English as a Second Language classes for 30,000 adults could be on the chopping block if the recommendations of a Toronto District School Board report are adopted, worried administrators said yesterday.
“We are helping all kinds of newcomers, including refugee claimants, landed immigrants and even citizens who have been here for some time — they are all in dire need of our service,” said Jinjiang Du, site manager at the Bickford Centre.
The Bloor Street West centre is one of many Toronto public school board sites that offer inexpensive ESL classes to people who, in many cases, couldn’t otherwise afford language instruction.
The threat of closing is embedded in the General Asset and Program Planning (GAPP) Working Group Report that went before trustees last night. As well as urging the closing of underused schools, it says all continuing education programs not mandated or funded by the province should generate enough revenue to cover their costs.
Also last night, Toronto’s public board is turning to former mayor David Crombie in the hope he can broker a deal to keep school pools afloat. Toronto District School Board trustees agreed last night Crombie should try to convene a meeting with federal, provincial, city and board representatives to secure long-term funding to keep the pools open.
Without funding, the board has already decided to shut 23 pools this June, saving $4 million. Trustees also voted last night to give 32 swim instructors layoff notices.
A motion to reopen the pool closing debate failed.

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