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Key Issues>School Closures
School Closures


Info & News

Timeline and Background

January 15, 2015

Margaret Wilson submits the Review of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) to Liz Sandals, the Minister of Education in Ontario. In response to her commissioned review, Minister Sandals issues 13 directives that TDSB Trustees must comply with by February 13, 2015. In Directive Nine, Sandals defines schools under 65 per cent capacity as being underutilized.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

TDSB releases a list of 130 schools (84 elementary) at 65 per cent or less capacity that are being reviewed for possible closure or reorganization.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

TDSB releases a second list of 60 schools (48 elementary) for possible closure or reorganization.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

TDSB approves motions to comply with all of the Ministry’s 13 directives. Trustees decide to move forward and review up to 60 schools for possible closure or reorganization, starting with a process of community consultation.

TDSB Response to Directive 9 [PDF]

School Closures/Reorganization

It is not clear at this time the exact number of schools under threat of closure or the process that is to be used to consult local communities. The Board is expected to release a comprehensive plan shortly.

Based on the various lists the TDSB has produced, the Elementary Teachers of Toronto (ETT) has determined that the following 48 elementary schools are most likely to be targeted for closure.

The targeted schools disproportionately affect the TDSB’s most vulnerable students.

See the Analysis
See the School Profiles


Schools

In response to directives from the Ontario Ministry of Education, the TDSB has released several lists of schools slated for possible closure or reorganization.

The first list, released on Wednesday, January 28, 2015, highlighted 84 elementary schools at 65 per cent or less capacity. In subsequent lists, this number has changed. It is not clear at this time the exact number of schools under threat of closure, but ETT has determined that the following 48 elementary schools are most likely to be targeted.

Our Schools. Our Communities.

The approach thus far is flawed. Focusing on utilization ignores that many of these schools support students with special needs, provide alternate programs, and/or serve as community hubs.

One statistic cannot tell a complete story. Schools are often far more active than their utilization rate suggests. Schools have daycare spaces, spots for community meetings and social events, adult learning centres, sports facilities, and so much more.

Schools bring and keep neighbourhoods together.

To highlight the special programs that our schools offer and community programs that they make possible, ETT has created a profile for each of the 48 elementary schools on the TDSB’s list.

See the School Profiles

Analysis

Learning Opportunities Index

The targeted schools disproportionately affect the TDSB’s most vulnerable students.

Every two years, the TDSB produces a document called the Learning Opportunities Index (LOI) [PDF]. The LOI uses census data to measure the external challenges facing students by examining a series of variables for every school. The variables include: family income levels, the percentage of families receiving social assistance, the percentage of families with low education, and the proportion of lone parent families.

The LOI then combines the variables into a single index and ranks the schools from highest to lowest. The schools with the highest index are those where the students face the greatest external challenges to their learning.

  • 19 of the elementary schools (40 per cent) are in the top fifth of the LOI.
  • 33 of the elementary schools (68 per cent) are in the top half of the LOI.

Many of the schools on the LOI are also part of the Model Schools for Inner Cities Program. The schools are selected for the program by their LOI rank and are typically within neighbourhoods where a large number of students live in poverty.

  • 22 of the elementary schools (45 per cent) are part of the Model Schools for Inner Cities Program.

Community Hubs

These schools are at the centre of their communities. They offer space for daycares, community meetings and social events, sports facilities, Parks and Recreation programs and camps, international language programs, settlement initiatives, and much more.

  • 23 of the elementary schools (48 per cent) have daycare programs.
  • 13 of the elementary schools (27 per cent) have parent and family literacy centres.
  • 37 of the elementary schools (77 per cent) are used for community programs. (Note: this number is likely inaccurate as a complete list of community programs is not always available.)

Utilization Rate

According to enrolment projections provided by the TDSB, a majority of the 48 elementary schools will see enrolment increase in the next 20 years.

  • 29 of the elementary schools (60 per cent) will have a utilization rate of more than 65 per cent in 20 years.
  • 35 of the elementary schools (73 per cent) will be growing in 20 years.
  • 13 of the elementary schools (27 per cent) will be over capacity.
  • 114 elementary schools (24 per cent) are currently over capacity (of the 473 total elementary schools).

Please note that these figures are based on the TDSB’s internal enrolment projections and are subject to revision.

Sources

TDSB School Profiles
TDSB Learning Opportunities Index (LOI) [PDF]
Elementary/Junior High School Enrolment, Capacity and Utilization Data (2004‐2034) [PDF]
Reports from School Staff
Toronto Parks and Recreation

Please be advised that these are not complete profiles. With so many internal and external programs being run at TDSB schools it’s more than likely that we’ve missed some.

If you see a mistake, or wish to add a program to a profile, please contact Stephen Michalowicz, Communications Manager, by email at smichalowicz@ett.on.ca.

Resources

Wilson Report & Directives

TDSB Response to Directive 9 [PDF]
Ministry Directives to the TDSB [PDF]
Wilson Report (Review of the TDSB) [PDF]

Documents

TDSB Long-Term Program and Accommodation Strategy 2014-2023 [PDF]
Elementary/Junior High School Enrolment, Capacity and Utilization Data (2004‐2034) [PDF]
TDSB Learning Opportunities Index (LOI) [PDF]

Statements

School Closures Affect The TDSB’s Most Vulnerable Students (John Smith, ETT President)
Defend Democracy and Community Schools [PDF] (Toronto and York Region Labour Council)
Statement by TDSB Trustees Ken Lister, Ausma Malik, Marit Stiles, Parthi Kandavel, Jennifer Story, and Michael Ford (Joint Statement)
The False Economy of Selling Off Our School Property (Statement by Janet Bojti, Campaign for Public Education, to the January 26, 2015 TDSB Special Meeting)

Reports

Harris-Era Hangovers: Toronto School Trustees’ Inherited Funding Shortfall (Hugh Mackenzie, Centre of Policy Alternatives)

News Articles

Fate of Dozens of Underutilized Schools to be Determined Over next 3 Years, TDSB Says (CTV Toronto)
TDSB Names 10 More Schools for Possible Closure (CBC News)
Teachers’ Union Slams Plan to Close Schools (Humber News)
Majority of Schools on TDSB Hit List in Poorer Neighbourhoods (Toronto Star)
Full-Day Kindergarten Funding Falls Short for Toronto Board, Report Says (Toronto Star)
Majority of Elementary Schools on TDSB Closure List Serve Vulnerable Students (CBC News)
Mapping Which Neighbourhoods Could Be Most Affected by TDSB School Closures (Torontoist)
What Should TDSB Do With Underused Properties? (Globe and Mail)
Closing Schools Not The Answer To Budget Woes (Cathy Dandy, former TDSB Trustee, published in the Toronto Star)
The View From Inside a Reeling TDSB (op-ed by TDSB Trustee Chris Glover, published in the Toronto Star)
Parents Back TDSB Trustees at Special Meeting (Globe and Mail)
Citizens defend Toronto public school trustees at meeting about scathing report (Toronto Star)
The Full List of TDSB Schools at 65 Per Cent or Less Capacity (Globe and Mail)

Audio

Teachers ‘Devastated’ by Plans to Close Toronto Schools, Impact on Students (Radio Canada International)

Websites

The Campaign for Public Education (Website)
Toronto & York Region Labour Council (Website)