Fees Coming Down, Community Use Of Schools To Go Up
$3-Million Grant Allows Toronto School Board To Lower Fees For Community Groups
TORONTO -- Community not-for-profit groups will now be getting a substantial price break when using Toronto-area public school facilities thanks to a special agreement signed by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and the Ontario government, said Premier Dalton McGuinty.
"Prices are coming down, so the community use of schools will go up, and that makes our schools and our communities stronger, our people stronger and our province stronger," said Premier McGuinty.
In July 2004, the Ontario government announced a $20-million grant to help boards open their schools to communities. As part of that initiative, the TDSB has signed a Community Recreation and Use Agreement and will receive over $3 million to help make school facilities more accessible and affordable to not-for-profit groups.
Highlights of the TDSB agreement include:
- School use fees charged to community not-for-profit groups reduced by as much as 85 per cent
- For community not-for-profit groups serving children and youth, classroom rental fees are lowered from $53.64 an hour on Sundays, $41.64 on Saturdays and $3.76 on weeknights, to $8 an hour on Sundays, $6.50 an hour on Saturdays, and $1.75 an hour on weeknights during the school year, and $2.75 an hour on summer weekdays. A double gym that had cost $22.80 on weeknights is now $11.50 on weeknights during the school year and $12.50 an hour on summer weekdays
- Rental rates for community not-for-profit groups serving seniors, which had been paying adult group rates, are now reduced to the same level as groups serving kids
- For community not-for-profit groups serving adults, classroom rental fees are reduced from $55.52 an hour on Sundays, $43.52 on Saturdays and $5.64 on weeknights, to $8.50 an hour on Sundays, $7 an hour on Saturdays, and $2 an hour on weeknights during the school year, and $3 an hour on summer weekdays. A double gym that had cost $34.20 on weeknights is now $15.50 on weeknights during the school year and $16.50 an hour on summer weekdays
- The $50 administration fee has been reduced by 60 percent to $20 for all community not-for-profit groups
- Equipment and furniture surcharges that had ranged from $25 to $150 per use are waived for all community groups
- Sports equipment surcharges that had ranged from $5 to $200 were also waived.
"Education cutbacks by the previous government caused many school boards to price their grounds and facilities out of reach for community groups -- but we're changing that. This is great news for students, not-for-profit groups and the community at large, which has already paid for these schools," said Jim Bradley, Minister of Tourism and Recreation, whose ministry oversees the Community Use of Schools program. The program is funded by the Ministry of Education.
"We want our schools to be special places to learn each and every day -- because learning and growing doesn't stop when the school bell rings, or when you reach a certain age," said Premier McGuinty.