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Toronto District School Board

TDSB Calls on Province to Remove Moratorium on School Closures

Categories: News Releases

Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Trustees have voted unanimously to call on the Ministry of Education to remove the provincial moratorium on school closures. During a Special Board Meeting today, Trustees voted in favour of the motion that will help address growing costs to maintain underutilized schools across the TDSB and facilitate long-term planning.

Should the Ministry of Education not lift the moratorium, the TDSB asks that a special exemption be granted that allows the TDSB to consolidate up to four schools per year, until such a time as the moratorium is lifted provincewide. This would enable the TDSB to review schools with low enrolment that face programming challenges and limit students’ choices and replace them with a smaller number of state-of-the-art schools with higher enrolment that would result in a larger variety of programming and more opportunities for students. 

Additionally, Trustees discussed matters related to the TDSB’s 2024-25 operating budget and approved a reduction of $17 million as follows: Central Staff ($5 million), School Renewal ($5 million), and Supporting Staff Self-Wellness ($7 million that will be attained through initiatives in support of staff attendance). Trustees also asked for options with regard to charging possible user fees to support the One-to-One Device Strategy.

Following extensive feedback received from the community on the impacts of proposed reductions, Trustees voted to delay the implementation of some options to balance the 2024-25 operating budget to allow for further stakeholder consultation, including options related to International Language and African Heritage Programs, General Interest/Senior’ Daytime Courses, Outdoor Education, and Permit Fees.

Quick Facts

Moratorium on School Closures

  • Since 2017, there has been a moratorium on school closures imposed by the Ministry of Education.

  • The operation of underutilized and under-enrolled schools creates costly operational budget pressures and inefficiencies, along with programming challenges.

  • The TDSB previously received $35.5 million in “top-up” funding per year to support the operation and maintenance of facilities where enrolment was under capacity but this “top-up” funding is no longer provided (as of 2018).

TDSB Budget Process

  • Following this evening’s decisions, the TDSB currently faces a projected budget deficit of $26.5 million. (The Board may request to use Proceeds of Disposition -- money received through the sale of school board property – up to $22 million, which would result in a budget deficit of approximately $4.5 million, if approved.)

“This is such an important motion. Being able to consolidate schools would be a real win for TDSB students and communities and enable us to bring the programming students deserve, to each and every local school. This important action by the Ministry would be incredibly impactful and would allow the TDSB to operate in a more financially efficient manner, and better serve the needs and aspirations of students, families, and communities.”

- Rachel Chernos Lin, Chair, TDSB