Compromise for Childcare Centres and SD43 Elementary Schools
With the recent news of seven daycares in the School District 43 (SD43) having their leases not renewed (Article here), and the ensuing chaos of likely well over a hundred families being forced to find alternative childcare before July 1, 2017, we would like to bring the following proposal forward.
The original letters sent to daycares in March stated the possibility of the leases not being renewed, with actual confirmation being provided midway through April. Upon receiving the confirmations, families were told and provided little time to secure the childcare required before the June 30th lease expiry. This places significant pressure on families, with some parents potentially losing jobs due to their inability to find before and after school care. This in turn is quite realistically going to put extreme pressure on young families as they try to meet mortgage payments and the cost of living; in some situations it may even cause families to move from their homes, potentially moving their children from their elementary schools.
The affected daycare centres will be hard pressed to find suitable locations close to the current schools, allowing for their children be dropped off and picked up, in addition to the pressure placed on Fraser Health licensing to get any new locations licensed.
In the article linked above, Superintendent Patricia Gartland stated mostly computer rooms would be affected - however, everyone has been able to see that 7 child care centres have had leases not renewed. As per the article above though, Leigh Elementary was working with the out of school program to allow them to use their gym and Library space. We propose that every school with affected daycare centres be afforded the same negotiations, and the same access to the gym and library. This would allow them to continue to provide the services to the parents and children they serve now. At the very least, this could be negotiated for the one year, allowing these daycares and families to secure new locations and licenses.
The hours of occupying the gym space in many cases would be from Monday to Friday for 7:30 am to 8:50am and from 3:00pm to 5:30pm; which all fall out of the regular school hours. In addition to those hours, Pro D days, Spring Break, Winter Break, and Summer Break would be available, and the centres could work into their schedule time for maintenance of the facilities.
Parents and School District 43 need to work together at all of the affected schools in order to come to a realistic solution - having over a hundred children looking for new childcare resources at the same time, in the same area, is not realistic. The trust needs to be rebuilt between families and schools, and coming to an arrangement such as the one proposed will begin that process. A very interesting longer term proposal can be found here, but for the purpose of this petition, we are focusing on gyms and library spaces.