Land sell off for $162 million; program cuts $27.
TORONTO – The Toronto District School Board will consider cutting back some music programs and selling off land in an effort to balance its books.
Trustees will meet Wednesday evening to discuss budget details, as the board faces a $27-million shortfall. By law, the board must pass a balanced budget.
“It’s extremely difficult because no one wants to cut programs that are impacting schools, impacting kids,” trustee Jerry Chadwick, who chairs the TDSB’s budget committee, said Wednesday morning.
“Budget cuts are never easy. No one wants to make budget cuts. The reality is we have to balance the budget,” TDSB spokesperson Shari Schwartz-Maltz said Tuesday.
There had previously been talks about eliminating 24 music instructor positions, which could save $2-million a year, but Chadwick said there’s a staff recommendation to avoid that.
“We’ve had a lot of feedback on it — so it’s been extremely difficult. With all the issue we’ve had since I’ve been a trustee for just over three years, this is the one we’ve had the most feedback from the community, from the unions, everybody,” said.
Instead, trustees may try to find the savings elsewhere, which is also a challenge.
The Toronto Star reported that the board has been told to sell off $162-million in school land over the next three years, to free up any money to pay for a list of urgent school renovations and rebuilds.
The confidential report before the TDSB reportedly recommends that 11 properties be sold. Most are schools that were closed years ago and are now being rented out.
Jaime Pulfer and 680News staff