Since 1959, the City has collaborated with school boards in planning school sites for the city.
As part of this relationship, the City has a Joint Use Agreement that requires school boards to offer the City first right of refusal on surplus school buildings.
In a city that is more than 100 years old, more and more school buildings are reaching the end of their designed lifespan, and are increasingly costly to maintain.
Many are in neighbourhoods where the population of school-age children has declined.
Older schools in and around the city core often continue to serve as a community meeting place and a play area for children.
Under the Joint Use Agreement, the City has 180 days from the date of the surplus declaration to ascertain the value of the school to municipal operations and community aspirations.
Administration immediately informs the local community league that the process is under way, and then various departments provide input so that an informed decision can be made.
Cost is a consideration, as a school site with a building costs the City more than a surplus site without any buildings, and rehabilitation or demolition of an old building can also be very costly.
If the City cannot use the property, school boards may put them on the open market.