This time of year, the office staff of NTCI is busy collecting applications from potential future NTCI Alumni–grade 8 students who would like to spend their next four years at North Toronto. This is nothing new as each year hundreds of applications are received from students out of the North Toronto catchment area.
While students who are “in-district” (i.e. within the catchment area boundaries), are able to simply select North Toronto, those “out-of-district” must apply, even if they are just across the street from an in-district student. To date, the out-of-district applicants from NT’s feeder schools (Deer Park, Glenview and Hodgson) or those with siblings at NTCI have automatically been accepted; the remaining applications are at the mercy of a lottery for placement.
It is ironic that in 2003, when the old NT building was being considered for demolition, the TDSB considered NTCI as a good candidate for rebuilding as it was on the TTC line and would allow out-of-district students, specifically those from the former North York, to attend easily. At that time, it was the norm that over two thirds of the school population came from out-of-district, having won their place at NTCI through the lottery process. In 2009, there were 600 applications for 270 places.
Today, the tables have turned. As more condos are built in the area, the school’s population is more and more in-district. Last year about 500 applications were received for only 200 places; this year will be similar. But unlike the past, fewer and fewer places are available for the lottery.
The TDSB plays it safe and erects signs around new developments saying that moving into the new building does not guarantee that students will be able to attend a local school. So far this has not been the case, but with NT’s enrolment increasing each year, there may soon be a lottery for even feeder school students!