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$3.5 Billion & Growing: TDSB Releases Current Repair Backlog

Thursday, October 31, 2019
Categories: News Releases

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has released its annual snapshot of the condition of Toronto public schools. The Board’s repairs backlog currently stands at $3.5 billion. However, without additional and predictable funding from the provincial government, the backlog could hit $5.2 billion by 2023. The last province-wide repairs backlog reported by the Ministry of Education was almost $16 billion in 2017.

Years of underfunding for school boards repairs, especially from the 1990s to the mid-2000s, saw the renewal needs backlog (RNB) rise rapidly at the TDSB. Despite a considerable increase in the annual provincial allocation to the Board during the last five years (an average of $290 million), the provincial funding hasn’t kept pace with the aging school facilities, pushing the backlog higher.

The RNB decreases as we complete projects and update our database over the year. Another contributing factor is the repair of building components that were scheduled for replacement (this usually extends their life cycle by 1-2 years). In these cases, during the school assessment, the Ministry of Education’s consultant postpones the replacement cost of these components, which decreases that year’s backlog. However, the long- term value remains the same as these components would need to be replaced at a later date.

Grassroots parent groups, such as Fix Our Schools, have been effective advocates for additional provincial funding for school repairs. Openly sharing each school’s Facility Condition Index and backlog information has helped this advocacy work tremendously. In 2016, the TDSB became, what is thought to be, the first school board in Ontario to report each school’s Facility Condition Index (FCI) and Renewal Needs Backlog (RNB).

TDSB has been also advocating for the Ontario Government to allow the Board to collect Education Development Charges (EDCs), which could generate approximately $400 million over the next 15 years. Access to EDCs would help the Board reduce its backlog and support urgent infrastructure needs.

This data is posted on the TDSB website annually, and is reported on a school- by-school basis, consistent with our commitment to increase transparency and accountability. It also aligns with the TDSB’s Open Data initiative which allows the public to access published Board data.

Quick Facts

  • Approximately seventy percent of the building components in the current backlog are in critical or poor condition.
  • Provincial Grants:

      School Year     Grant                     Projected Backlog

2019-2020

$292 million

$4.3 billion (as of January 2020)

2018-2019

$299 million

$3.9 billion (as of January 2019)

 

 

$3.5 billion (as of October 2019)

2017-2018

$297 million

$3.7 billion (as of January 2018)

2016-2017

$308 million

$3.4 billion (as of September 2016)

2015-2016

$276 million

$3.1 billion (as of September 2015)

 

“The fact that the TDSB’s backlog could hit $5.2 billion by 2023, clearly demonstrates the need for additional and predictable funding.”

- Robin Pilkey, Chair, TDSB

“Adequate funding to modernize our schools is needed to ensure we have learning environments that support student achievement and well-being.

-John Malloy, Director, TDSB

 

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