TAYLOR, B.C. – The District of Taylor has applied for funding through the Ministry of Children and Family Development to keep 30 spaces at Taylor Elementary for Preschool through a portable or risk losing the program because of having no where else to go.
Charlette McLeod, Administrator with The District of Taylor says that the Elementary School is a very ideal spot for Preschool students.
“We have a one-year lease agreement with them depending on numbers (of enrolment). They don’t know generally speaking how enrolment will change, sometimes until the last minute. Our agreement with them to use that space in the school is free of charge but that is where we house our Taylor Preschool program. We like having it there because we effectively make use of all the educational resources such as the library, the gym and having other students around, it is a good spot.”
The situation that has risen has to do with the recent contract that was reached between the B.C. government and the BCTF when it comes to class sizes.
“There is going to be a reduction in class sizes. So if you reduce class sizes, you are going to need to allocate another classroom and a teacher to take that overload of students.”
McLeod says they were at risk of having to leave the school ground and might have had to do their Preschool program elsewhere because the school would need the space currently being used.
Since then, the District of Taylor has applied to the Ministry of Children and Family Development for funding to put a portable on the school grounds to use for the Taylor Tots Preschool program.
“The school district also sees the value of having us there as well. They see the value of the school system (to the preschoolers).”
The grant had a deadline date of May 15, 2017. The District of Taylor says that while the announcement on who gets funding won’t be made until November, they didn’t want to risk waiting any longer. The District was scared of losing the Preschool program in the Fall of 2017 if something wasn’t figured out quickly.
“That is what we were scared of. I’ve since gotten word that they are going to try and work around us and let us remain in the school still for this year coming up. But it will be at risk next year (2018) because you don’t know if those numbers (for enrolment) are going to fluctuate. We’re thinking that once things pick up, Taylor is going to grow again and then maybe the same thing with the class sizes.”
The Province also committed to create 13,000 childcare spaces by 2020 but that isn’t necessarily going to help those in Taylor.
“The problem with us is that we have no where else to go. It isn’t like we can tag onto another facility or another school. We don’t have a lot of options.”
The cost to put a portable would be close to $210,000 according to McLeod.
“We can put in a portable, plumbed in on the school site property. I had to get their support (School District 60) to apply for this grant as well. 90% of that would be covered by the grant and then the remaining 10%, the municipality would somehow have to come up with the $21,000.”
Once the portable was installed, it would become the property of School District 60.