Capital planning is an ongoing process that identifies capital priorities such as new schools, additions and renovations. The Board of Trustees approves a capital plan every year. This plan contains enrolment data, facility condition information and other items. It also includes recommendations for short- and long-term solutions to accommodation pressures. These may include:
- changes to attendance areas
- pupil accommodation reviews
- program reviews
- construction of new schools
- additions to existing schools
- upgrading of facilities partnership opportunities
The Board of Trustees also approves a capital priorities list that identifies and ranks capital needs across the SCDSB.
How new schools are planned and funded
Determining capital needs
The Planning Department uses current enrolment and future enrolment projections to determine where growth or decline is likely to occur and where there may be a need for a new school or another solution. The Maintenance Department assesses building condition on a regular basis to inform the capital planning process.
Funding for new schools comes from the Ministry of Education. School boards submit business cases outlining their needs for new buildings and/or additions/renovations to existing buildings. These business cases are only submitted when requested by the Ministry of Education. This is a provincial process. The needs in Simcoe County are evaluated along with other areas of the province.
How business cases are prioritized
The Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) prioritizes business cases to help Ministry of Education staff understand where SCDSB staff and the school board believe the needs are most significant. The priority order is determined by evaluating the impact on students first. This impact may include program availability, ability to accommodate students, building accessibility, the quality of the learning environment and building condition.
The Ministry of Education does not necessarily approve projects based on the priority order provided by the SCDSB.
Securing land in growth areas
When development is occurring in an area of Simcoe County, the Planning Department reviews the types of dwellings planned for the area and makes projections based on pupil yields (expected number of students per dwelling) to determine if the growth may result in the need for a new school. Land is designated in advance so it is available if needed.
New development doesn’t always result in a new school. Sometimes the demographics or growth rates are different than what was expected, or the dwelling type changes (e.g. college students or older adults vs. families with young children).
Education Development Charge
An Education Development Charge (EDC) is a way for school boards to collect funds from growth-related development to purchase land for new schools and to pay for site work required to prepare to build the school. School boards do not receive funding from the Ministry of Education to acquire new sites, but are able to collect funds through EDCs if certain requirements are met.
Education Development Charges are used exclusively for school site acquisition and preparation. Municipal Development Charges fund growth related infrastructure and services such as roads, sewers, policing, libraries, fire, transit, and other public services.
School boards are responsible for setting the EDC rates. The SCDSB rate is $1,311 per residential dwelling unit and $0.35 per square foot of gross floor area for the non-residential charge.
The EDC by-law for the SCDSB came into effect on November 4, 2013. The SCDSB and the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board passed new by-laws on October 29, 2013.