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TDSB releases list of 130 underused schools facing closure

Education Minister Liz Sandals talks to reporters on Jan. 29, 2015. ONT. PARL

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has released a list of more than 100 schools that could be slated for closure.

The report was released at Wednesday’s board meeting.

Spokesman Ryan Bird said the board was “purely identifying schools and their utilization rate.”

Declining enrollment has left 130 schools only 65 per cent full, at best.

But Bird said the schools on the list wouldn’t necessarily be closed. The TDSB is also looking at moving boundaries and programs and will take into consideration whether buildings house a day care, central staff or other programs.

Nelson Mandela Park Public School, currently listed at 41 per cent, is expected to reach 99 per cent in four years given development in the area. It also has a day care and literacy centre.

“I’m not concerned,” said principal Jason Kandankery.

“We’re on an upward trajectory. There’s nothing to be worried about.”

Meanwhile, Education Minister Liz Sandals held a news conference on Thursday to answer questions about the list, which she said was part of a three-year plan she requested from the TDSB.

“We’re spending over $1 billion to support underutilized space,” she said.

“What we really want to do is spend money on good programs for kids who actually exist.”

She said even if the TDSB deems a school to be surplus, it could be offered to other school boards — French public, French Catholic and English Catholic.

“The idea that a property that is surplus to one board is going to cease to have students in an area like Toronto isn’t true,” she said.

“It may be that a school that’s surplus to one board is exactly the school that another board really, really needs.”

The Globe and Mail reports that 84 elementary schools and 46 high schools are on the list for potential closure.

Mobile users click here to see a map of the schools.