Pelmo Park Junior Public school recieved a grant this week to refurbish the baseball diamond from the Toronto Blue Jays’ charitable arm
The Jays Care Foundation has a “Field of Dreams program [that] provides funding to design, refurbish and build safe spaces for children and youth to play baseball, develop life skills and learn from positive role models.”
The grants are for up to $150,000 and are given nationwide.
The TDSB released a list of under-enrolled schools this week under pressure from Liz Sandals, the provincial Minister of Education. Politicians will now be forced to consider closing some of them. The good news: Weston schools are not threatened. The bad news: several in Mount Dennis are, as are schools that host recreation programs attended by Weston families.
About 1 in 5 Toronto elementary schools has low enrolment, and about 1 in 3 high schools, does, according to the Globe. Not all of these schools will be closed, of course; the TDSB will consider—and try to punt on—each one.
All five Weston schools (Pelmo, Memo, CR, CI, and HJ) have high-enough enrolment to miss the cut. Other area schools, though, are in danger.
Dennis Ave: 59%
Amesbury MS: 56%
York Humber SS: 56%
Maple Leaf PS: 64% enrolment
Nelson Boylen: 13% enrolment
The Elms: 49%
Boylen, Amesbury, and the Elms all host community recreation programs such as swimming.
Weston public schools may have another kind of problem: over-enrolment. HJ Alexander is currently at 121% of its capacity. Pelmo is at 109%.
Chris Tonks, the school trustee for our district, opposes the sale of land around Pelmo Park school. He says, however, that the possible sale of school land around Toronto is because the the Ministry of Education is drying up capital funding for schools, and there is “some immediate need” for capital funding.
Tonks said that the schools in Weston are “very well enrolled” right now, and that HJ Alexander is “bursting at the seams” because of an influx of former St John the Evangelist students. He said that he wants to keep the green space around Pelmo Park intact to accommodate future students, since the redevelopment in Weston may lead to increased enrollment. “Pelmo Park is really the only site we have capacity to expand. I don’t think we should sacrifice that capacity. If we sever and we lose that, where are we going to get that greenspace to build?” he said.
Responding to readers’ questions about merging schools in Weston, I asked Vince Baglione, the Principal of Weston Memorial, about the state of his building. He said that the school is fine condition, though they will need a new roof and to work with a few building “quirks”. Both men said that the board is moving to a K–8 model, but that this will be several years away; according to Tonks “there’s no money for expansion right now.”
I tried to get Laura Albanese’s response, but she and I played phone tag over the past few days. I missed two of her calls because I was out. She was in a meeting when I called her back.
It’s hot out already, and it’s not even noon. Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Toronto’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, has issued an Extreme Heat Alert until further notice.
The Library is open and air conditioned, as is the Pelmo Community Centre. Weston Lions Pool is fantastic—and was not very busy yesterday, when I was there with the kids. Admission is free, and the water is cold. Bring a pair of flip-flops, though; the change rooms are, well, well travelled.