Downsview Park Community Consultation

A public meeting is being held next Wednesday evening, April 23rd at 6:30pm to discuss future plans for the development of Downsview Park.
 
http://www.downsviewpark.ca/events/downsview-lands-community-consultation-meeting
 
There will be a presentation of new and updated plans for the park. There are currently no plans for additional indoor or outdoor sports facilities, but there is an opportunity at this meeting to advocate for more sports facilities to be considered during the next stages of park development.
 
By 2016, there will be a subway station north of the sports complex (near Sheppard), on the Spadina line extension. It will be about a 7 minute walk from the subway station  to the indoor facilities, and a 10 minutes to the outdoor fields.
 

New Report from the SPACE Coalition and Provincial Consultations

Exciting news! Our Ontario-wide SPACE report was released this morning (see attachment or find the report here http://spacecoalition.ca/wp-content/uploads/Public-Space-for-Public-Use.pdf). There was also a story in this morning’s Toronto Star on the report http://www.thestar.com/yourtoronto/education/2013/11/14/ontario_school_boards_hiking_permit_fees_report_warns.html#.

Our thanks and congratulations to Social Planning intern Sharma Queiser for her excellent work on this research report! The Ministry of Education has already received a copy and we will be following up with them shortly on our findings.
 
If you’re also looking to have a say about the issue – here are two opportunities currently available.
 
 
  1. Ministry of Education Funding Formula Review
This from our friends at People for Education:
Between November 18 and November 30, the Ministry of Education is consulting with key stakeholders on possible changes to the education funding formula.
The Ministry is seeking ways to address the global economic downturn and slower-than-expected recovery and to find a balance between central and local decision making. The changes to education funding that are being considered may result in:
 
  • a more effective way for school boards to share costs
  • changes/cuts to funding for small and underutilized schools and possibly more school closings
  • changes to the Accommodation Review Process
  • changes to boards’ reporting requirements so that boards which are meeting Ministry academic and financial targets, will be rewarded with reductions in reporting requirements; boards who are struggling to meet the goals would presumably have more reporting requirements

The goals of the consultation:

  • Transform the way funding is allocated and used at the board and school level so that activities on the ground are more closely aligned with provincial goals for student achievement
  • Refine accountability arrangements, so that they focus on school boards that need the most support in meeting the expectations of their students, families and communities. This will help province identify the best performers and share their approaches.

School closings, underutilized schools and declining enrolment

  • Enrolment has been declining for years and will continue to decline in nearly all boards until 2014-15. But in rural boards, the decline will not stop. (E.g. Since 2002, enrolment in Halton has increased by 22%; in Superior Greenstone, it’s down 45%)
  • Ministry has been providing “transitional” grants to help boards deal with the impact of declining enrolment. They lose funding, but lose it a little more slowly.
  • Currently 70% of schools receive some funding to deal with either their size, their underused space or their distance from other schools
  • Government says some of this funding may be going to space used for “non-educational” or “non-core educational” purposes. (The “unfunded” space in schools being used for “non-educational” purposes could be things like specialty rooms for music classes or community meeting rooms.)
Among the Ministry questions
 
  1. How can the declining enrolment grants be reduced or redistributed among boards?
  2. How could e-learning be expanded to reduce costs of supported schools and improve programming? (presumably, this might reduce costs for teachers in small schools, because boards would provide more courses only through e-learning)
  3. How can the funding be restructured to avoid unintentionally promoting the continued operation of “non-viable” schools?
  4. How can the Accommodation Review process be improved?
  5. What’s the alternative to providing base funding for principals and secretaries on a per-school basis?
  6. How can we get more “value” from existing space?
You can provide your feedback directly to Joshua Paul, Director of the Education Finance Branch at the Ministry, Joshua.paul@ontario.ca.
 
2. The Minister of Education is hosting an online “Great to Excellent” consultation on November 20 at 7:30 pm.  You have to register to participate.  Here is the link: http://events.digitalmedia.telus.com/ops/112013b/index2.php?page=register (thanks again to P4E).
 
We hope you have an opportunity to mention to the Ministry how important use of our public assets is to building strong and healthy communities! The SPACE Coalition will be doing the same.
 
As ever, please keep us updated on your space-related news!
 
Best wishes,
Lesley
 
--
Lesley Johnston
Researcher and Policy Analyst
Social Planning Toronto
2 Carlton Street, Suite 1001
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1J3
Tel: (416) 351-0095 ext. 216
Fax: (416) 351-0107
ljohnston@socialplanningtoronto.org

http://socialplanningtoronto.org/
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Public Space for Public Use

The Toronto Sports Council supports the following sports: