Every driver eventually faces the same question: when does fixing cost more than replacing? Your correspondent predicts that the TDSB is asking the same question now about several local schools.
Weston CI is among 8 schools in Ward 6 facing an existential review. The TDSB is conducting a “Long-Term Program & Accommodation Strategy“, and is looking to “reduce surplus space and build viable programs” at the following schools:
- Rockcliffe MS,
- Dennis Avenue CS
- Weston CI
- Cordella Jr. PS,
- Harwood PS,
- George Syme CS,
- Roselands Jr. PS,
- Lambton Park CS¹
not an education administrator, but I see the possibility for amputation synergies. Many of these schools need almost as much in repairs as they would cost to replace. Perhaps the TDSB will do the same thing car owners do: junk the heap.
Rockcliffe, though not properly in Mount Dennis or Weston (the beats I stick to) is illustrative. As well as being ‘underutilized’, it is on the critical list for repairs: more than $7 million of work needs to be done. Its repairs will cost almost as much as a whole new school: the province estimates that they add up to 93% of its replacement value.
Surely it will be tempting to close a school in that kind of shape if it is not being much used—and just as surely it must be tempting to put as few repairs as possible into a dying school, fulfilling the vicious cycle.
In order of rustbucketiness, then, the underutilized schools being reviewed are:
- Rockcliffe MS: 93% rust
- Dennis Avenue CS: 58% rust
- Weston CI: 55%
- Harwood PS, 49%
- Cordella Jr. PS 48%
- Roselands Jr. PS: 41%
- George Syme CS 29%
- Lambton Park CS 20%
I’m sure there are many factors the TDSB will consider—including politics—but the cost of fixing a forsaken school must be high among them. I predict, therefore, that the viability of Rockcliffe, Dennis Avenue, and Weston CI will be closely examined.
The process, it is clear, will be very slow. Staff are currently working on some of the schools, and public consultation will begin this fall. Other schools will not be reviewed until next year.
¹The special education programs at Haney Centre and York Humber may also be amalgamated.