Expanding school care programs too expensive says UCDSB

BROCKVILLE – An idea to look at expanding programs for before and after school has come to a conclusion that it is too expensive.

“We’d be operating at a loss,” said Executive Superintendent of Business Jeremy Hobbs at the May 22 Upper Canada District School Board trustee meeting. The report, in response to Trustee Carole Dufort’s motion in January, showed that the board would have to charge higher fees than what area private operators operate to break even.

“Significantly more,” Hobbs told the board.

The other option for any program expansion would take away classroom funding. The Ministry of Education does not provide any funding for before or after school programs.

According to the board, nearly four-out-of-five of its 50 elementary schools have day care services operated by private operators.

Hobbs told the board that the UCDSB would need to charge more than 50 per cent higher than the highest fee currently charged by private operators if they moved into operating these services, or $38.60 a day.

He continued that the evidence collected showed there was not enough demand for these services at many of the 12 schools that do not have before and after school programs. Seven of those 12 schools have full-time enrolment of less than 110 students, with the lowest – Maxville Public School – seeing only 68 students at the school as of October 2023.

Trustees and board officials did not close the door on expanding programs to schools that did not offer them already.

Dufort told fellow trustees that waiting lists in her area run many years and that there is no option in some schools.

Hobbs said that staff will continue to monitor the situation, which may become more exacerbated if the proposed start time switch occurs.

The UCDSB’s proposal to flip the start times of its Elementary and Secondary schools has not yet been passed. That proposal is one of the reasons this study was motioned. Any decision has to be mirrored by the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario as the two boards share ownership of the Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario consortium.

If approved by both boards, no changes would take place until at least the 2025-26 school year due to planning and logistics.

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