Background from the Long-Term Program and AccommodationStrategy (LTPAS)
The TDSB has the responsibility to provide strong programs to students in quality learning spaces in schools across Toronto. Managing school facilities is part of that responsibility. School buildings and properties are valuable community assets and the TDSB is committed to managing them to support students and the broader school community.
As part of its annual planning process, the TDSB reviews school facilities to determine facility condition as well as current and projected utilization. Given that many schools were built in the 1950s and 1960s, most major building systems within the schools need to be renewed. Unaddressed repairs in aging schools over time have led to a rapidly increasing renewal backlog. The backlog, approximately $3.5 billion (as of May 2016), is the amount of funding required to bring our buildings back to a good state of repair.
The ongoing challenge for the TDSB is determining how to fund capital requirements including not only renewal, but also new builds and major renovations to address growth pressures. The main source of funding for renewal, new builds and major renovations is through grants from the Ministry of Education. In addition, the Ministry requires school boards to review surplus properties and consider them for sale to generate revenue.
Each year, the TDSB submits a capital budget to the Ministry that sets out how renewal needs and growth pressures will be managed. From 2008-2015, the TDSB received less than 3.8% of Ministry capital grants even though the TDSB supports 12.5% of students in Ontario. In many schools boards, growth pressures are fully supported through government funding and Education Development Charges (EDC). EDCs provide school boards with funds to purchase school sites and cover all related site preparation and development costs that result from growth. The TDSB does not have access to EDCs because the Board has surplus space – the Board’s total elementary or secondary enrolment does not exceed existing school capacity across the city.
The TDSB is faced with the challenge of having both high growth areas and aging neighbourhoods with declining enrolment. This, along with the Ministry’s expectation to generate revenue from the sale of property, has resulted in pressures in certain areas of the system.
Toronto’s Changing Demographics
Since the TDSB operates in a very dynamic and growing city, it is important to plan for the future and be adaptable when needed to respond to unforeseen changes. The TDSB has designed its long-term planning process to be flexible and accommodate this continuous change. For instance, the Long-Term Program and Accommodation Strategy is reviewed and updated each year to consider emergent trends and issues. As part of this annual update, the long-term enrolment projections are recalculated each year to reflect the most recent enrolments, Board decisions on program locations, boundaries and grade ranges, and residential development activity. Staff also conducts a system-wide review of pupil accommodation needs. This analysis includes reviewing operating and closed school sites in all wards with Trustee participation and input.
Staff monitors changes in demographics and neighbourhoods that impact both short-term and long-term enrolment projections to identify potential areas of over and under-utilization. That analysis could lead to reviews that are included in the Long-Term Program and Accommodation Strategy.
Toronto’s population growth is closely monitored to ensure that school capacity is maintained where it could be needed. Future growth could be accommodated by opening previously-closed schools, building new schools, adding additions on existing schools, adding portables on school sites, and changing boundaries to shift students to underutilized schools.
The annual process to update the Long-Term Program and Accommodation Strategy and capital budget ensures the TDSB is responsive in managing Toronto’s changing demographics.
To read the complete LTPAS, coming to the Program & Planning Committee Wednesday for approval, please click here.