WATERLOO REGION — The Waterloo Region District School Board is increasing the cost of its extended child care program.
The daily fee increases from $1.50 to $29 per child for this school year, an increase of 5.45% over last year.
“Strong efforts have been made to contain costs to increase access and reduce the financial burden on families,” said program manager Melissa Hilton.
Staffing costs are driving the increase in fees, Hilton said.
Salaries for staff working directly in the program represent more than two-thirds of its cost, and these are expected to increase by 30 cents per hour on average this year as staff move up the salary grid with more experience. and negotiated increases.
Other factors include increased costs to support students with special needs, as well as management of fee collection. Administrative costs should decrease as part of the overall cost as the program grows.
Fees have increased slightly in recent years, from $26 for the 2018-2019 school year, increasing by $1 in 2020, and then by 50 cents in 2021. This represents a total increase of $3 over the past five years .
The latest increase was approved by administrators at Monday night’s school board meeting.
All school boards are required by the province to provide an extended day program for students attending an elementary school with full-day kindergarten, and the fee must be reasonably related to operating costs.
Hilton said the council strives to run the program on a cost recovery basis, and the cost is consistent with other programs offered in the area.
Families have three options for children in the program: before school, after school, or both. They can also choose the number of days they wish to enroll their child each week.
“This flexibility allows parents to only pay for the care they need,” Hilton said.
Eligible families can get help with child care costs through the Region of Waterloo Subsidy Program.
The council runs the program in 70 schools, caring for more than 2,860 children. This is in addition to 23 programs run by other organizations in school daycares.