TDSB considers selling properties to fund future repairs
School board to also look at cutting music teaching jobs at final meeting before summer break
Toronto District School Board trustees will discuss selling almost a dozen properties to raise money for its capital budget during a private meeting tonight.
The idea of selling off the land came from the province's special assistance team and board staff. The team was put in place after renovations at the new Nelson Mandela Park school went about $7 million over budget.
The cash from selling the properties would likely go into repairing the public school board's aging infrastructure.
TDSB Chair Chris Bolton would not list the schools or the land that could be sold off during an interview on CBC Radio's Metro Morning Wednesday.
Bolton said the properties they are looking at selling are not operating as schools.
"Those properties in all cases have become part of the Toronto Lands Corporation," Bolton said. "They've already been closed and now the question is, are those properties going to be needed in the future?"
Bolton told the Metro Morning's Matt Galloway that the TDSB was concerned about leaving "holes in our neighbourhoods" where there might be no land for future development of schools.
"Because, of course, once we sell a piece of land, it's going to be very difficult for us to buy something in a few years at the rate real estate goes," said Bolton.
Also on the agenda tonight will be the TDSB's consideration on whether to cut approximately two-dozen music teaching jobs.
The proposed cuts would save the public school board approximately $2 million of the $27-million deficit it needs to wipe from next year's budget.
As part of the music program on the chopping block, part-time instructors train elementary teachers who instruct classes in vocals and music.
Parent Judy Gargaro says the proposal to cut the program is shortsighted.
"You shouldn't be making cuts that are going to affect your ability to teach curriculum," she said.
TDSB spokesperson Sherri Schwartz Maltz says school board trustees have received considerable backlash from parents as well as students, and the board may have to look elsewhere for the $2 million in cuts.
"One of the suggestions that has come up is potentially charging for the International Baccalaureate Program," said Maltz. "This is a staff recommendation which will be voted on by the trustees."
The final meeting of the TDSB before the summer break starts tonight at 7 p.m. at 5050 Yonge St.
With files from Michelle Cheung