TDSB boosts deficit to expand inner-city program
Toronto District School Board trustees have increased this year's spending deficit by $4.7 million by expanding an inner-city school program.
The proposed deficit tops $25 million and could ruffle the feathers of the Ontario government, which requires school board to balance their budgets.
The Model Schools for Inner Cities programs has already given three schools $1 million each year for three years for social workers, librarians, music teachers and field trips, the Toronto Star reports.
The project is lauded by politicians and school officials. The plan was to add four more schools to the project.
After a lengthy debate Wednesday, trustees decided to increase the 2007-08 deficit, knowing the province could step in and take action.
"We've been in conversation with the ministry's staff and they are aware of what we are planning to bring forward, if the board chooses to approve it," TDSB director of education Jerry Connelly said at the meeting.
Although the province requires boards to pass balanced budgets each year, Education Minister Kathleen Wynne told the Star on Tuesday that the board's deficit would be fine if it is less than one per cent of the board's total operating budget.
Trustee Josh Matlow said the additional $4.7 million tacked onto the $2.3 billion budget must be found within already deepened cut programs.
The board is already looking at having to make nearly $70 million in cuts, including $40 million from caretaking and maintenance, $18.7 million from kindergarten educational assistants and $8 million from swimming pools.
John Weatherup, president of CUPE Local 4400, says the cuts could mean up to 1,000 lost jobs and possible job action.
With files from CTV's Roger Petersen