In October, John joined a panel with MPP David Zimmer, Trustee Alexander Brown and Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter in speaking with several hundred local parents at Earl Haig on the topic of school overcrowding in our area.
As with issues such as traffic and transit congestion, school overcrowding is the product of provincial rules which force development on the area but don’t give it the ability to deal with the population increase. Compounding that problem is another provincial policy which doesn’t allow the Toronto District School Board to make developers pay for new schools. That rule goes like this: if a school board has empty space in schools across the region, it can’t levy development charges. With a school board the size of Toronto’s, in a city which has areas of huge population increase and while others have none, this rule is obviously absurd.
A solution is relatively simple. Amend the provincial Education Act so that in provincially- designated Growth Centres such as ours – places where the Province requires high-density development – school boards be allowed to collect money from developers to accommodate the children that will be moving into their buildings.
In November, John helped move a motion through Council, which was adopted, asking the Government of Ontario to allow the TDSB to collect Education Development Charges.
Minister Hunter said at our local meeting that she would take the matter under consideration.