The TDSB and the Province agree that an optimum utilization rate for a school is around 85%.
The 130 TDSB schools operating below 65% utilization have been a hot topic of late. However, you may be surprised to learn that there are currently 146 TDSB schools that operate at 100% utilization or more. These overcapacity schools operate extremely efficiently, saving the Province heaps of money by spreading resources such as Administration salaries (an overcapacity school doesn’t get an additional Principal!) across more children. However, these highly “efficient” TDSB schools are not optimum learning environments.
Principals, Vice Principals and staff spend time and energy managing logistics rather than providing good leadership and teaching. In overcapacity schools, holding a school assembly or concert is like a military operation, lunchrooms and gymnasiums might be in use all day every day for a multitude of purposes, and if there is ever an issue in a classroom such as lack of heat or a broken water pipe, then that class of students might learn in a hallway for a few days while the repair is made since there are is no extra space in the school. A school operating over 100% has that much more dirt and litter for caretakers to clean and has that much more wear-and-tear to its facilities.
So while the “empty” schools are getting all the attention, students at 146 TDSB schools learn in an overcrowded environment. In addition to the unacceptable state of disrepair in TDSB schools, this overcrowding is yet another issue that must be addressed to ensure the safety and well being of children.