Local Trustee Supports Permanent Full-Day Kindergarten

A trustee with the Greater Essex County District School Board is concerned full-day kindergarten could get chopped as the Ford government makes sweeping changes to Ontario's education system.

Ron LeClair says nothing has been finalized, but there's been rumblings the program could be scrapped as the P-C's look to free up funding.

Since being fully implemented in 2014, LeClair says full-day kindergarten has proven to be successful.

"We've seen tremendous success with our full-day kindergarten program. We're well aware of the advantages in terms of reading, writing, arithmetic and social skills that children develop early in their years," he says.

Ron LeClair, trustee with the Greater Essex County District School Board, attends the regular meeting of the board on January 17, 2017.

Ron LeClair, trustee with the Greater Essex County District School Board, attends the regular meeting of the board on January 17, 2017. (Photo by AM800's Ricardo Veneza)

LeClair says it's impossible to predict where the Ontario PC's will take the program.

"The province made their first announcements related to education changes and there had been some discussions about that. I think it's important for us to get ahead of the curve and make sure that the province is aware of how strongly we believe in the current model," he says.

LeClair wants to see a funding commitment beyond the 2019-2020 school year.

"We just want to make sure that the Province of Ontario is aware that we fully support the current model and want to see that continue into the future," he says.

LeClair adds studies show that every dollar the province invests in early education translates to a $2.42 savings in social and health care costs.

The LaSalle and Amherstburg trustee's motion will now go to all levels of government and school boards for support.

While full-day kindergarten saves families thousands of dollars a year in childcare costs, it costs the government $1.5-billion a year to fund the program.