Ontario’s largest school board says 3,600 students didn’t return to class this fall

The Toronto District School Board says at least 3,600 fewer students have returned to school – either in person or virtual – than expected this fall, meaning it could lose up to $40 million in provincial funding.

As of Sept. 30, the board said it had 2,700 fewer elementary school students enrolled than expected and 900 fewer secondary students.

“If the projected enrolments of Oct. 13 come in as planned, the financial impact to the GSN (Grant for Student Needs) will be approximately $40 million,” board trustees were told in a report released earlier this month.

The GSN is provided to school boards in the province based on enrolment.

Board officials say the reduction in enrolment has nothing to do with the Sept. 30 deadline for students to switch between in-person and virtual instruction.

The shortfall is caused by students who were registered at the TDSB last school year who have not returned to school this year.

They may have moved out of the city, switched to the private system or to homeschooling.

Officials said the biggest shortfalls in returning students was at the kindergarten level.