Community Use Of Schools Initiative
The McGuinty government's vision is to have every school in Ontario recognized as a centre for community activity.
By making school space accessible and affordable to communities, the government is supporting healthy and active lifestyles, and encouraging citizens to get involved.
Making school space affordable
Ontario's schools should be places where community members can gather to learn, participate in community-based programs and stay active.
Reports from around the province show that user fees for school facilities are rising. Community groups have had to raise registration fees to handle the increased costs. This has created barriers to participation in community programs. Some leagues have folded and some participants have had to drop out for financial reasons.
The government is providing $20 million in new funding to help school boards with the cost of operating school facilities for community use. This will make school space more affordable and accessible by allowing boards to reduce user fees.
As part of this initiative, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has signed a Community Recreation and Use Agreement and will receive nearly $3 million to make school facilities more affordable and accessible to not-for-profit groups.
Highlights of this agreement include:
- Fees for community use of school space reduced by as much as 85 per cent
- The $50 administration fee reduced 60 per cent to $20
- Equipment and furniture surcharges (from $25 to $150 per use) waived
- Sports equipment surcharges (from $5 to $200 per use) waived.
|Classroom Rental Fees Under TDSB Agreement|
|For Groups Serving Children and Youth|
|Old User Fee (per hour)||New User Fee (per hour)|
|Weekdays||$3.76||$1.75 (school year) |
|For Groups Serving Seniors|
|Weekdays||$5.64||$1.75 (school year) |
|For Groups Serving Adults|
|Weekdays||$5.64||$2.00 (school year) |
|*New rates cover both space rental and custodial fees that were billed separately before.|
The government is currently working with school boards to sign community use agreements to help make publicly funded schools accessible and affordable to not-for-profit community groups across Ontario.
The agreement with the TDSB is the 26th to be announced. Thirty-two other boards have announcements being scheduled, or are waiting for final approval after agreements have been reached. Discussions are also taking place at the other 14 boards in Ontario.
The government has consulted on the community use of schools initiative with provincial sport and recreation groups, municipalities and other community groups.