11/20/2012 01:23 EST | Updated 01/20/2013 05:12 EST

TDSB 'acting responsibly' in eyeing land sales: McGuinty

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty says the Toronto District School Board is "acting responsibly" in considering the possible sale of some of its land to generate revenue.

The TDSB is in the midst of discussing a proposal to sell off portions of land at dozens of its school properties, a move that could potentially generate millions of dollars for construction projects.

The proposal is part of a larger capital plan that the TDSB has to come up with in order to get back funding from the Ministry of Education.

Because of cost overruns on past TDSB projects, the Ministry of Education has frozen funds until the board pays off a $50-million deficit.

Asked about the issue on Tuesday, McGuinty said the school board was undertaking a difficult, but necessary discussion.

"At a time of slow economic growth, we’ve got to keep our eye on the ball and the ball in publicly funded education is the classroom experience," McGuinty told reporters in Toronto.

"And everything is kind of secondary to that."

The premier further said the TDSB is "acting responsibly and I know they are going to want to consult parents in particular about their plans."

Prior to the premier’s remarks, TDSB chair Chris Bolton spoke to CBC Radio's Metro Morning on Tuesday about the discussion surrounding the possible sale of school-owned land.

Bolton said that the school board is not solely looking at selling portions of schoolyards, but other parts of school-owned property as well, including "non-teaching buildings."

Bolton acknowledged the "pressure" the board is under to resolve the $50-million deficit in its capital fund.

While Bolton said the discussion about possible land sales has just begun, he said the school board must consider the long-term implications of such a move.

"Basically, this land or these buildings, any of them are part of our heritage and I think we need to be very careful about selling things off for a quick fix, as opposed to coming up with some long-term solutions," he said.