Keeping you engaged and informed
Keeping you engaged and informed
Ward 11 Weekly Update header
Week of March 20, 2016 
Welcome Back! Hope you had a great March Break... and to all those celebrating Purim this week and Easter this weekend, hope you enjoy your traditions with friends and family.

Proposed Balanced TDSB Operating Budget for 2016-17 (with information from the Budget Report coming to Budget & Enrolment Committee on Tuesday 2pm start) 
On 10 March 2016, the Ministry informed school boards that they would be announcing the 2016-2017 Grants for Student Needs (GSNs) on 24 March 2016. The GSN release will provide school boards with updates/changes to provincial funding formula as well as information on projected individual school board funding based on estimates prepared by the Ministry. Staff will prepare a briefing note for Trustees following the announcement, outlining significant changes in funding policy. 
This year, the Board approved a set of guiding principles and system directions presented by the Director that have informed the 2016-2017 proposed budget. In particular, the proposed budget assumes the creation of collaborative learning teams that will strengthen coherence within the system. There will be a smaller number of central leadership positions to serve our schools more effectively. Human and material resources such as special education, teaching and learning, and central service functions will be closer to schools to minimize bureaucracy and strengthen responsiveness to students. Appropriate intervention strategies will be developed for students that are not meeting the system expectation of reading by the end of Grade 1, and there will be a renewed focus on mathematics to improve outcomes.
The budget for 2016-2017 is based on the following assumptions:
  • Enrolment - The Board’s enrolment projection is the most significant variable because enrolment drives total Board revenues and is used to determine school-based staffing. Projected enrolment for 2016-2017 is down 3,950 students over last year’s budget projection. Planning staff identified a number of reasons for the enrolment reduction, including demographic changes in the city’s population, the migration of young families out of Toronto because of housing costs and reduced birth rates generally. In addition, there were enrolment reductions related to implementation of the new provincial health and physical education curriculum, however, outreach efforts at these schools helped to recover some of the initial reduction. Looking forward, Planning staff believe that elementary enrolment is stabilizing in 2016-2017, and that the rate of reduction in the secondary panel is less than previous years.
  • Grant Assumptions -The preliminary budget was developed in anticipation of the following grant reductions that were previously announced and have been phased in over a number of years -
    • Special Education - $3.0M  Third year of 4 year phase-in of change to High Needs allocation
    • Facilities Operations - $8.7M  Second year of 3 year phase-in of changes to Top-up funding
    • Administration and Governance - $0.4M Third year of 4 year phase-in of allocation calculation
  • Inflation -  Assumptions in the budget for utilities and payroll taxes account for $5.0M. The announcement of the Provincial budget included an increase on natural gas through a cap and trade taxation policy. The impact for 2016-2017 is $1.5M which has been included in the budget, although it is anticipated that the GSNs will consider this impact on school boards through a benchmark adjustment. 
  • Labour Settlements - In the original forecast provided to Trustees, staff assumed that provincially negotiation wage increases would be offset by additional funding. Based on information it appears that an additional cost pressure of approximately $0.5M will be experienced by the TDSB.
  • Business Cases - Staff reviewed the business cases submitted and included those that have direct impact on student programs. See note on pools below
  • Outstanding Pay Equity Issues - Staff continues to negotiate pay equity with some unions. Any ongoing cost pressures resulting from these discussions will likely require the budget to be revisited.
Below is a chart that outlines the revenues and expenditures changes that make up the current financial position of the Board for 2016-2017. The revised projected deficit including necessary expenditures outlined in the Summary of Business Cases is approximately $15.8M. This is approximately $2M less than the projected defict projected in the 3-year plan last year.
Preliminary Savings Identified for 2016-2017
In order to mitigate the deficit, Staff have proposed a number of central department reductions for 2016-2017 totalling $10.2M. They include:
  • Copyright - a recent ruling by the Copyright Comission freed up $2.9M from the reserve
  • Transportation - coordination of bell times to improve route efficiencies $.5M
  • Central Deptartment Savings -  $6.8M 
To ensure a balanced budget position, a further $5.6M will need to be found through additional in-year savings, which I am confident can be found.

Update re School Pools - Note - The proposed budget includes funding for continuation of the operation of 3 school pools (including Brown's) subsequent to City of Toronto withdrawing use of the pools for its recreational programming
As I wrote in my last Update, the City of Toronto presently utilizes 33 TDSB pools for the operation of its recreational programming. In return the City pays the TDSB a fixed annual revenue for the use of its pools. The City uses the pools during non-school hours to run its programming. During school hours, the school in which the pool is located has exclusive use of the pool (fully funded through the City-Board Agreement). Effective September 1, 2016 the City has given the TDSB notice that it plans to not utilize the pools at Brown Jr Public School, Bendale BTI and Sir Wilfred Laurier CI and has withdrawn funding for such. In order to ensure continuation of school programs at these 3 pool locations, the TDSB's proposed budget includes an additional $400,000 in the Facility Services budget for 2016-2017. This budget does not include after school hour usage of the pools. Funding of these pools in future years as well as all other city run pools in school would have to be considered in the context of city pool agreement which comes due in July 2017. Thank you to the Co-Chairs of the Brown School Council for their support, immediate actions including delegating to the committee and speaking with media… and as soon as this budget process is over, I am hoping we can meet with others, including my colleague Trustee Jerry Chadwick who represents the Board on the Toronto Land Corporation's (TLC) Pool Committee, and begin the strategic conversation on how to ensure a source of funding for the continued operation of school pools.

