By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
The after-school program operated by Gus Wetter School is going ahead for the 2021/2022 school year, however it is doing so with less money than requested.
Providing accredited Level 3 Child Care, the program offers affordable after-school childcare for children who are too old to participate in day care programming, yet too young to be on their own.
Due to the ongoing challenges with COVID-19, and schoolboard cutbacks, the program made some changes, cutting back on hours and removing the cap on payments.
Previously the program ran from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the cost was $10 for the first child and $5 for each additional child, to a maximum of $20.
The program now runs from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and the rates are the same, with no maximum. Even making the changes, the program felt itself in need of additional funds.
A letter was sent out to both the Town of Castor and the County of Paintearth requesting $5000 each to help operate the program. The County initially approved the $5000, contingent on the Town paying their $5000 as well.
As Castor council did not feel the information provided to them was clear enough, they requested more information, which was received for the Sept. 13 council meeting. The information also clarified that the request was for one year only.
Seeing as the request was just for one year, Coun. Kevin McDougall motioned that the Town pay the $5000 to the program. Coun. Lonny Nelner voted in favour, however the remainder of council voted against, defeating the motion.
“It’s a time for cutbacks,” said Deputy Mayor Tony Nichols in response to the vote.
In response to Castor council opting to not fund the program, County Councillor Maurice Wiart motioned to rescind the previous County motion, tying their funding to Castor’s response, and Coun. George Glazier moved that the County of Paintearth council give the Gus Wetter-operated program the full $5000 for the year.
County Reeve Stan Schumeister was frustrated that the Town of Castor would not help out the program.
“It’s important,” said Schulmeister.
“But Castor should be putting in as well.”
Schulmeister presented the $5000 cheque to Gus Wetter Principal Wendy Coppock on Sept. 16, at the County of Paintearth offices.