Toronto, ON, June 23, 2011 – At tonight’s Board meeting, Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Trustees approved a balanced operating budget of $2.8 billion for the 2011-12 school year, maintaining the quality of education for our students.
The Board’s budget plan does achieve important savings in a number of areas that do not directly affect students, including further reducing central administration costs, cutting meeting expenses, temporary office assistance and the use of outside consultants, raising permit fees, enhancing energy conservation, and taking advantage of the opportunity to “lock in” utilities contracts.
But these savings are not enough.
To balance the budget, TDSB is depending heavily on unsustainable measures to bridge significant funding gaps. The bulk of this money comes from the continued deferral of maintenance projects and program upgrades which adds to the Board’s growing renewal backlog.
At the same time, TDSB continues to struggle with the significant budget challenges posed by this year’s $20M decline in provincial funding, aging infrastructure and a growing $3 billion backlog in renewal projects—things like replacing drafty windows, leaky roofs and antiquated boilers. These budget challenges are compounded by declining enrolment—35,000 students over the past decade—and a provincial funding model based largely on student enrolment numbers.
2011-12 BUDGET Q&A
Looking ahead, TDSB is projecting a funding shortfall of more than $50 million for the 2012-13 school year if the Board is to maintain the current level of supports and programs students need. Expressing concern about the negative impact of continuing to rely on unsustainable solutions for ongoing funding shortfalls, the Board today set in motion the process of developing a three-year operating budget recovery plan to reduce TDSB’s structural deficit and reliance on renewal funds to balance the budget.
In August 2011, the Board’s reconstituted Budget Committee and other relevant standing committees will begin considering measures for expenditure reductions and more innovative options for revenue generation. Trustees will closely examine all operational spending to determine areas of potential savings, and will continue to consult with members of our diverse communities to understand and reflect their priorities.
TDSB budget challenges impact the kind of future we want for the children of this city. The Ontario Public School Boards Association (OPSBA) has declared September 20 as Education Day in Ontario. In each riding across Ontario, Trustees of public school boards, including TDSB, will host open forums at their local schools encouraging voters to engage local provincial election candidates on education matters. On this day, we urge candidates to tell Toronto voters what they plan to do to renew and support our aging schools and make every day “education day” for Toronto’s children.