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No room for day care in most Stratford schools, Board told [CA-ON]

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Cudworth, Laura
Publication Date: 
28 Sep 2005

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A new program that aims to put day-care services in schools may be difficult to pull off in Stratford, said a senior administrator for the public school board.

The Best Start program initiated by the province is geared toward preschool and kindergarten-age children having access to care and early education. The object is to keep children in the same setting rather than sending them to another location before or after half-day kindergarten classes. Funding is available for 165 new spaces in Perth County.

"There will be communities we have where we won't be able to use schools. Stratford may be one of them," director of education Geoff Williams said at the Avon Maitland District School Board meeting last night.

"Stratford is a highly problematic area because the space is pretty much fully utilized."

If Stratford schools can't accommodate the early childhood education space, the board will have to come up with another location that is closely connected to city schools. However, in the third year of funding the government will release more than $1 million so the board could potentially renovate a school to make more room. Perth County schools will receive $900,000 this year and $400,000 next year.

The money, in three installments, won't go through the school board. It will go through the municipalities, and day-care operators will run the programs, not the school board. Day-care providers will lease the space from the board, which causes another potential problem. The government wants school boards to sign 20-year leases which would tie up any extra space well into the future.

Despite some potential glitches, Mr. Williams stressed the program itself is a positive step toward helping children make a successful transition to school.

- reprinted from the Stratford Beacon-Herald

Entered Date: 
30 Sep 2005
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