TDSB shut out of condo fees for school construction
Public school board has $3-billion repair backlog
The Toronto District School Board says it's receiving "not one penny" from condo development fees that are being collected to help pay for the construction of new schools, and it’s asking the province to change the rules about how the money is distributed.
While Toronto's Catholic school board is taking in millions of dollars from these fees, the TDSB, which has a $3-billion repair backlog, is getting shut out.
Chris Glover, TDSB trustee in Etobicoke, said rapid condo development is putting further stress on the public school board.
In some neighbourhoods, like the one surrounding Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue, students are being bused to out of the community because nearby public schools don't have enough capacity.
"There are literally hundreds of condominiums going up and not one penny from the developers is going to pay for the space that the kids in those units are going to need," said Glover.
The Education Development Charge is a fee paid by real estate developers, but according to provincial rules, that money can only be spent to buy land where a new school will be built.
The TDSB currently isn't eligible to obtain the funding derived from condo fees because some of its schools are half-empty. In addition, the province says the money can't be designated for repairs.
Glover is calling on Queen's Park to change the rules, but the TDSB's suggestion is getting a cool reception from the province.
"If you've got more space than kids," said Ontario Education Minister Liz Sandals, "you don't need to go out and buy land for new schools."