TDSB closes 5 schools; confirms Thomson/Bendale amalgamation

Five Schools to Close in Scarborough – New school planned for Rougeville; Thomson-Bendale high schools to merge in new building

As published in the Scarborough Mirror, Wednesday June 23, 2010

Schools in the TDSB to close within the next two years as a result of the ARC process include: Brooks Road Public School, Heron Park Junior Public School, Peter Secor Junior Public School, McCowan Road Junior Public School, Pringdale Gardens Junior Public School, Silverthorn Junior Public School, Arlington Middle School and Kent Senior Public School-Alpha II.

After nine months of debate and dissent, Scarborough families will be seeing some of the benefits of closing several schools.  During the Toronto District School Board’s (TDSB) general meting on Wednesday, June 23, the board finalized the closure of eight schools that were evaluated by Accommodation Review Committees (ARCs). Five of these school are in Scarborough.  To help soften the blow, trustees pledged almost $34 million in facility upgrades to the remaining schools in each Scarborough ARC and authorized the construction of two new schools as part of a five-year capital plan.  While TDSB chair Bruce Davis characterizes Scarborough as a “big winner” in the $397.5-million capital plan, local trustees feel it is just a case of a rapidly expanding area finally getting its due.

“You can say that Scarborough is coming out on top and you know what… that community was in need of a new school. It has flourished in the last 10 years or more. In the whole community we have recently built two new schools (Thomas L. Wells Public School and Brookside Public School) and now we will have another one because that community needs the room and has had lots of new developments,” said Scarborough Centre trustee Scott Harrison.

Part of the board’s newly approved five-year plan is to construct a Kindergarten to Grade 8 school on a patch of land slightly north of Meadowvale and Sheppard avenues. The budget for this development is estimated at $15.2 million.

A new secondary school in Scarborough was also approved during the meeting, but will require the closure of two other schools to fund it. Bendale Business and Technical Institute and David and Mary Thomson Collegiate Institute will be closed and a $41-million high school will be built on the land behind where Bendale currently sits near the corner of Lawrence and Midland avenues. This is the final result of an ARC that began in 2006.

The ARCs were established to deal with declining enrolment and financial pressures across the TDSB. The most recent round of ARCs established in October 2009 was met with skepticism by many parents and educators, but Harrison hopes the newly approved reinvestments will demonstrate that trustees are straight shooters.  “The biggest part of it is taking us at our word. I remember a comment from a particular parent at the ARC for Bendale and Thomson saying, ‘We’ll never see anything from the Toronto board because they don’t do anything.’ Well now we are able to show them that all the work the community has put forward…is now resulting in benefits to the community,” said Harrison.

“This board, myself included, has not done the work we should have done years ago in closing and consolidating schools. We are finally getting that underway and we can see the benefits, on paper, that students will see in the schools down the road.”

By raising money through school closures, the board no longer has to rely on provincial grants as heavily as in the past. Davis said this strategy gives trustees more freedom to invest in areas of their choosing, but warns the capital plan will require more tough decisions in the future.  “In two or three years we are going to do this whole (ARC) thing over again,” said Davis. “There will be more school closures in the future.”


#1 Elsa Caceres on 09.19.12 at 11:02 pm

if your community has money
they will not close your school
look athe schools and some are small and they are open
whys is that?
while other schools have many students and they are closing
the parents do not know the details and can not fight due to ignorance and language barrier
many of them are immigrants …very sad

#2 Mike Lettau on 05.01.13 at 10:49 am

yes some of my great times was at Thomson High
Ya I am class of 72 and really miss my high School days
so solong old friend the end is october 2015
cheers to all
mike Lettau

#3 Anita Dermer on 06.06.13 at 11:09 pm

Will the new school be called David and Mary Thomson — or the generic and banal Bendale? And what will happen to our wonderful school song?

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