The Richmond School District is already one step ahead of Ministry legislation.
Minister of Education Don McRae stated a new legislation could require all school boards to establish a policy promoting the use of their property by licensed childcare providers between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays.
This is provided the property is not required for educational purposes, early learning programs or extracurricular school activities.
“They’re just catching up to what we’ve been doing,” said school board chair Donna Sargent. “All our schools are used for daycare, and after-school and before-school programs. It’s a better school experience for the child to have all these services in the same place, and somewhere to go before and after school.”
The district doesn’t use any of its own funding to support daycares, however, non-profit and profit organizations rent the facilities at different rates. All rental funds acquired by the district go back into the operating budget.
“We try not to make money off of the daycares because that’s something the students need and benefit from,” said Sargent.
The government introduced Bill 8, the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2013 on Feb. 20, which includes these proposed amendments to the School Act, concerning the use of board property for childcare purposes.
District recommends two-year calendar, not three
The Richmond School District is recommending the board approve a two-year school calendar for submission to the ministry.
The decision comes after a six-day consultation period with parents and employees regarding a proposal to approve a three-year school calendar.
Even though the majority of respondents want a three year calendar, because the district can’t align the third year’s spring break with other school districts, it recommends submitting a two year calendar.
Out of a total of 296 responses, 85 per cent supported the proposed three-year calendar, two per cent expressed concerns, and 13 per cent offered other comments.
As feedback suggested, most people wanted the calendar written in advance to have a consistent and predictable standard calendar, and to align with Metro Vancouver School Districts’ school calendars.
There will be full alignment of the 2013-14 Metro Vancouver school calendar, however, in 2014-15, the proposed two-week spring break spans a three week period.
There is no alignment of school calendars in 2015-16, which is why the district is submitting a two-year school calendar instead.