Nearly a quarter of Toronto public schools in 'critical' condition
Naomi Parness and Kendra Mangione, CTV Toronto
Published Wednesday, January 20, 2016 6:00PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 20, 2016 6:47PM EST
Nearly one-quarter of Toronto's public schools are in need of urgent repairs, CTV News has learned.
Documents obtained by CTV Toronto's Naomi Parness show that 136 of the Toronto District School Board's 591 schools are ranked by the province in "critical" condition. The rating means the buildings need extensive renovations or replacements of core systems.
"It doesn't necessarily mean that it is unsafe, but it means that it may have passed its life expectancy," TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird told CTV Toronto. Bird said the board maintains all emergency repairs.
Ontario schools are ranked by the province using a system referred to as the Facility Condition Index (FCI).
The rankings are calculated as a percentage, which is the total value of replacement costs compared to the total value of replacing the entire building. For example, if a school needs $10 million in repairs, and its value is $20 million, its FCI is 50 per cent.
Schools with an FCI of less than 10 are considered "good," while those at 65 or higher are "critical."
CTV Toronto obtained the rankings, which showed that 136 schools are at 65 or above. Another 195 schools fall between 30 and 65, receiving a ranking of "poor."
According to the rankings, the worst school in the TDSB is Park Lane Public School, a specialized facility for students with severe disabilities. Its ranking is at 200.
The TDSB said the main issue causing the backlog of repairs is funding, and although the board received more than double the amount needed to fix its aging schools, it says $156 million is not enough. The board said it has a backlog of repairs that would cost $3.3 billion.
"We have close to 600 schools. We are trying the very best we can to address all their needs...but we don't have enough money to do that,” said Bird.
The head of Fix Our Schools, a grassroots Ontario organization that advocates for safe schools, said the provincial government is to blame.
The group pointed to a recent auditor general's report that said Ontario school boards need $1.4 billion per year to maintain a good state of repair.
"If the province does not step up and increase the funding that they provide to public schools significantly we are heading to a direction where schools will become unsafe," head of Fix Our Schools, Krista Wylie, said.
The Ministry of Education told CTV that it has already poured billions of dollars into schools. This year, it increased the annual funding to the TDSB by four times.
"It's important to note that the TDSB is responsible for deciding where and how to allocate these funds throughout its schools," the ministry said in a statement.
TDSB schools with highest rankings
The following schools have the highest FCI rankings in the board:
- Park Lane Public School
- Amesbury Middle School
- Givins/Shaw Junior Public School
- Earl Grey Senior Public School
- Jesse Ketchum Junior and Senior Public School
- Winona Drive Senior Public School
- Winchester Junior and Senior Public School
- Highcastle Public School
- Zion Heights Junior High School
- Milne Valley Middle School
The following is a list of the rankings provided by the TDSB. The board only provided CTV Toronto with the first eight of 12 pages, so not all schools will appear in the scanned documents.