TORONTO – The survival of two Toronto daycares being housed inside Old Orchard Junior Public School may be threatened if the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) votes to sell the building as part of its plan to close underutilized schools to raise funds for repairs elsewhere.
Old Orchard is one of four “non-operating” schools the board recommended selling during a meeting last week. A final vote is expected Tuesday night.
The location in the city’s west-end is home to the West End Parents’ Daycare (WEPD) and a Montessori school with a combined enrollment of 120 children.
Concerned parents held a press conference Tuesday morning inside the daycare to shed light on the importance of keeping the facility open.
“She goes to a local elementary school and this daycare is one of very few that actually take her to and from school every day,” said Taryn McCormick, whose six-year-old daughter attends WEPD.
“It’s an amazing program. I drop her off here. They walk her to school. They bring her back, feed her a hot, healthy lunch and pick her up at the end of the day.”
Parent David Weaver has two children attending WEPD and says he has no plan B if the daycare closes down.
“Our hope is that the TDSB reconsiders their decision and that the Ministry of Education makes a statement that they are committed to maintaining the number of daycare spots in the downtown core,” he said.
“It’s not just a daycare, it’s a community hub. It becomes part of our lives. We’re all friends with one another. ”
The school board still owns the building and leases out the space to WEPD for $66,000 a year and $90,000 for the Montessori school.
The TDSB is under pressure from the province to present a three-year plan by Feb. 13 on further school closures to curb the board’s debt level.