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TDSB to consider selling school land to raise $100M

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is set to vote on selling off large pieces of land at school playgrounds in an effort to raise $100 million.

The Toronto Star first reported the plan on Monday after the newspaper obtained a list of schools that could be affected — most of them in North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke.

TDSB trustees will consider selling off land at 127 school playgrounds during a closed-door committee meeting, and if approved the matter would be considered at the board’s regular meeting on Wednesday. Some playgrounds could be reduced to less than half their size if the plan is approved, the Star reports.

Education director Chris Spence said Monday the board has some urgent priorities.

“We have a $3-billion deferred maintenance backlog in our system. So our facilities are deteriorating,” he told CityNews. “And this is a plan that we are going to put in front of trustees to explore some options. We feel like we don’t have a whole lot at this point to address these issues.”

One trustee says all-day kindergarten is to blame for these possible land sales.

“They just keep taking money out of our pockets and we’re running around trying to find places to take it from. And we’re down now to us pillaging local community parks,” Sheila Cary-Meagher said.

The $100 million brought in by the potential land sales would be used for upgrades, additions and renovations, according to the Star.

Some parents, including Anna Maria who didn’t provide her surname, weren’t happy.

“We don’t like [it] much because we all have children, and by taking the land there, we don’t have a park anymore. It’s sad.”

If a decision is made they will take it to a committee on Wednesday. A TDSB meeting on the issue went well into the night Monday without a decision. The talks are expected to continue Tuesday.