NEWS

Some schools facing possible closure overcrowded, others, not so much

02/11/2015 07:24 EST | Updated 04/13/2015 05:59 EDT
The additional high schools under review for possible closure and sale by the Toronto District School Board are all east of the Don Valley Parkway, and some are described as overcrowded.

However, enrolment is down at others.

The 10 schools that were added to the board's list of underutilized schools are in the neighbourhoods of East York, Danforth and the Beach — areas that are changing.

Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute, Eastdale CI, and Eastern Commerce CI are grossly underpopulated. But others, like East York Alternative, Riverdale CI, and School of Life Experience, are overpopulated.

 

Danforth Collegiate's student population is at 44 per cent, Eastdale is at 32 per cent and Eastern Commerce is at only seven per cent.

In contrast, East York Alternative's enrolment is at 140 per cent, Riverdale is at 103 per cent and School of Life Experience is at 183 per cent.

The 10 high schools on Tuesday joined a list of 60 schools that were previously announced as being put under review, as part of a plan to close and sell off under-utilized schools.

Forty-eight of the schools will be reviewed over the next three years, a process that will include community consultation. The remainder of the schools will be considered after that period.

On Wednesday, Toronto-Danforth trustee Jennifer Story said low enrolment doesn't translate to an automatic closure.

"A lot of scenarios are possible. In some cases in the past, we've taken a low enrolment site and moved people into it," she said.

Story said the board is trying to come up with efficiencies and creative solutions, which could include combining schools or collaborating with other schools.

"There's a community advocating for space for a French high school, which also could be accommodated through a lease arrangement in one of our schools," she said.

Enrolment could rise again

Just 10 years ago, East York Collegiate Institute was over-capacity. Today, its enrolment is at 72 per cent. But the TDSB is projecting that in about 20 years, enrolment will go up again.

Coun. Janet Davis, representing Beaches-East York, is surprised that schools in her area are on the list.

"East York used to be second only to Victoria in terms of having an elderly population. Now, we're growing, with young families," she said.

 

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