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Catholic board child care concerns unanswered

This is an edited version of a letter that was originally sent to Guelph MPP and Ontario Minister of Education Liz Sandals.
In April 2012 a decision was made by the Wellington Catholic District School Board to remove GS CARE, an operator of a before- and after-school program, from both St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Paul elementary schools in Guelph in favour of the YMCA/YWCA of Guelph.
I am appalled and sickened by the decision of the board in this circumstance.
My daughter has been part of the before- and after-school care program operated by GS CARE since January 2011. My experience with the ECEs and with Ms. Nomalanga Vales, the director and owner, has been nothing short of exemplary. I have always felt extremely confident that my daughter was in a safe, healthy and happy environment. It is well run, structured, organized and clean.
The board made this decision with absolutely zero communication to the parents involved with GS CARE. When given very limited information, parents rallied around GS CARE with petitions, meetings and various contact with the board. Yet the board ignored parent’s voices and again, without concern for the welfare of our children, made the decision to have GS CARE removed after this school year.
In consulting the memo to directors of education, dated June 8, 2011, it is my understanding that the legislation ‘grandfathered’ the operators in place, and the above programs were in place already.
It is my understanding that the Upper Grand District School Board approached the same ‘issue’ it had with the legislation by grandfathering all existing operators that were in place on June 8 , 2011. This decision seemed like a fair and diplomatic approach. The Catholic board did not follow the same lines of logic.
My question is: who is actually overseeing child care in this province? Is it the ministry of education or is it individual school boards? Why would such a decision be made, affecting many children and their families, without so much as a survey or a discussion among the parents who are already part of the program?
Why, when we have expressed our concerns over the past two years to have GS CARE stay, we still were ignored and the decision made regardless?
As you know, having a child in any sort of child care setting is an enormous undertaking by parents to find the one that has the right fit for them and who they feel confident knowing that their child is safe and in the right, positive environment.
I would like the decision to be put on hold until the board can meet with all parents involved in the GS CARE programs and hear from them.
If the majority of the parents are opposed to this decision and none of the parents were consulted, how can it go forth?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Jennifer Wallington

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