‘Everyone forgets us’: East Scarborough School competes with others seeking reconstruction

St. Margaret’s Public School, recommended for complete replacement, is one of four Scarborough projects on the Toronto District School Board’s list of 10 priority capital projects. Shop steward Zakir Patel and other community representatives are fighting for

In the winter, Katie Cronkwright sends her daughter to East Scarboroughs St. Margaret’s Public School with an extra sweater in case the warm-up should fail.

Since the girl was in kindergarten, Cronkwright and other parents talked about the need for a larger school.

Like other younger children, her child spent time in St. Louis. Margaret’s 16 interconnected laptops, which are old and moldy, with leaks and defective heat.

“They always have to fix and patch things up,” said Cronkwright, who is school board chairman.

“The kids are complaining that they are cold or too hot.”

The index of the provincial Ministry of Education shows St. The Margaret’s Galloway Road building, which opened in 1972, is in urgent need of repair of its foundation, roof, windows, doors, floors, heating and cooling systems, lighting, wiring and plumbing installations.

Its gym is “very undersized” for a junior kindergarten to Grade 8 program, says the Toronto District School Board, which put the replacement St. Margaret’s on her current “capital priority projects” list.

The price is $ 15.8 million. Cronkwright, who collected signatures in support of a new building, hopes the county will not leave its neighborhood again.

“I feel like in Scarborough we all forget and no one cares,” she said.

Only three of TDSB’s 10 priority projects – replacement buildings, extensions and new schools in growth areas – are approved each year. The ministry’s latest decision is expected soon.

Zakir Patel, a local shop steward, had to apologize during a board meeting for referring to St. Margaret’s as being “like a prison”.

He remembers touring around the building, its second floor clad in metallic orange, for the first time since he was elected in 2018, thinking, “Are you licking me?”

The board is not obliged to assess all schools to the priority list.

Patel suspects it’s an advantage for parents in Toronto’s core who often have more time to spend on advocacy.

“Until you go in for things, nothing happens,” said Patel, who got St. Margaret’s on the list last year (it was bypassed) and this year (2020-21).

St. Margaret’s Public School on Galloway Road, recommended for complete replacement, is one of four Scarborough projects on the Toronto District School Board’s list of 10 priority capital projects.- Dan Pearce / Metroland

Poplar Road and Elizabeth Simcoe Junior High Schools in Scarborough’s Guildwood area are also listed.

Five years ago, repairing Poplar Road would have already cost more than a new building. The board plans to close Jack Miner Senior Public, rebuild Poplar Road ($ 15.1 million) and expand Elizabeth Simcoe ($ 5 million, including child care).

Without provincial funds, the plan has not been achieved anywhere.

The Toronto District School Board plans to rebuild Scarborough’s Poplar Road Junior Public School and expand the Elizabeth Simcoe Junior Public School if the province funds these ‘priority’ projects. – Metroland file image

Also listed is a new elementary school at 705 Progress Ave., where an industrial center in the center of Scarborough currently houses two homeless shelters.

Local politicians are pushing hardest on St. Margaret, who draws 95 percent of students from apartment buildings.

In a letter on October 6, Scarborough-Guildwood MPP Mitzie Hunter told Education Minister Stephen Lecce that the school is home to “a disproportionate number of children from low-income families and single parents” and that replacing it “would have a transformative effect. “on student life.

In an interview last week, Ontario Liberal leader Steven Del Duca said his party would commit an additional $ 8 billion over five years to repairing and replacing schools.

Del Duca said he would pay for the increase by canceling plans for Highway 413 north of Toronto.

“I’d rather have state-of-the-art schools in Scarborough and other communities.”

Asked if the Liberals share the blame for leaving the school repair deficit – now $ 16.8 billion – intact while in power, Del Duca said he “does not blame” and “trying to campaign by looking back ” does not help. neighborhoods like St. Margaret’s.

Scarborough Southwest MPP Doly Begum, a new Democrat, said liberal and progressive conservative governments “completely failed” to deal with the backlog.

“Scarborough has far too many schools crumbling, and students have raised these concerns years before the pandemic.”

In its 2020 budget, the government announced $ 13 billion in school capital grants over 10 years, including $ 550 million in 2020-2021, a “massive investment” that comes “after a decade of closures and maintenance backlogs.”

This year, the government announced a $ 14.3 million addition and five-bedroom childcare to Agincourt’s Terry Fox Public School.

HISTORY BAG HISTORY:

Reporter Mike Adler wanted to hear more about an East Scarborough school on the board’s list of ‘priority’ projects and how conditions are for the students there.

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