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Daycares form new coalition: Agencies aim to inform parents about impact of board-run daycare

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Author: 
Rutledge, Lisa
Publication Date: 
23 Nov 2011

 

EXCERPTS:

Not-for-profit childcare providers have formed a coalition hoping strength in numbers will help counter a looming school board plan to take over extended daycare at elementary schools.

The Waterloo Region Early Learning Coalition was founded two weeks ago by representatives of several childcare agencies who stand to lose business when public and Catholic school boards in the region take over before- and after-school care for children age four to seven.

Agencies argue boards have taken away the bulk of their business and will force them to charge more to offset losses, or will drive them out of business completely.

John Haddock, chief executive officer of the Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo YMCAs, said the coalitions acknowledges boards are within their rights to branch out into daycare at schools as part of a provincial government decision - even where third-party daycare providers are established - but said the decision will have "unintended consequences".

...

The coalition's mandate is to ensure that parents are informed about how school boards' plans will affect their families and daycare in the region. The group, which contends parents haven't been consulted, will be holding information forums for parents in Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo.

"They're the ones who'll have to convince the board."

Many parents expressed outrage recently at a meeting at Ryerson Public School, where the board intends to take over daycare offered by Cambridge YWCA. Parents also addressed the Waterloo Region District School Board Monday.

Haddock said the coalition is focussing on distributing information and has pamphlets, available on agency websites. But he didn't rule out plans to take concerns to local politicians, as well as the Ministry of Education.

Public school board education superintendent Mary Lou Mackie has stated the board is obligated to provide universal daycare, and must run daycare in high demand areas, such as Ryerson, to sustain the program. She also maintains the board is following plans handed down by the ministry.

However, trustee Cindy Watson argued that other boards are looking at alternatives, including a hybrid model that allows partnerships to continue.

-reprinted from the Cambridge Times

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Entered Date: 
30 Nov 2011
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