Up­date school fund­ing model

Toronto Star - - OPINION -

Re Par­ents ask de­vel­op­ers to help crowded schools, Oct. 30 I read Toronto Star re­porter An­drea Gor­don’s story this morn­ing with great en­thu­si­asm. Fi­nally, some­one is deal­ing with this is­sue.

The fun­da­men­tal is­sue is that the fund­ing model for all pub­lic schools is in­ad­e­quate and long out of date. The ar­ro­gance of suc­ces­sive Lib­eral gov­ern­ments to de­prive the TDSB of mil­lions of dol­lars of ed­u­ca­tion de­vel­op­ment charges (EDC) for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons is in­ex­cus­able. The re­stric­tion on EDC for land ac­qui­si­tion only must be amended to al­low for cap­i­tal im­prove­ments to schools. Cer­tainly for the TDSB, the ren­o­va­tion, ex­pan­sion and re­de­vel­op­ment of ex­ist­ing schools is a more re­al­is­tic re­sponse to growth than at­tempt­ing to as­sem­ble land for new schools at costs that likely ex­ceed the con­struc­tion costs of the school.

The EDC re­stric­tion to land ac­qui­si­tion is also prob­lem­atic in the green­field de­vel­op­ment ar­eas of the GTA. In Hal­ton (Oakville), new growth has dra­mat­i­cally in­creased the need for new schools, but with­out EDC fund­ing for new school con­struc­tion, the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties must beg province for grants — a flawed process that does not keep up with de­mand.

This has to stop and should be a ma­jor po­lit­i­cal is­sue in the next pro­vin­cial elec­tion, driven by the me­dia. Gor­don Petch, Oakville

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