior experience and had the higher level of achievement? Once again proving that nothing screws up an organization like a Union.

  • Exile1981

    You would have to look at which schools have low enrollment and which are in the best condition and which have what features. It may make more sense to bus some extra kids to different school that is in better condition or that has say a shop room, or some other feature that would make it better than the more populous school. Also it may be worth looking at which schools have the most value as far as resale – it’s likely a school of moderate enrollment that is marginal in all other aspects is sitting on land that is worth significant $$ and would be worth selling because of the financial windfall involved.

    • No question capacity can’t be the sole criterion.

  • Achmed

    The solution is simple. Let in another 500,000 Muslim immigrants into Toronto and more for the rest of Canada.

    All the Toronto schools will be full and soon you will even have to build more schools.

    • Observer

      Sure. More voters legal or not for Kathleen and Justin.

  • Gary

    Who wasted our money keeping them open so long , and who was tied to the TDSB that got rich from it for repairs and snow removal for an empty school???
    These weasels think that if they play the hero and get tough to close them will won’t notice all the years they were left open and near empty .
    They also want us to forget that the Vietnamese background head of the TDSB was caught stealing tax dollars to divert to a school in Vietnam that she supported and felt was just.

    Does anyone got to jail in the Liberal Ontario other than non-liberals ?