Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Full Time Kindergarten - So close, yet so far...

(Please Note: this was written in February 2012, but my situation remains unchanged. July 4, 2012 I will be interviewed by CBC regarding this letter).

Here is a letter I emailed to all of my local MPs and MPPs, to newspapers and CBC Radio on Monday February 13, 2012 upon learning full time kindergarten might have been canceled:

I would like to relay my utter disappointment and frustration with the possibility of full time kindergarten being struck from Ontario.

I would also like to share with you the reality that our family currently faces: Since 2005, I have been on EI 4 times (twice for a one year maternity leave per son, once for 9 months after being downsized and again between contracts). If it weren't for the time I had on EI, allowing me to stay home with the kids and not pay for daycare, I don't know if we could have afforded to keep our home. Even with a $98,000/year household income, the past 6 years of daycare expenses for 2 children has meant re-mortgaging our house 4 times. We live off our line of credit until it's spent, and end up putting the equivalent cost of a year's daycare expenses on our mortgage. Our home that we paid $215,000 for in 2002 (10 years ago) now has a mortgage of $303,000 and still a 25 year amortization - all so we can currently pay $800 per month in daycare costs, plus $1,200 each summer break for care of our school age son. (Only one of our sons is in daycare now, and we are lucky enough to not require before and after school care for our 6 year old, some families are not so lucky).

So, that equates to almost $11,000 per year for the next 2 years. This may sound great for the economy - keeps daycares open, ECE teachers working, right? Wrong, because I can't afford to work unless I bring in a minimum of $50,000 per year while our son is in daycare, AND at a job that is close enough to home so that we don't have to pay for before/after school care, AND that allows me to start at 9am instead of the now usual 8:30am. A lot of variables that need to line up in a job market that isn't thriving. Currently, the contract I have with my employer is over March 31st, 2012. I could go on EI again, or IF I find a job after the 31st that meets all my criteria (making it financially worth it for me to work), we could make ends meet and dip into our line of credit (again) until September, which is what we have been counting down to for 4 years, anticipating our younger son will be in full time JK in 2012 - just so I can afford to work full time and we can finally live in the black.

No full time daycare will mean more parents on EI because we can't afford to work for the cost of daycare.

Posted By Charity at 2/13/2012

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