[If you can outline the steps for seeking conservation easements for Toronto school yards, please let me know. Contact me through this website.]
The following correspondence has been forwarded to me.
From: Gloria Boxen
Sent: November 22, 2012 1:24 PM
To: Ontario Growth
Cc: Jim Bradley; Laura Broten; Premier Dalton McGuinty
Subject: Toronto schoolyards not for sale, for now
Two factors are at play, 1) the need to accommodate full day kindergarten and 2) cost overruns on construction and need for oversight of their costs to ensure school boards are not being taken advantage of. The provincial Auditor General could have a role to play here.
Selling off school property is no way to promote physical activity for children and is only a short term solution to funding problems. There are, unfortunately, schoolyards downtown that are closed to the public with locked gates. The land and buildings are a valuable, necessary public asset that should remain in the public realm. Greenspaces are necessary for mental and physical health. If necessary, the buildings can be re-purposed, leased, etc., and the lands can be naturalized and can be used for school and community gardens.
I suggest that a conservation easement be placed on all school yards.
Nov 22, 2012 Toronto schoolyards not for sale, for now
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) floated the idea of selling some land<http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2012/11/19/toronto-district-school-board-schoolyards.html> as a way of generating money for the board, which desperately needs the cash.
But a heated debate Wednesday night resulted in a vote of 15 to 7 against the proposal.
Coun. Janet Davis told CBC News the TDSB needs to consult the public and find a more creative solution for finding the money.
“The City of Toronto, I believe, has a real interest in ensuring that these green spaces … should be protected,” she said. “We live in a dense urban environment where school playgrounds may be the only green space.”…
The TDSB’s capital budget was frozen by the Ministry of Education earlier in the fall. The Ministry has required that the TDSB capital budget be revised sharply downward. All capital projects must be reassessed to prioritize short term pressures, especially full day kindergarten (FDK). Provincial instructions are to remove all projects that do not meet strict Ministry criteria. Capital costs must decrease through alternative approaches to student accommodation, including boundary changes and bussing children out of their home school areas to other schools with space.
Schools without extra space that are starting FDK next year will need to consider alternatives to regular construction techniques, including prefabricated materials, in order to meet funding restrictions. Some projects that had been included in the TDSB spring budget will not go ahead….
Value-for-money Audits of Public-sector Organizations Receiving Government Grants and of Crown Corporations
When the Auditor General Act became law on November 30, 2004, it expanded the Auditor’s value-for-money mandate to include organizations in the broader public sector that receive government grants, such as hospitals, colleges, universities, school boards, and other organizations meeting the definition of grant recipient. This is a significant change to our mandate insofar as over 50% of provincial expenditures go to such organizations. While the expanded mandate does not apply to grants to municipalities, it does allow the Auditor to determine whether a municipality spent a conditional grant for the purposes intended.
The expanded mandate also allows the Auditor to conduct value-for-money audits of Crown-controlled corporations, such as the new hydro corporations that began operating in 1999 after the restructuring of Ontario Hydro.
Under the Auditor General Act, the Auditor General may also be asked to undertake special assignments to perform value-for-money audits as required by the Legislature, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, or a Minister of the Crown. Such assignments, however, shall not take precedence over the ongoing work of the Office, and the Auditor may decline an assignment by a minister if it conflicts with the Auditor’s other duties.
Generally, results of a special assignment are compiled in a report and submitted to the party that requested it. It is usually up to the requesting party to decide whether the Auditor General’s special report will be made public.