Board Meeting - Tuesday, March 22 (note meeting is on Tuesday, not Wednesday due to Purim)
Among the items at this week's Board Meeting are as follows. For the complete Agenda, please click here.
  • Trustee Vacancy in Toronto District School Board Ward 14 (Toronto Centre-Rosedale)

  • Budget and Enrolment Committee Reports

  • Audit Committee Report

  • Program and School Services Committee Report

    • Special Education Budget

    • Special Education Advisory Committee Parent Survey

    • Equity Policy Advisory Committee: Support for the Establishment of a Black Student Achievement Advisory Committee

    • School Year Calendar 2016-17 - see proposal at the end of this update

  • Finance and Accountability Committee Report - includes the contract for the Grade 3 universal screening test

  • Planning and Priorities Committee Report

    • Revisions to Policy P068, Accommodation and Program Review

    • Next Steps and Work Plan for Review of TDSB Governance - TDSB Proposed Areas of Focus for 2016-17 – Equity Outcomes, Effective Governance and Budget and Capital

    • Guiding Principles for the Creation of Learning Centres and the Reorganization of Senior Team

    Clean Toronto Together - Come on WR8! Let's Register for April 22!
    In 2015, the TDSB had 383 of our school sites participate in the Clean Toronto Together Campaign. This year, we want to increase the number of participating schools. On Friday, April 22nd at 2 pm (Earth Day), students from across Toronto are encouraged to help rejuvenate our city’s green spaces by picking up litter in their schoolyard or neighbourhood park. To increase participation at the TDSB, we’re challenging each Family of Schools (FOS) to have as many school sites register and participate as possible.
    • 1st - 3 water bottle refill stations to the first SOE that gets 100% of their school sites registered
    • 2nd - 2 water bottle refill stations to the second SOE that gets 100% of their school sites registered
    • 3rd - 1 water bottle refill station to the third SOE that gets 100% of their school sites registered
    The Superintendents of Education will select the schools that will receive the stations. To register, please fill out the School Clean-Up Day form by April 5th. All participating schools will receive a school certificate.
    UPDATE - System-wide Screening of all students in Gr 3 for Giftedness beginning this Fall not Spring
    Further to my update of March 6, staff have clarified for me that the universal screening will be implemented this coming fall for all students entering grade 3 (current grade 2 students). As I understand it, the screener recommended by staff will be administered to those grade 3 students in late September/early October. Students currently in grade 3 and going to grade 4 for next year would be subject to our current process which was a teacher/parent nomination process. Parents entering grade 3 this year would have gone through the In-School Team (IST) or School Support Team (SST – which includes additional professionals beyond the school) process. 
    In terms of students in grade 3 who are screened next year, there will be a process of determining criteria to be met (we are also working through the criteria for the screener) in order to be considered for the next step which would include a teacher rating scale. Again, we are working through the criteria for the teacher rating but if a student meets a standard for both, they would be put forward for an assessment using the WISC.  Any student meeting criteria on the WISC would proceed through IST and SST towards Identification Placement Review Committee (IPRC) where an interdisciplinary team would listen to the strengths and needs of the student being presented by the staff along with key input from parents prior to making a recommendation on exceptionality and placement.  All placements would be for grade 4 in the fall of 2017. I am sorry for any confusion.

    HOLD THE DATES for Future Ward Forums
    If you have any suggestions for topics you would like explored at Ward Forums, please send me an e-mail.Thanks!

    2016 Summit on Children and Youth Mental Health - April 7/8 - Parent Subsidy Available
    The theme of the 2016 Summit on Children and Youth Mental Health is "Moving From Policy to Practice through Collaboration" and is being held on April 7/8, 2016 at the Allstream Centre in Toronto. Acclaimed speakers will offer evidence-informed practices, programs and resources that have been shown to work and can make a real difference in the lives of children, youth and their families. A highlight for the 2016 Summit will be the first release of the preliminary results of the 2014 Ontario Child Health Study. Attendance at this Summit is a strong signal to the province for continued funding and support for this important area of focus for the students and families in our care. Please click here for an overview of the Summit program.  Please note that the Summit is OPA accredited which will be of interest to psychologists and psychological associates. Subsidies are available for parents to attend. Should you be interested, please contact me as soon as possible.

    Worth Repeating...
    Applications for Parents Reaching Out Grants 2016-17 Now Open - Grant applications for the 2016-17 school year are now open and will be accepted until May 29, 2016. In the 2015-16 school year, the province funded more than 2,200 projects that helped identify barriers to parent engagement and found local solutions to help more parents be engaged in their children's learning. For more information, click on     
    Evergreen Learning Grounds Grants for Schoolyard Greening due March 28 - The Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds program helps schools create outdoor classrooms to provide students with a healthy place to play, learn and develop a respect for nature. Up to $3,500 is available for the purchase of native plant species, heritage seeds, tools, materials and professional services such as a landscape design professional. Applications are accepted for this school year on Monday, March 28, 2016.
    NOTE - Change of Date - Presentation by Jennifer Kolari, Wednesday, May 25, 7-8pm at Oakwood CI, 991 St Clair  Av - Oakwood Collegiate invites all parents to attend a Parent Presentation by Jennifer Kolari. This presentation will show parents the importance of communication in the parent-teen relationship and is for parents and teens. Her Website is: Light refreshments will be provided. Chilcare available if requested at
    2015-2016 is Hodgson’s 100th Anniversary year! Hold May 13-14, 2016 - Hodgson's 100th anniversary celebration is scheduled for Friday, May 13, 2016 and Saturday, May 14, 2016. There will be more information coming about this event, but we wanted to make sure that you marked the dates on your calendar. #Hodgson100th (100th Anniversary Committee Chair). 
    TDSB Parent Conference 2016: Parents as Partners - April 16, 2016 The Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC), Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC), Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee and Model Schools for Inner Cities’ Parent Academies are partnering to bring one INCLUSIVE conference on Saturday, April 16, 2016. Please click
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