by Jeanette Liu
Students attending some of Toronto’s public schools might have to do without some of their outdoor soccer fields and playgrounds.
The Toronto District School Board at a meeting Monday night said it is contemplating selling almost 150 hectares of land at over 100 of its schools.
The decision is part of a school board effort to raise money for future renovations and to pay off a deficit of $50 million that prevents it from receiving provincial funds.
“The money raised will go towards the off section of the capital’s deficit,” TDSB chair Chris Bolton told Humber News.
“Also, it will go to the renewal of upgraded school property like new gyms that might be needed.”
The board will try to raise at least $100 million by selling off sections of school yards, mostly located in Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough, the Toronto Star reported Monday.
Some critics of the school board’s decision to peddle off acreage said the choice to sell isn’t up to the TDSB.
“The green space doesn’t belong to school boards because it’s public space,” Annie Kidder, executive director of People for Education and educational issues, told Humber News.
“School boards and municipalities should decide together and not separately what happens with the land.”
Kidder would not comment on whether the decision to sell schoolyards is unfair to students, but said it is unfair to communities.
“There’s lots of acreage and land that it’s hard to think students will suffer from this,” she said.
“Communities, on the other hand, definitely will be affected because the decision will affect their values and quality of life.”
Bolton says the school board’s decision to sell its properties will be made Wednesday.