Campaign for Public Education

Campaign for Public Education

October 26, 2009 14:43 ET

Province's Chronic Under-Funding of Education Forces Schools Closing and Sell Off

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 26, 2009) - The chronic under-funding of education by the province is forcing school boards across the province to sell taxpayer-funded school properties as a means of balancing the budget.

We recently learned that the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is indeed planning to close schools in almost every part of the city. The board plans to initiate 8 "accommodation reviews" involving 37 publicly-financed schools. Observers predict that as many as 22 schools could be closed by the end of next year. And there are likely more to follow in the following year.

Because communities value their schools, and fight to save them, the TDSB seems to be using tactics designed to reduce opposition. Already this year, in a number of communities, the TDSB has announced meetings about "the future of schools" These announcements say nothing about the likelihood of school closures.

Said Ward 10 resident and adult educator, Graham Hollings, who has been attending consultations at West Toronto Collegiate Institute, "It's hard to call these 'meaningful consultations'. The Board had clearly decided to close this school before the consultations even began. They wouldn't allow Grade 9 students to register this year. Back in May they began negotiations to lease part of the school to George Brown College -an entire floor of the school -, shortly after these consultations began. There are presently Adult ESL programs in the school and nobody has explained what would happen to those classes when the school is closed".

Under provincial regulations (previously entitled "School Closure Guidelines") parents and community stakeholders must receive notice that a school board is establishing an Accommodation Review Committee (ARC) when a board is considering a school closure.

"ARC committees are essentially school closure committees; if you get a notice that an ARC is being established in your community, school closure is a very real possibility. Even if there is a "program review" (a PART) initiated in a school, be aware that an ARC could be close behind," stated Stephen Seaborn, speaking on behalf of the Toronto-based Campaign for Public Education.

The TDSB's recent public consultation meetings have downplayed the negative impact of school closure on students, adult learners, real estate values, green space and the community as a whole.

School boards across the province are selling taxpayer-funded school properties as a means of balancing budgets which are strapped by chronic under-funding by the province.

Contact Information

  • Press Contacts
    Campaign for Public Education
    Graham Hollings
    Ward 10 resident, adult education specialist
    416-994-9447
    or
    Campaign for Public Education
    Stephen Seaborn
    Ward 14
    416-986-1273
    or
    Campaign for Public Education
    Ranu Basu
    Principle Investigator
    Neoliberalization of Education in Ontario
    Department Geography, York University
    416-736-5107 ext 22436