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TDSB passes budget without cuts to music

TORONTO – The Toronto District School Board passed a budget with no cuts to instrumental music programs Wednesday night.

After a two-hour debate, trustees at the board — the largest in Canada — voted to save instrumental music programs and not charge students for the International Baccalaureate program.

About $10.5-million will be found through “in year savings,” the board said.

“We should be looking for other creative ways of doing things throughout the year so that we don’t have to take that other $10.5-million out of the classroom or wherever,” TDSB Chair Chris Bolton said.

A proposal to cut 24 itinerant music instructors to shave $2-million off the $27-million deficit was scrapped. An online petition garnered more than 10,000 signatures to save part-time music instructors.

A revenue-generating proposal to charge 700 students in the IB program a registration fee of between $1,200 to $1,500 was not implemented.

TDSB trustee Chris Glover says he does not know where the money will come from.

“If we don’t make those savings this year, it’ll be added to the shortfall next year and we’re already predicting a $30-million shortfall next year,” he said.

“This is not the end of it.”

In March, trustees voted to cut about 250 high-school teaching jobs, including special education teachers and guidance counsellors, to help deal with a $55-million deficit.

Trustees privately discussed the issue of selling off school properties.

The Toronto Star reported Wednesday that the board will decide whether to sell $162-million in school properties over the next three years, to free up any money to pay for a list of pressing school renovations and new building projects.

The confidential report before the TDSB reportedly recommends that 11 properties be sold. Most are schools that were closed years ago and are now being rented out.

Trustees will meet again on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. to complete the agenda.

With files from CityNews.ca