“Unsweatered” Grants

Data shows cash-strapped TDSB diverts funds for disadvantaged schools to balance budget.

They are Toronto’s most vulnerable students, living in poverty, new to the country or arriving at school needing a healthy meal so they can focus on learning.

The province earmarks tens of millions of dollars in learning opportunities grants every year to help support marginalized students at the Toronto District School Board. But almost half that money isn’t being spent on them and is instead diverted to cover other expenses as the cash-strapped board struggles to balance its budget, says a damning new report.

“This means that the students with the greatest need are failing to benefit from the resources that they are entitled to — about $61 million worth of resources each year,” says the report, to be released Thursday by Social Planning Toronto and based on data provided by the TDSB.

“We think it’s important that people now see the facts,” said Sean Meagher, executive director of the social policy research group.

“This is the first time we’ve had absolutely rock-solid numbers that no one can refute, because they are the TDSB’s own numbers.”

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