The Toronto District School Board has posted a list online of the 23,232 repairs needed at its 588 active schools.
Through the TDSB website, parents can see the repair backlog and condition rating of each active school operated by the provincially funded board. It is believed to be the first time an Ontario school board has publicly shared such data.
“The information confirms that TDSB school repairs have historically been underfunded by the province, requiring the board to focus primarily on emergency repairs,” reads a TDSB statement, released Monday, Aug. 22, announcing the data disclosure. “More recently, the province has provided multiple years of near-record investment levels for school repairs that may reduce the approximate $3.4 billion school repairs backlog. Without adequate short- and long-term funding for school repairs, the TDSB’s school repairs backlog could grow to an estimated $4.7 billion in 2018.”
The TDSB statement said the data was posted online as part of the board’s commitment to transparency, noting it was the first school board in the Greater Toronto Area to publicly share its director of education’s salary and contract.
“We have a $3.4 billion backlog in school repairs, but we know that the province’s new investments will make a difference,” said TDSB Chair Robin Pilkey in the statement.
None of the needed repairs listed pose health or safety risks for students or staff, notes the statement, but approximately 200 TDSB schools are in critical need of work.
The data, from the Ministry of Education’s renewal needs backlog, already existed, but before now was only shared internally to prioritize repairs. It is updated yearly, with the current data from July 2016. The TDSB’s online list will be updated as new data becomes available from the ministry.
Parents, including parent group Fix Our Schools, had called for the data to be released.
“This step by the TDSB is a crucial one in raising awareness on the issue of disrepair in Ontario’s publicly funded schools,” reads a statement from Fix Our Schools. “Our hope is that all of Ontario’s school boards will follow TDSB’s lead and become more transparent with disrepair information since every single one of them has a repair backlog. Similarly, we would expect the Ontario government to make information on disrepair in schools readily available.”
Visit bit.ly/2bcgP9u for the TDSB school repairs list.