I don't usually comment on the actions of Toronto's Catholic District School Board, but the recent decision by the TCDSB to expropriate seventeen town homes in the Cummer and Bayview area has got me interested.
Swimming in debt, this is expected to cost the Board at least $31 million. The act is being attacked by politicians at various levels of government. In the middle of an election that shouldn't surprise anyone. What should surprise, however, is just how legal this act is. Provincial legislation enables school boards (the TDSB and both French boards have this power too) to acquire land without consent so long as it in the public interest and owners are compensated.
But the TCDSB is playing defense. They believe the circumstances leave them little choice. They believe the 17 homes are needed to make room for the St. Joseph’s Morrow Park Secondary School. The all-girls school is currently on leased property slightly north of the contentious site, which was purchased from the Toronto District School Board. That lease expires in 2018.
This is just another case of a debt ridden school board digging itself into a financial hole and expecting taxpayers to bail them out. Both the TDSB and TCDSB are coming upon some big big decisions. With teachers' unions negotiating a raise out of the provincial government cuts will have to be made to finance the pay increase. It is not the time to start balancing a budget on the backs of parents and children.