Program may not be at all locations unless fully funded by ministry
TORONTO, June 15 /CNW/ - Forty-five full-day early learning classrooms have been approved by the Ministry of Education for the 2011-12 school year, but the Peel District School Board may not offer the program at all sites unless fully funded by the ministry. The board currently estimates a funding shortfall of nearly $2 million directly related to the implementation of full-day early learning.
The following 11 Peel schools, proposed by the board, have been approved by the ministry as sites for phase two classrooms, but will not necessarily run the programs beginning in Sept. 2011:
- Clark Boulevard Public School
- Dorset Drive Public School
- New school in Mount Pleasant Village - Bovaird and Creditview
- Terry Fox Public School
- Credit View Public School
- Macville Public School
- Hartsdale Avenue Public School - Cawthra and Atwater
- Sherwood Mills Public School
- Silver Creek Public School
- Clifton Public School
- Willow Glen Public School
"As a board we certainly support and applaud the ministry's move to introduce full-day early learning. We absolutely support the intent of the program and the value it will bring to Peel children, but we need the necessary funding to do it," says Janet McDougald, chair of the board. "The program may not be offered at all of the sites approved by the ministry. Unless the funding situation changes, we will have to make difficult decisions about which of the sites, approved by the province, will host the program in 2011-12."
The Peel board has calculated the actual cost of implementing the new program in Phase One to be $1.8 million more than the province is providing in funding. Costs for teachers, early childhood educators, professional development, lunchroom supervision and administrative staff are not fully covered by the government grants.
Notes McDougald, "For a number of years, the Peel board has been the fourth lowest funded board in Ontario on a per pupil basis. We are unwilling to make our under-funding situation worse. We do not want to run a deficit related to the implementation of full-day early learning and continue to offer the program in Peel schools. We need fairer funding for all Peel students-including those in full-day learning."
At its Regular Meeting of the Board on April 13, trustees approved a motion to ensure the full-day early learning program is successfully implemented without creating funding pressures in other areas of the budget and without further widening the total per pupil funding gap. For the 2011-12 school year and beyond, the board will determine the number of full-day early learning classes that can be offered each year based on the total provincial funding provided for each phase of full-day early learning. This includes total funding for operating and capital purposes.
The Peel District School Board will host 105 early learning classrooms beginning Sept. 2010. "Parents have responded very positively at schools that have been approved to host full-day early learning in Sept. 2010. They can be assured that these schools will run programs next year. School staff have done a great job preparing to run this important new program," says McDougald.
As part of the full-day program, certified teachers and registered early childhood educators will work together to help young students learn and grow during the regular school day. Families can also choose to register their children for optional, fee-based student programs held before and after the regular school day.
Through instruction and play-based learning, children will develop socially and emotionally through interaction with their peers and the adults who teach and guide them. They will also develop their capacity in language and mathematics, and engage in healthy physical activities and the arts. A new program, based largely on the current kindergarten program, has been developed by the ministry.
More information about the full-day early learning program is available on www.peelschools.org. The Peel board serves more than 150,000 students in kindergarten to grade 12. Operating 235 schools in the municipalities of Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga, the Peel board is the largest employer in Peel. The board's annual budget is $1.3 billion.
SOURCE Peel District School Board
For further information: For further information: Media contact: Janet McDougald, Chair of the Board, Peel District School Board, 905-278-1402, email@example.com; Reference: Brian Woodland, Director of Communications & Strategic Partnerships, Peel District School Board, 905-890-1010, ext. 2812, firstname.lastname@example.org