The Edmonton Public School Board is making moves to prevent the advancement of big box day care centres onto school property.
School trustees voted seven to two in favour of a motion to prevent the lease of space to publicly traded companies providing child care services.
Vice-Chair Sarah Hoffman, who moved the motion, called on the board to promote community-based child care centres, with an emphasis on public and not-for-profit delivery.
“Local providers have the interests of children closer to heart, while corporate providers have to keep an eye on profits – that’s their job,” said Hoffman.
Trustees heard presentations from CUPE Communications Representative Lou Arab and Research Representative Margot Young, as well as Bill Moore-Kilgannon of Public Interest Alberta. All three spoke in favour of the motion.
Young noted that most studies show the best determinants of quality child care are the wages and benefits of the staff. She pointed out that in Australia, where there were a large number of corporate operaters, the private providers invested about 50 per cent of revenue on staff costs, compared to 75 per cent of revenue in public and not-for-profit centres. Higher wages result in less staff turnover and greater quality for children and parents.
In their comments, several trustees noted that the presence and research from CUPE helped sway their decision to support the motion.
The motion has passed second reading, which means trustees have to vote on it one more time before it becomes school board policy.