Growth of Toronto schools discussed

TORONTO – The growth in student and pupil population was discussed during Thursday’s city school board meeting.

Fred Burns, district superintendent, said the district is experiencing unprecedented growth in student and pupil enrollment this year in all grades, which he attributed to the district’s new junior/senior high school.

“Our (district-wide) enrollment as of September of last year was 873 (pupils and students),” said Burns. “This year I have 993 already enrolled. We’re over 120 as of last year, a lot of which is due to open enrollment.”

Burns said pupils and students who had left the district are coming back because of construction of the new district building. He added the amount of growth “shocked” school officials.

“This was much more than we anticipated,” Burns continued. “We had to cut off enrollment for some grades. For some grades, we have a waiting list. We’re still getting calls from parents wanting to enroll their kids here.”

In other matters:

The board discussed resurfacing of the high school stadium track and the continuing project to update the lighting at the stadium.

“We are using funds from the online auction, which ends today, to help fund the lighting project,” Burns said.

The auction currently running is for items at the former Toronto High School. Burns said it’s estimated the auction will raise between $44,000 to $60,000, the majority of which will go toward the lighting project. Burns also said board members expressed gratitude for electrician apprentices doing much of the work for the the lighting project at no cost.

Burns also discussed a blood drive planned Sept. 30 at Karaffa Elementary School, “through the Central Blood Bank for one of our students who has leukemia.”

Board members thanked Bob McAuliffe and Glenn Sands from Hammond Construction Co., the main contractor for construction of the new district building.

“We thanked them for finishing on time and on budget,” said Burns.

Burns said he gave each board member a task for the new building’s open house, which is set from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 29. There will be a program from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., after which the public is invited to tour the building, he added.

The next boarding is slated on Oct. 17 in the Karaffa Elementary school library.