In Willowdale, rapid condo development has led to 17,900 new residential units. This adds an estimated 1,000 new students from JK-12. Newly approved developments could increase this number by up to 1,300 in 2017-18. In 2016, 5 of 8 schools in the Yonge-Sheppard corridor already experienced overcrowding. On average, these 5 schools operate at 127% capacity. This forced schools to implement 24 portable classrooms.
Overcrowding in Willowdale is another example of the Liberal government’s inaction. Needless Liberal layers of bureaucracy have halted the expansion of existing schools; and stopped new schools from being built in Willowdale.
The Liberal government has stood by while children in Willowdale have lost their green space because schools are forced to put up portable rooms for their students. Your children deserve space to be active, and space to learn.
This is not a problem without a solution. Ontario school boards can charge a levy on new developments and use this capital to purchase land for future school sites. School boards must prove they have insufficient capacity before their EDC by-laws can be approved by The Minister of Education.
The TDSB currently doesn’t qualify for EDCs because it has a schoolboard-wide surplus of spaces for students. On a micro level, areas like Willowdale are disproportionately impacted by the lack of EDCs funding. The TDSB is one of the only boards not receiving EDCs in the GTHA.
We can create $35 million for new schools in Willowdale by changing this simple regulation and allowing our school boards to:
- Charge EDCs for areas like Willowdale that suffer from overcrowding even if the entire board has a surplus
- Use EDC funds not only for land purchases but for school expansions and building projects
The Liberal government has refused to make this change for the past 15 years, and as your MPP, I will fight for this change and fight for your child’s education.