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Catholic school board looks to close areas in under-enrolled schools to save on caretaking

Parents at Toronto’s St. Sebastian elementary school say the board plans to close off the building’s two upper floors, “cramming” their kids onto lower floors to save money on caretaking.

And they say they were told by school administrators that students could end up in former storage spaces, though the board says that’s not true — the school is so under-enrolled there’s plenty of proper classroom space to move the kids.

“This is related to the budget that was passed on June 2, when trustees approved $500,000 in maintenance efficiencies and that translates into 20 schools where we are working towards seeing if we can close rooms so that students can be consolidated into more usable parts of the school,” said board spokesperson John Yan. “No decisions have been made in terms of which classrooms” will be shuttered.

The schools under review are about half-full — one just 22 per cent full, with 96 students — and St. Sebastian has 248 students, which is slightly less than half what it can accommodate.

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