Many areas in Toronto have experienced significant residential development and demographic shifts over the last decade, which has resulted in substantial pressure on critical public infrastructure serving these areas, including local schools.
One of the tools available to school boards to accommodate enrolment growth is to build additional school space such as additions and new schools. School boards can apply for funding for construction projects from the Ministry of Education through the Capital Priorities program. This program provides school boards with an opportunity to identify their most urgent student accommodation needs and submit business cases for their priority projects.
The Ministry establishes the number of business cases that school boards can submit and the type of projects they are interested in considering for funding (e.g. accommodating enrolment pressures, implementing school closures and improving the condition of facilities). Ministry staff reviews the business cases submitted by the school boards and allocates funds to the projects they consider a priority. Not all projects get approved and funded; the TDSB typically gets funding for three or four projects each year.
Once a project is approved and funded by the Ministry, it goes through the school board’s design and construction process. Reports are submitted to the Board of Trustees for decision-making at key milestones such as hiring an architect, approving a sketch plan and hiring a construction firm. Reports are also submitted to the Ministry to receive their approval to proceed to the next steps.
Each school year, the Board of Trustees approves a list of top capital priority projects as part of the Long-Term Program and Accommodation Strategy.