Toronto school board grapples with budget

The Canadian Press
Shawn Jeffords

TORONTO–Canada’s largest school board says it may have to eliminate jobs, some programs and end some student busing to address a multimillion-dollar funding gap created by provincial cuts.
The Toronto District School Board’s education director laid out the proposals which could help eliminate a $67-million budget shortfall ‚Äî $42 million caused by a cut from the Ontario government.
John Malloy says the board could stop busing French immersion, cut some learning centre staff jobs, and administrator roles to find savings.
The board could also consider consolidating up to 10 schools, reduce itinerant music teachers and cut the elementary international baccalaureate program.
The director called the budget process “very challenging” but says staff are not recommending substantial changes to special education funding, school safety, and equity and diversity programs.
Malloy said board administrators spent part of the weekend preparing the report to offer trustees a range of options.
“This is very hard because we know attached to every one of these decisions are students and communities who are being served by those resources,” he said.
The board must present its budget submissions by June 30.
Thompson said student achievement should be the key factor used by the board when making funding decisions.
She said school boards are being called upon to do their part to address what the government has said is a $11.7-billion deficit.
“We cannot forget that we still have a fiscal hill to climb in terms of addressing the deficit that we inherited as well as the debt-load that’s crippling us,” she said.