Report recommends TDSB eliminate seniors programs, Gr. 6 weekend trips as part of balanced budget

The elimination of seniors programs along with scaling back adult day schools and outdoor education are among the recommendations the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) will consider at its special budget meeting on Thursday.

The TDSB is grappling with an almost $28 million deficit in its 2024-2025 budget according to a report to be presented at the meeting from the Finance, Budget and Enrolment Committee. That figure could balloon to almost $44 million if the Board does not receive permission from the Ministry of Education to use proceeds of disposition generated by the sale of surplus property.

School boards are required to operate on a balanced budget to comply with Ontario’s Education Act.

To do that, the internal report recommends eliminating Seniors’ Daytime programs, noting that despite raising course fees 20 per cent last year, enrollment in the programs declined by 15 per cent.

“Given the provision of similar courses in Toronto to interested community members, the needs of K-12 TDSB students, and a projected persistent deficit, it is recommended that the TDSB no longer provided General Interest/Seniors’ Daytime programming,” reads the report.

The TDSB is also being asked to consolidate International Language-African Heritage Programs to maximize enrolment per instructor to accommodate students from larger areas, revise course times, and implement a minimum of 25 students before opening a new class.

Adult Day Schools, which operate at five locations across the GTA, would also get an overhaul. The report recommends holding programs at fewer sites, streamlining the registration process, and delivering all adult virtual courses at one school.

The Grade 6 weekend trips to Scarborough Outdoor Education Centre (SOES) would be eliminated with the report noting that there is enough space at Scarborough and other overnight centres to accommodate students during the week. Transportation costs to the overnight sites would be shifted to the participating schools and user fees to visit the centres would double.

Among the other recommended options is a review of permit fees for community groups using TDSB facilities to ensure they are appropriately charged for things such as non-scheduled custodian services, media and technology specialists, stage crews, security officers, and parking attendants. As well, future fee increases would be tied to the Consumer Price Index.

The Board will also be asked to look at a decrease in central staffing, a reduction in replacement costs related to sick leave, and decreased spending on absenteeism, filling vacancies and contracts.

Implementation of the recommendations would result in a budget deficit of just over $4 million, according to the report.

This story has been updated to reflect updated financial numbers put forward by TDSB ahead of Thursday’s meeting

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