Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bill 242 introduction

Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky's first bill is Bill 242: Full-day Early Learning Statute Law Amendment Act, 2010 (PDF version).
It's not a lengthy bill by, say, Bill 177 or Bill 78 standards. It makes a series of amendments to the various pieces of legislation so that early childhood educators (ECEs) can be fully incorporated into the Education Act as school employees offering school-based programs. Much of the bill deals with these amendments in order to define ECEs within the Ed Act and make provisions for school boards to hire, evaluate and discipline these new employees.
A significant section however, and the one that's carried the bulk of the coverage Wednesday is where the bill speaks to the fee-subsidy element of the before- and after-school programs. It also allows boards to setup full-day childcare programming on professional development days and non-instructional days (read: the summer). I've been thoroughly confused by the fee-subsidy element given an interview with the former minister had her saying it would be handled by municipalities. Now it appears school boards will get the responsibility but can delegate.
(6.2) A school board may enter into an agreement with a delivery agent under subsection (6) regarding the provision of financial assistance to persons who are charged fees in respect of extended day programs and the agreement may provide that the school board has some or all of the powers and duties of the delivery agent that relate to the provision of the financial assistance.
(z.3) governing the application of the provisions of this Act and the regulations to circumstances in which a school board and the Minister enter into an agreement regarding the provision of financial assistance to persons who are charged fees in respect of extended day programs;
(z.4) if the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers itadvisable, adapting or modifying the provisions ofthis Act and the regulations for the purpose of theirapplication to the circumstances referred to inclause (z.3);
(z.5) providing for such transitional matters as the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers advisable re-lating to the provision of financial assistance forextended day programs.
This seems to speak to a redrawing of the map in children's services— something envisioned in the Pascal report, where the authors recommended the Min Ed become the lead ministry for birth to age 12. I'm attempting to get some clarity on this, will post here after and if I do. There are hundreds of municipal childcare service managers who are likely as eager for this clarification as I am.


Anonymous said...

Looks like this is shaping up to be an education boondoggle.

Why not just look at the Peel board's after school program ER?

That's the model for this structure.

PLASP(as the program is known) has it's own board of directors(apart from the school board) that sets rates and makes sure the money collected gets put back into the program.

The gov't need not reinvent the wheel on this at all.


RetDir said...

I understand that EDU is in discussions with the municipalities to maintain their role in subsidies. Moving this role to school boards doesn't make a lot of sense, unless daycare as a whole is moved there as per Pascal. Until that happens, municipalities will continue to administer it for children younger than school age, so having two organizations dealing with it would be cumbersome, and awkward for parents.

Anonymous said...

I have little faith in the ability of Boards who cannot or barely manage their existing funding, to use additional dollars in the way that they are meant to. It’s either have the fox watch the hen house or hire more people to watch the foxes. Giving the Boards the ability to deliver subsidy funding just adds another layer of bureaucracy. Regions will still need their subsidy offices to serve the children that remain under their auspices. Again, more wasted tax dollars to cover additional salaries, benefits and office space. Parents will have fun coordinating subsidy between the two offices if one child is in school and one is not, or you need subsidized before and after school care that your school may not offer because its not mandatory for them to do so. Schools that offer alternate day or 1/2 day kindergarten that shared classroom space can no longer do so as each group will be attending full time. The building costs alone will be staggering and only if there is space available. The schools are lucky they are not being held to the same standards for facilities that day care operators are or it would cost even more. Watch the education portion of your local property tax bill for future increases blamed on Full Day Early Learning.

Anonymous said...

I agree, extra money will be used in the wrong places to cover things that are currently in need. I work at a school and see daily waste, I watch 5 techs work on a printer at $45 an hour for 3 hours, and a new printer is $200. This happens daily all over!