New Etobicoke arts school will join TDSB this fall

The Toronto District School Board will add a specialized middle school for the arts to its list of public institutions. The announcement comes at a time when the board is trying to sell or rent 100 surplus properties.

The board voted last week to open the new school in Etobicoke this September at a facility the TDSB vacated 20 years ago. The property is currently being rented by a private Montessori school.

Ejecting the current tenants from the property will cause the school board to lose money, when the middle school could easily be placed somewhere else, said Trustee Scott Harrison, a critic of the plan.

“I think we could find another facility — maybe somewhere in the same area — that is 50-60% enrollment and can be housed within existing space,” he said. “So in other words you don’t have to have another principle, secretary or caretaker in the system.”

Enrollment in public schools is dwindling and the board is finding it doesn’t have enough students to fill up their properties.

Over the years, the public school system has lost 30,000 students, leaving the board with 100 properties that are either vacant or leased. It costs about $40 million to maintain.

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