Local Catholic board eyeing school expansion

The Northwest Catholic District School Board is considering an expansion to St. Michael’s School in order to meet the requirements for the provincial government’s new “Best Start” program.
“Best Start” is designed to address the needs of children and families, from birth to Grade 1, covering health, education, child care, and children’s services.
Through supporting families, the program aims to help children achieve success in school.
The first step will be to increase the number of licensed child care spaces and subsidies in the coming year, with priority for children in junior and senior kindergarten and then gradual expansion for children up to age four.
The Ministry of Children and Youth Services is calling for the creation of about 95 new licensed child care space in Rainy River District between now and 2008.
Its vision also includes “early learning and care hubs” located in neighbourhood schools.
The ministry will provide $4.4 million over the next three years to the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board to be disbursed among the program’s participants, including school boards.
The Catholic board is expecting to receive about $850,000 of that funding between now and 2008, to be divided between the north and south ends of its catchment area.
At its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday night, the board will review its administration’s report on possible expansions to both St. Michael’s School in Fort Frances and St. Joseph’s School in Dryden in order to accommodate the proposed hubs.
In related news, anyone interested in finding out more about the “Best Start” program, and how it will affect families across the district, are invited to a public meeting on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Robert Moore School.
Also at Tuesday night’s meeting, the Catholic board will review its variance report for the school year so far.