“I am writing to update you on the school yard severance issue and the proposed cuts to itinerant music instruction at the TDSB.
School Yard Severance
“As you may have seen in the media in November 2012, the TDSB is considering severing portions of school yards and selling them to raise funds to pay for new schools, additions and major renovations. The original motion in November was voted down, but a second motion asking for a report on property severances was passed in December. The report should be coming to the board in May, and would start the process. Schools in Etobicoke, Scarborough, and North York would be disproportionately affected by the severances as they have larger school yards than schools in the downtown core. The plan would involve severing and selling school yards in approximately 10-15 schools in different parts of the city each year until a total of $100 million is raised. There is no accurate list of which schools would be affected, but they would more than likely come from the list of 128 schools that appeared in the Toronto Star in November.
“The board is under immense pressure from the Ministry of Education to sever and sell school yards in order to raise funds. After the restoration of Nelson Mandela School went over budget, the Ministry froze capital funding for other projects in the board. In several parts of the city where schools are overcrowded, projects for new schools and additions are now on hold because of the freeze. TDSB staff indicated to Trustees in November that if they had passed the capital plan that included the severance and sale of school yards, the capital funding would have been unfrozen.
Cuts to Itinerant Music Instruction (IMI)
“TDSB itinerant music instruction consists of enrichment programs (strings, band and steel pan) and staff development programs (recorder/orff/vocal music ROV) taught by part-time instructors. The enrichment programs are offered to Grades 5 – 8. The staff development program (ROV) is a program that a school applies for, and has it for two years where the instructor works with a maximum of 3 classroom teachers and their students for half a day per week. At the April 8, 2013 Budget Committee meeting, there were proposed cuts that include program hour reductions of 24% for Band, 29% for Strings, 19% for Steel Pan, and 100% for all Staff Development programs. This may result in actual job loss for 55 of 107 itinerant music instructors.
Where we’re at today
“In Decmber, the province sent an advisory team which is now working with TDSB senior staff on the budget. The recommendations coming to the Board of Trustees are being vetted by the provincial government through their advisory team. In order to stop school yard severances and cuts to IMI, we need a clear message from the provincial government that they do not support either of these actions.
“Donna Cansfield has already met with Ward Council in Etobicoke Centre and said she would go back to the Toronto Liberal Caucus to help us to protect the school yards in Etobicoke Centre.
If you are concerned about these issues, there are two actions you can take:
1. Attend Donna Cansfield’s Pre-Budget Consultation on Thursday, April 18, 7:00 pm at Montgomery’s Inn, 4709 Dundas St. West.
2. Write a letter addressed to your MPP expressing your stand on these issues and please send the letter to me. I will be collecting them and will send them as part of package that will be forwarded to our MPP.
“I have some background documents you may find helpful. If you would like further information on this issue or have any questions, please [contact]”
20130415 Letter to Ward 2 Parents from Chris Glover, TDSB Trustee, Etobicoke Centre firstname.lastname@example.org