Sarah Fulford, editor of Toronto Life, starts her editor’s letter in the February edition with:
“The seven-year-old girl on our cover; Amal Syed, came to Canada 3 years ago from Abu Dhabi. Her father is a computer analyst who left everything behind to give his daughter a first-rate Ontario education. Like many new immigrants, they settled in the inner suburbs, and he enrolled his daughter at the local public school. He was bitterly disappointed to discover what long-time residents of Toronto have known for years – that many of the buildings where we send our kids to learn are old, overcrowded and in desperate need of repair.”
When Amal’s father is interviewed on page 29, he says, “When we complained to the TDSB, our trustee told us they couldn’t get funding from the ministry to fix the damage, much less create a new building for the students. The ministry, in turn, said it was the TDSB that hadn’t presented the case for repairs. It’s a never-ending circle of blame.”
Secord Elementary at Danforth and Main consists of a century-old main building and a series of 14 portables connected by hallways. The portables were built two decades ago as a temporary solution to overcrowding at Secord Elementary. Over time, these temporary structures have deteriorated – raccoon infestations, falling ceiling tiles and water damage are amongst the most noticeable examples of disrepair.
Several people have asked Fix Our Schools if our call for emergency funding from Kathleen Wynne’s government isn’t a bit much – is this really an emergency? We believe it is – and Amal’s school is a perfect example.