Pelmo Park School land may be severed to pay bills

The Toronto Star reports that the TDSB is thinking of selling school land to developers to pay for renovations. One of the schools facing the loss is Pelmo Park in Weston.

According to The Star, Pelmo may be forced to sell 2.9 acres of land—about one-third of its property. The proceeds would be used to put money into the board’s capital budget, which has been frozen by the provincial government. The school board says it has a $3 billion dollar capital debt and a $30 million capital deficit.

Chris Tonks, our trustee, said that he was unable to discuss the particulars of the proposal until after the meeting tonight, but added “I am opposed to any severance and sale of Pelmo Park Public School green space if proposed. In any event, any recommendation by TDSB staff to sever land at any school property should be brought out to the communities that are impacted”.

Author: Adam Norman

I am raising my two children in Weston.

12 thoughts on “Pelmo Park School land may be severed to pay bills”

  1. Why does Chris Tonks not know what’s going on? It’s his JOB to be on top of proposals like this.

    Please, get with it Mr Tonks.

    1. Because I am not dead and cold yet? 🙂

      In seriousness, why are people suggesting this? Memo is a lovely school and full to the brim. Is Pelmo not full? It seems to be. HJ also seems to be full. (They are both closed for outside students.)

  2. I’m curious too Adam as to why it’s time. All 3 schools are full. HJ is over capacity, Weston is too I believe. If they ever do it they will close Pelmo, build a mega school there then close Weston, HJ and CR putting them all into one school. Imagine how much of the greenspace there a school large enough to house those students would take.

  3. Are both Pelmo and Weston Memorial not in need of major renovations? I could see the merging of both schools and a new facility built on Pelmo. Perhaps Weston memo could be converted into a community centre, daycare, sold to another school board etc…….I think the point is that since there is potential that the Pelmo land maybe sold, everything should be reviewed. What is best overall for the school board, community and current\future students?

  4. Young families are drawn to neighbourhoods where the schools are well run and rate high on the academic excellence scale.

    We are not attracting people like this to our neighbourhood…Perhaps the place to start is with the schools. And perhaps this is the time to open the discussion.

    Rather than just state ‘not on my watch’ yada yada – let’s start a discussion. What can be done? How can we get a French school in the district? We all want better things for our neighbourhood and we all want improvements…maybe this is the place to start.

    1. Thank you, Susan, for you input. I’m all for discussion.

      Both HJ Alexander and Weston Memorial do very well on the standardized provincial tests of school quality (the EQAO test) performing better than board and provincial averages. Pelmo does not do very well, but that is quite likely because they have a very high proportion of students with special needs (about half).

      I would not have expected mergers as a topic, since it seems like rather a dramatic proposal.

  5. Adam: I don’t understand how a school can have 1/2 special needs kids. Surely they are not all from the neighbourhood. I have been told by teachers that Pelmo is a great school (maybe they were special needs teachers) and I have been told that Memo is ‘parent’ run.; I don’t know – I don’t have kids in the system. All I know for sure is that our neighbourhood has gone to the dogs…and there is no improvement or ways to improve it now or planned for the near future. I know that when my friends look to relocate they look in what they call ‘good school districts’…Perhaps we should hear from Chris Tonks. Are you out there Mr. Tonks?

    1. It’s a very high number, I agree, but it seems to be true. On the EQAO results pamphlet, here’s what it says:

      Students with special education needs (excluding gifted) [for the past 5 years, in grade 3] 42% 38% 55% 51% 40%

      I will be speaking with Mr Tonks later this morning. I’d be glad to ask him any questions you have.

  6. Memo is not “parent run” but parent supported. The parents there work hard to make sure that the school has what it needs. They make sure there are activities, programs and such within the school. Pelmo gets many of it’s students bussed in from across Jane St. from the housing on Maple Leaf. This was done to keep it open since local enrollement in this area seems to go to the catholic schools.

    Weston could easily accomodate another addition and there are some that are fairly simple to add (according to a parent who’s school did this a few years ago). They are called pop up additions.

    There is certainly room for discussion but parents at Memo would certainly fight closing that school.

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