Sunday, May 2, 2010

Building new schools in Milton

Posted on February 13th, 2010, by Jan at

School lands. School lands are set aside by the town through the planning exercise – so many per expected population per area. There are quite a few planned. Schools are planned next to parks and trails for the benefit of children and the neighbourhood at large.

All lands are privately owned, most likely by a developer. The school board negotiates the purchase of the lands from the developer. The province will not build any new schools until the current ones are at capacity (or overcrowded), and have the required enrollment for a new school.

It’s the school board's job to force the issue. From my understanding the Halton School Board has a done a good job in that regard as several schools are set to be built in Milton.

The province has a per capita dollar amount for schools. To any suggestion that the town buy the land and hand it over to the school board makes no sense. Taxpayers already pay an education tax (a big portion of our property tax bill) and to expect the town of Milton to raise tax money to buy land to hand over to the school boards wouldn’t lower the education tax – it would result in a double tax whammy - and wouldn't result in a new school anyway until after the enrollment requirement is met.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting blog. FYI, education development charges given to the two english school boards in Halton are used to fund purchases of sites for new schools. For instance, the Catholic board owns land for a second school in west Milton north of Derry for a school that is years away from being built. Lumen Christi will be first, south of Derry. Funding is difficult to actually build new schools, because Province pays boards new pupil places grants based on total increase of students across region. So while Milton is growing dramatically - in some areas, not all - other areas lose students, so total grants isn't enough to cover all students. Other funding sources that can be used however include (1) closing down underutilized schools (if there are any) and lands and selling them (obviously, a difficult decision. if you think quality greens closing was a big issue, wait til the old schools start getting closed in two decades) (2) increasing busing to move students in new neighbourhoods to older schools to keep them fully utilized and reduce need to build brand new schools (two problems with this: new parents will complain, and busing funding is a separate envelope so board will likely exceed their grants). (3) try to create specialty schools (gender, ethnic origin specific, or with focus on arts/sports/technology etc.) in older schools, allowing them to be more fully utilized and without having to pay the freight to bus students around the region to get to them. Toronto has obviously taken this approach, and despite media interest, I've heard many of these schools are doing really well with some parents wanting to ship kids into the city to attend some of them, especially the arts- and sports-focused ones
    Anyways, my two cents.

    Tim Foran