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Hamilton public school board phasing out childcare subsidies: Before and after school program discounts also cut

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Author: 
Leitner, Richard
Publication Date: 
30 Apr 2015
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The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is eliminating rental discounts for full-day childcare centres at 21 schools to help balance its budget.

Trustees voted 7–1 on Monday to phase out the $100,000 in annual subsidies in equal steps over two years beginning this fall.

They also approved reducing subsidies for before- and after-school childcare at 47 of 63 schools offering the program, a move expected to save $85,000.

Sixteen schools that are designated as priority schools because they are in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas will continue to rent space for free.

“There will be a lot of input from people that use the schools now that probably think we charge too much.”

Both cuts are part of an effort to reduce the $3 million in subsidies the board provides for community use of schools, which is double the grant it gets from the province.

Trustees also plan to raise rental rates for outside groups that use school gyms and other spaces in September 2016.

West Mountain trustee Wes Hicks, who chairs the board’s finance and facilities committee, said delaying the latter makes sense because the province is presently reviewing grants and will likely implement changes at the same time.

He urged trustees “to get a terrific handle on how your community feels about the existing rates.”

“There will be a lot of input from people that use the schools now that probably think we charge too much,” Hicks said, noting boards are expected to rent schools on a cost-recovery basis.

“Also at the secondary level we put in wood floors (in the gyms) and those wood floors have to be redone on an annual basis now, so that those cost recoveries of the community using those schools is extremely important.”

Only Ward 4 trustee Ray Mulholland opposed cutting the childcare subsidies, suggesting “parents, the most vulnerable people,” will have to pick up the tab.

-reprinted from The Hamilton Spectator 

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Entered Date: 
5 May 2015
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